Our Shoe Buyer, Tim, won an amazing trip out east Sept. 16-20, 2015, through New Balance to check out the New Balance Headquarters, and take part in the Reach the Beach Ragnar race with other folks from throughout the country. He had an amazing experience and got the lowdown on some of the trip details!
What were some of the highlights of the trip?
“Well, the big highlight of the trip was the race. But for me, it had a big impact to see the new headquarters for New Balance, and seeing the direction they plan on going. This was also kind of a big thank you from New Balance. They realize without the hard work of the retailers, they can't grow. So that was big. Also it was my first trip to the ocean. So what better way to see the ocean then racing 201 miles with12 new friends?”
How was the tour of the New Balance Headquarters? What did you learn while you were there?
“The tour through headquarters, and seeing all the plans they have, was awesome. They have a lot of exciting stuff being done. They have plans of a huge track and field venue, a new training center for the Bruins and the Celtics, along with hotel space and retail space. It’s nice to see how much they are growing and don't plan on stopping.
“Most of the ‘learning’ went on at the factory. We got the chance to see where shoes are designed, tested and some being made. It was cool seeing people going to town just stitching up shoes. And hearing about how they are using 3-D printers to make mock-ups of shoes so they can do tests right away, versus having to build it and hope it works.”
How many people were on your relay team? Where were they from?
“My team consisted of 12 runners, six in each van. We were from pretty much all over the country. But it was cool, because a lot of my team had ties to Fleet Feet (either working at a store, working at Fleet Feet Inc. as our internal new balance person). So it was eight people who worked in run specialty and four people from New Balance. They also had a second run specialty team who ended up being our biggest rival. I think New Balance had about 11 or 12 teams involved.”
What was the most challenging part of the Reach the Beach Relay?
“The challenge for me was not getting lazy between runs. I was the 11th runner on our team, so I had a lot of waiting it felt like. But I guess we all waited a lot.”
What was the most exciting part about the relay race?
“It was exciting when my van was up to run. Once our first runner would go out, things got serious. You'd start cheering for them and see what kind of pace they set for the rest of us. Then I just started to get amped up for my turn.”
For someone who has not done a Ragnar race before, what can you recommend to them?
“I'd recommend getting a big van. We had a 12 person van and it still felt small. Once you put six people in it with all the gearn it gets tight. Also change ASAP after you run. It keeps the van from smelling. Also run with people you won't get sick of in 24 hrs. I got lucky and had an amazing van: Everyone got along the entire time. I think we could have turned around and done it all over again just because we had so much fun and got along so well.”