March 6, 2009

The New Balance Michigan Summit

After Napa, Jill and I were to fly home from San Francisco, but with the rainy weather in San Francisco our flight got delayed to Denver and we would miss the one flight that evening from Denver back to Austin. I made a quick call to Dave Shelbourne at New Balance and got the OK to fly directly from Denver to Detroit. So after a night in Denver I was on my way to Detroit.

New Balance rep Ken Larschfield picked up myself along with Dave, Claire Wood, Eric Vassall, and Tera Linafelter all of New Balance. On our hour and a half ride to Lansing, Ken had picked up some sandwiches for all of us to eat on the way. With all the luggage and 6 people in the Tahoe we were packed in there tightly!

We arrived at Playmakers, a specialty running store, around 2:30pm. I'd been there once before and talk about a awesome store with awesome employees, Playmakers is it! We met with some of the top folks at Playmakers and Dave, Claire, Eric, and Tera did there magic about New Balance shoes and clothing, they really know their stuff! Afterwards we all went out for a nice supper and then headed back to the store where it was my turn to speak.

I signed books and New Balance posters for about a hour and my cousin Sue and her husband Tom drove from Cheasaning, Michigan to hear me speak, what a wonderful surprise it was to see them! Curt and Brian and the rest of the crew really know how to promote an event! We had a packed house for my talk which went well! Afterwards I signed more books and posters and then we headed for our hotel.

Wednesday morning I was up early to workout and then we headed for Grand Rapids, Michigan to meet with Ken Sung and his staff at Gazelle Sports. WOW, what another wonderful store with awesome people! Wednesday night I gave a talk at Celebration Cinema to a full house, and my talk went really well! Afterwards they watched the movie "Spirit of the Marathon" then after that I signed books and New Balance posters, took pictures and talked to folks attending the event, what a wonderful evening we all had!

Thursday morning I was up early to workout and then we headed back to Gazelle Sports for breakfast and the New Balance presentation to the staff. Now it was off for the Detroit area and Hanson's Running Store in Royal Oak, Michigan to meet with owners Kevin and Keith Hanson. I've known Kevin and Keith for a number of years and spoke at their store a couple of years ago. They are so enthusiastic about the sport of running and over the years have put their own hard earned money into the Hanson/Brooks Distance Project. They have given a number of post collegiate runners, men and women a chance to continue there running by offering free housing and insurance, a job, coaching, travel, gear, and so on. They have been very successful at what they do and last year produced Olympic Marathoner, Brian Sell. We had a great lunch together and then went to their store and chatted for a bit before it was time to leave for the airport to catch our flights home.

I'd like to give a big thanks to Playmakers, Gazelle Sports, the Hanson's, and Dave, Ken, Eric, Tera, and Clair from New Balance for making my trip so enjoyable!

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