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Groups and bare feet hit the ground running

September 6th, 2012

To many, running is a sport that is too hard to take up. Many people who start running begin at a younger age and continue recreationally as they grow older. As people grow older, running doesn’t seem to fit into their schedules conveniently, and they don’t know the techniques to begin running the right way.

The Cleveland Running Co., a new company located in Shaker Plaza in Shaker Heights helps runners of all experience levels become more involved in the sport as well as teaches techniques that make running easier on the body.

Owner Jeff Fischer has worked in a separate running company for over 20 years, as well as Dick’s Sporting Goods and Nike. Opening the Cleveland Running Co. was a way for Fischer to regain some of the customers he enjoys interacting with, who are also friends that share his passion for running.

An aspect that is unique to the Cleveland Running Co. is that they offer group runs for people of all abilities and skill levels. The group runs take place on Mondays and Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m., as well as Saturday morning at 8:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. for those who can’t make it during the week.

“It takes some of the loneliness out of it,” Fischer said about group running. “If you run with someone, it is easier to run longer distances. If you are training for a marathon and are experiencing bad weather in March and April, people rely on each other, and having that group gives you some motivation.”

If JCU students bring their JCU student ID with them, they receive 15 percent off of any item that isn’t already on sale.

The Cleveland Running Co. sells some of the newest and up-to-date running equipment and merchandise. Some of the newer equipment that people may not be aware of or understand yet are from companies such as Inov8 and Vibram Fivefingers.

Inov8 is helping people get to the barefoot or natural running movement.

Fischer said, “The idea is that if you run barefoot, you will not run on your heels. You will land on the front of your foot. Over the past 30 years, heels of shoes have grown higher and when you do that, it makes you lean backwards to gain balance back. When you reach your foot out you land on your heel, which forces you into that movement.”

Inov8 has developed a four-step shoe that teaches you to get back to the barefoot feeling. The first shoe in the series has a heel that is 9 millimeters tall. After that shoe has been worn out, you buy the next shoe, which has a heel of 6 millimeters. The next heel is 3 millimeters and the last one is 0 millimeters, essentially getting runners back to the barefoot method.

Vibram Fivefingers are the shoes with toe holes, which are designed to allow runners to get a better feel for the ground. They are also 0 millimeters off of the ground similar to Inov8s.

Running is a sport that will always require commitment, and the Cleveland Running Co. is helping people become aware that it’s not too late to start and enjoy becoming a healthier person.