October 24, 2008

New Balance Chicago area trip

Dick and Jayne (from Dick Pond Athletics in Elmhurst)

What a busy fun time I had in the Chicago area this past week! I flew from Austin into Chicago's O'Hare airport and arrived around 4 PM on Monday, that is one busy place! After grabbing my luggage, I jumped into a shuttle van with 10 others and we headed for downtown Chicago. Leaving the airport for downtown that time of the day is never ideal, but with it raining, that makes it even worse! It took us a hour and fifteen minutes just to get to downtown because of the traffic! I was suppose to be at Fleet Feet Sports - Piper's Alley for a group fun run at 6:30, but it was 6:45 when I finally arrived. I quickly said hi to Dave Shelbourne, Jen Kelly, and Ha-Lee all from New Balance and then changed into my running gear and out the door we went for a easy 4 mile run along Chicago's lakefront.

After our run I gave a 45 minute talk to all who were there and afterwards signed New Balance posters and copies of my book, Staying the Course, A Runner's Toughest Race, for whoever wanted them. Afterwards we went out for dinner with some of the Fleet Feet staff to Twin Anchors, I had the best ribs I've ever had! Jen then took myself, Dave, and Ha-Lee to our hotel in Naperville, Illinois, west of Chicago. By the time I crawled into bed it was 12:30, I was whooped!

I got up real early for a nice run and then met everyone at 8 for our first stop of the day Runner's High N' Tri in Arlington Heights. Mark Rouse is one of the owners along with his wife Pom and dear friend Teresa. I've been fortunate over the last couple of years to have become good friends with Mark and have been at his store twice before to do some talks. They have a great store that caters to both runner's and triathletes. After our nice visit it was off to Elmhurst to meet with Jayne and staff at Dick Pond Athletics, from there we headed to the Fleet Feet Store a few blocks away and met with the staff and had some lunch (I was hunnnnngry!) Afterwards we headed to Palantine and met with Eric, Maureen, and Tim from Running Unlimited a very nice running specialty store.

It was then back to Naperville and we had a great dinner with Naperville Running Co. owner Kris Hartner and some of his staff. Kris is a Minnesota boy and I actually had met Kris back in 1982 after the Boston Marathon when he was a 16 year old working at a running store in the Minneapolis area. After our dinner we went to his store and I gave a hour talk to his staff. Kris has a awesome store and has consistently been one of the top running specialty stores in the country! After my talk I signed New Balance posters for everyone and then headed back to our hotel.

Wednesday morning up early for a nice run and then we were back on the road by 8. Our first stop was at the Dick Pond Athletics corporate headquarters, where I gave a talk to their managers, it went very well and we all had a wonderful visit!

We then were off to the Running for Kicks store and met with owner Mel Diab and his staff and other folks who were at the store. We all had a little lunch and I told a few stories and then it was time to head to North Central College and speak with the men's XC team. I gave about a 45 minute talk. I was really impressed with these young men and their coaches! They are one of the top college XC teams in the NCAA Division III, after my talk, every one of the runners and coaches came up and shook my hand and personally thanked me for coming to speak to them, that was something!

We then had a short break back to our hotel and then it was out for a quick dinner and then off to Neuqua Valley High School for my final talk of my trip. You talk about a beautiful high school!

I spoke to around a 100 or so boy and girl cross country runners along with many coaches and parents. My talk went very well and afterwards I signed many New Balance posters, books and we took lots of pictures. All of the dollars that came from my books we sold all went to the Dick Beardsley Foundation, and for every book I sold at the Neuqua Valley High School, Kris Hartner from Naperville Running Co. matched each book in dollars sold!

I can't thank all of the folks we met in the Chicago area enough for allowing me to come and visit and speak to them, they are all doing a marvelous job!

A huge thanks for my good friend Dave Shelbourne from New Balance, and to the New Balance Elite Dealer rep Jen Kelly, for setting up the schedule and helping make it all happen. Jen is the New Balance rep for running specialty stores in Illinois and Wisconsin and does one heck of a great job! To all of you, keep up the incredible job you all do and thanks again for letting me be a part of it!


BT said...

Thanks for visiting Chicago! Great to see you on Monday at Fleet Feet and hear you speak again. Please come back again soon.

KimsRunning said...

I'm looking forward to hearing you speak at The Space Coast Marathon Nov 30, 2008. This will be my 2nd marathon, probably take me forever (IT band injury) but I know I'll have a wonderful time, regardless of how long it takes me! See you there!