Crozet Running Store to Open Below Crozet Library this Fall
Crozet Running shop will open in the lower level of Crozet Library, through the doors on Crozet Avenue, now that the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has agreed to a lease worked out in August on the first floor’s larger, 1,700-square-foot space. County officials have suggested that the other vacant space, about 1,000 square feet, could become a location for a tourism bureau.
The store will be operated by John and Michelle Andersen, inveterate distance runners themselves, and offer both running shoes and street shoes, as well as apparel, gear and accessories for runners.
The store is expected to open in late October, said John Andersen, a veterinarian (and columnist for the Gazette). Michelle will handle its day-to-day operation.
“Crozet Running will be a community running store, a gathering place,” said John. “We will be unique, however, in that we will be heavily focused on educating people about natural running form and encouraging trail running. ‘Natural running’ is not a specific technique or a ‘brand’ of running. It is simply running the way our bodies were designed to move. Humans are by far the best distance runners on the planet. There’s a reason for that. Overly cushioned and supportive shoes, along with our 21st century lifestyles, have interfered with our body’s natural ability to run efficiently and injury-free. A good example of natural running form is to look at elementary kids running around at play. Their legs are like springs as they land on their forefoot with a fast and light cadence. Most importantly, they are smiling, because running should be fun!
“Michelle and I have been long-time runners. We wore overly cushioned shoes and never thought about running form. Then we both became injured a few years ago (with IT band syndrome, which causes knee pain). The injury lingered for both of us, and our medical background drove us to seek why we were injured, rather than just resting and taking ibuprofen. That’s when we started learning about natural running form, which is really just a back to basics thing. When we started to change our gait and our footwear, the most obvious result was that running was a lot more effortless and a lot more fun all of the sudden. Unfortunately, we were a bit overly exuberant and incredibly both suffered metatarsal stress fractures from ‘too much too soon.’ We were just learning as we went with no real instruction. Then last summer for our tenth wedding anniversary we took a trip to Two Rivers Treads running store in Shepherdstown, West Virginia, owned by Dr. Mark Cucuzella, arguably the nation’s leader in the natural running reawakening. We had an amazing experience attending a running form clinic, then received personalized coaching on the in-store treadmill. We both worked out a few more kinks and were off and running. At our anniversary dinner we thought ‘if only there were a store like this near where we live,’ and the rest is history.
“Three months later I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in a pair of ultraminimal shoes with zero pain. I ran my same time as the last year’s MCM despite a lot less training. The transformation was amazing.
“We realized we need to do this. There is a huge running community here. We will be really focused on training and nutrition. It’s really misunderstood.”
Andersen also organized the Crozet Running Club, which makes regular ascents of Jarmans Gap Road to the top of Calf Mountain (a 1,500-foot climb) and to the Shenandoah National Park. “You get off pavement and get a natural feeling,” said Andersen, who ran a 50-mile race last month and is about to run another.
“Hopefully, we will exude that running could be fun. We should be going out there to play. Get outside. Walk, hike, run, play.
“We’re excited about the store. We’re Crozet lifers. We expect to die here. We feel the pressure of a really big investment in our town and we hope that it’s exciting for others here too.”
The store will carry Oiselle clothing, a line of women’s running apparel, Mountain Hardware clothing for men and women, and Pearlizumi products, which include shoes and apparel. It will carry the Newton running shoe and other brands such as Scott, Merrell, Montrail and Ultra. “We’re not going to have the mainstream brands, but the brands that are committed to helping natural running. We’ll have shoes for every runner and walker no matter what their style. The shoes will enable everybody to improve how they move.
“We will also have ‘lifestyle’ shoes, regular shoes that are good for your feet when you are not running,” he said.
“We want the store to be a comfortable place for people to come in when they are not shopping and catch up on the running news.”
The store will host free running clinics every Saturday morning and occasional evening lectures. The store will be a sponsor of the Crozet Trails Crew 5K, set for October 12 at Claudius Crozet Park, and a women’s half marathon in November, also to take place at the park.
“Mark my words,” said Andersen, “Crozet is going to become a destination running town.”
The store has a five-year lease from the county. Current predictions are that the library will not need to expand into the lower level for at least 10 years.
The store will be open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
- September Crozet Gazette - Lots of Good Stuff - RealCrozetVA — RealCrozetVA
- Crozet Running Store to Open this Fall | Crozet Running