Sneaker deal, new 10-mile race promote fitness

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 19 January 2015 at 12:00 am

‘Metro 10’ race on Aug. 22 has running community buzzing

Photos by Tom Rivers – Fleet Feet personnel were in Albion on Sunday doing fittings for running shoes. The Greater Rochester Health Foundation approved a grant to the Albion Running Club to provide sneakers for $20 to walkers and runners who commit to a fitness program.

ALBION – Albion will host a 10-mile race on Aug. 22 that will pit the running communities of Rochester and Buffalo, an event that is generating lots of interest among runners in the two regions.

Fleet Feet is one of the main sponsors of “The Metro 10” race, a first of its kind competition. Two Albion residents, Thom Jennings and Brian Krieger, had the brainstorm for the race last year.

They have been lining up sponsors, with Fleet Feet one of the key backers of the race. Fleet Feet has two stores in Rochester and one in Buffalo. The business sells sneakers and other running merchandise.

“If an event is about getting people fit and healthy, we will support it,” said “Boots” Boutillier, co-owner of Fleet Feet with his wife Ellen.

Feature stories about the Metro 10 appeared in The Buffalo News and the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle this past week. The articles were highlighted by Fleet Feet through social media, which created a lot of interest in the race, said Ellen Brenner-Boutillier.

“Buffalo wants in and Rochester wants in,” she said. “This is an incredible concept and we are so proud to be a part of the event and help promote it.”

The Boutilliers and 10 of their employees were in Albion on Sunday to do a shoe footing as part of “The Shoe Fits” initiative by the Albion Running Club.

Sheila Lemcke, left, gets here foot measured by Fleet Feet for a pair of running shoes at the Hoag Library on Sunday.

The Running Club is organizing the 10-mile Metro 10, which could draw more than 1,000 runners for the event on Aug. 22.

The Running Club also secured a $17,000 through the Greater Rochester Health Foundation for three initiatives.

One of those includes “The Shoe Fits,” where walkers or runners pay $20 for a pay of sneakers that are fitted for their feet and how their feet “wear” a shoe, measuring foot length, width and arches, and whether a person needs supports in a shoe to compensate for pronating and other issues.

There were 75 people for “The Shoe Fits” on Sunday. The grant will pay the difference in the cost of the sneakers. If people pay $20, the difference is likely about $80. For 100 pair of sneakers, the grant will pay about $8,000 for the shoes and the proper fitting. Fleet Feet will be back for one more fitting at a time to be determined.

Mike Neidert and his son Elliott, 15, both were fitted for sneakers on Sunday. Mr. Neidert also committed to training for three Running Club races: the Run for Wayne on March 28, the Strawberry Festival 5K or 8K on June 13, and the 10-mile race on Aug. 22.

Neidert, 50, started running about three years ago in the Run for God, a 12-week program for beginning runners that culminated in the 5K at the Strawberry Fest.

“That’s when I got off the couch,” Neidert said. “I was never a runner.”

He likes doing a sport with his children and other members of the community.

Sunday was his first time getting his feet fitted for shoes.

“I always just bought shoes,” he said. “Getting fitted by a professional was the big thing, the big incentive for coming.”

The grant from the Health Foundation is also helping to pay for “Fit in 50” and “Run for God” programs. Click here for more information.

The Running Club met with the Albion Village Board on Wednesday to discuss the Metro 10, which will end at the Bullard Park in a festival-like atmosphere, with popular foods from both Rochester and Buffalo. The board gave the effort its support.

“By design, this is meant to be a ‘healthy’ competition, and an opportunity for Western New Yorkers to come together to celebrate what makes each area unique, and what better way to do that than with an event that promotes running, a popular, healthy and addictive activity,” Krieger said during a Sunday news conference, to kick off publicity for the race.

Krieger is executive director of the not-for-profit Running Club and Jennings is the communications director. They believe the race could become one of the big running events in Western New York.

It differs from other races in that every runner who finishes will score points for their “team,” whether Rochester or Buffalo.

“The initial communications went out this week and people immediately said ‘I’m in,'” said Brenner-Boutillier. “It’s different and people like different.”

Fleet Feet will be promoting the race in both Rochester and Buffalo. It also will promote it on social media and through an e-mail subscriber list of about 75,000 people.

Fleet Feet’s company, Yellow Jacket Racing, will do the timing for the race.

“It’s the perfect event for us,” said Mr. Boutillier. “It’s not just another 5K. There will always be a Rochester and Buffalo rivalry. We’re two cities separated by 75 miles.”

The Running Club released the first in a series of promotional videos that are designed to fuel the Buffalo-Rochester rivalry. Click here to see the video, which features Jory Bierdeman of Albion.