Feb 14

Say Hello to the New Guy

by: Eric Martinson

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Similar to running a new route through a neighborhood you’ve never been before, starting a new job is invigorating.  It plucks you from your comfort zone, induces the pre-race jitters, and forces you to slow down and pay attention.  Cruise control is not an option as the need to reengage and absorb your surroundings becomes paramount. 

 

As I write this, I am just a few short weeks into a new job at Runner’s Alley.  Having worked in running specialty for the past three years, I find a lot about this place that is familiar.  The products, the fit process, the plantar fasciitis—it’s all second nature to me by now.  The challenge and the refreshment have come from learning the ins and outs of New Hampshire’s fitness community.  Luckily, these mild winter temps have kept runners and walkers active late into the season.  It’s amazing how much more time and motivation there is to exercise when we’re not shoveling snow incessantly or trying to track down a roof rake.  Pair that with the Seacoast Road Race Series shirt pickup, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet a number of the friendly faces that comprise this active community… 

 

Like the Winter Warriors.  These arctic athletes meet at the shop every Thursday and Saturday—rain or shine, snow or no.  Their light-up vests and clip-on strobes turn the sales floor into a bit of a disco (minus the house music).  Although they stake their name on being cold, the Winter Warriors couldn’t be warmer.  Each member is encouraged to bring a canned good or non-perishable food item for donation to every run.  They are a true testament to the fact that the running community is one big family. 

 

Next are the customers.  I am surprised daily by the unique and inspiring stories of the folks who shop at Runner’s Alley.  For example, David turns 70 this June and hopes to break 60 minutes in the Market Square Day 10K.  Anne hasn’t seen her sister in over eight years, but soon she will travel to England to reunite with her at a road race.  Harry treks to St. John every winter to run “8 Tuff Miles”, a race up and over a mountain that is equal in proportion to the Empire State Building.  I’ve quickly learned that there is no shortage of admirable goals in this community.  

 

Finally, there is the staff at Runner’s Alley.  They, too, have welcomed me with open arms.  We’ve bonded over how best to organize a sock wall, the Phil Collins station on Pandora, hot sauce, bunion remedies, and, of course, our weird obsession with running shoes.   But beyond all that, it’s been a pleasure to experience the Runner’s Alley culture of kindness.  I am proud to join a team that is so loyal to each other and to the local running community.   

 

Just like running new roads or trails, the break in routine that comes from changing jobs is often quite rewarding.  I’m glad that I decided to lace up and venture into a different neighborhood.  This is a route I look forward to keeping in the repertoire.  

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