“RidgeGate Up Close” is our series of interviews with people who make RidgeGate a more vibrant place. Read the unexpected stories of residents, workers and local leaders who live and work here. Know someone who has a unique perspective or life in RidgeGate? Contact us at email@example.com.
A big thank you to Sarah Neumann Photography for conducting and photographing our RidgeGate Up Close interviews! This month: Javier Martinez, Manager of Runners Roost Lone Tree. With more than 1,000 acres of parks, trails, natural habitat and open space, RidgeGate is a haven for runners. Just ask Javier Martinez, Manager of Runners Roost in Lone Tree. Javier gave us the inside scoop on their local run club, shoe recycling programs and “the Roost’s” in depth gait analysis that can help improve your spirit and your stride.
#1. Tell us about your relationship with running.
Javier: “I’ve been a runner for 25+ years now. I’ve been in Colorado for more than ten years and running has always been a big part of my life. I’m originally from Texas, moved to Colorado and Runners Roost; I just knew that this place was for me. One of the biggest reasons is the people at Runners Roost. I couldn’t be happier.”
#2. So these aren’t people who are just looking for jobs in retail. These are die-hard enthusiasts about this sport and want to see it proliferate and grow?
Javier: “Yes. Absolutely. Everyone that works here, we are passionate about running. Most of us have been running most of our lives. We are service-minded, so we love to serve our community and help those individual folks reach goals and lead a healthy and active lifestyle.”
#3. And how do you serve the community through running apparel?
Javier: “Throughout the year, we work with a lot of the high schools in this area and we offer a ‘Spike Night’ where kids and parents come in and we help answer questions for them about the upcoming track and field or cross country season. We offer video gait analysis and have a lot of ex-collegiate runners here that specialize in specific events. So we have a knowledgeable staff that is there to answer any questions that our customers or the athletes might have.
On top of that, on Spike Nights we donate a percentage back to the schools to help them with their track and field, or cross-country programs.”
#4. You also offer a Thursday night run club for people in the community, right?
Javier: “We do offer a Thursday run club. Every Thursday we have a group that meets here at 6pm and they will go out and run the trail system if the weather allows. There is a short route and a long route. The short route is usually a loop around the Bluffs and that’s about four miles round-trip back to the store. And there’s a longer route that is about seven and a half miles. That runs back towards the East/West Trail towards Cabela’s.”
#5. Is that led by a store employee?
Javier: “So we have Dave, our run club coordinator, who makes sure everyone is safe and finding their way along the trails. And, we also have several people who have been coming to the run club pretty consistently for several years, so they’re always there welcoming new members to the area.”
#6. And are your run club members avid runners, beginners, or a mix?
Javier: “There is definitely a pretty broad mix of folks. Last night we had about 40 people out. Even ladies pushing strollers up the Bluffs. We love dogs, so we are also dog friendly. With our run clubs we always have vendors, snacks and cold beverages for after the run.”
#7. Runners Roost has seven locations, and your RidgeGate location opened in 2010. Why do you think this location was selected for a store? Is there a large running community in this area?
Javier: Runners Roost has a long history in Colorado. This year we are celebrating our 40th anniversary. One of the reasons our staff and customers love this area is the trail system. Just out back from here we have access to the East/West Trail, the Bluffs, and then there is the Highlands Ranch backcountry, which has just been a huge asset for us.
#8. In addition to your Thursday run club and Spike Nights for local schools, you also have a used shoe donation program that benefits the homeless?
Javier: “We have a few different organizations we work with, primarily Denver Rescue Mission and Catholic Charities. So we do have with our shoe recycling program, where you bring in your used shoes and we give you $10 off a regular priced pair of shoes. Those shoes get passed on to one of those organizations. We have a bin and once it gets full one of those organizations will come go through it and take the shoes they can use.”
#9. How often would you say that bin fills up?
Javier: “It fills up about bi-weekly. I have definitely noticed that program has been gaining in popularity. I know these shelters are so grateful for this program.”
#10. So if those shoes are damaged beyond what they can use, there is a recycling program that physically breaks down the shoes and recycles them?
Javier: “Yes. We also have a Nike regrind program and there is an outfit outside of Boulder that will go in and re-shred the outsoles and go through the recycling of those shoes.”
#11. So where do you run when you go running, Javier?
Javier: “The Bluffs here in Lone Tree is one of my favorites. It’s a really challenging course, or trail system; it makes you strong. I love doing hill repeat workouts there.”
#12. Will you share the secret to picking the right running shoe with us?
Javier: “We like to do an analysis first. First, we do the gait analysis to take a look at length and width of foot. We have a Brannock device that allows us to do that. From that we can get you sized appropriately. Then we have you walk, then do a single leg squat. We have a look at your arches and the stability of your ankles and looking further up the kinetic chain at your knee and hips.
After we complete that, we have a video analysis where we have you hop on the treadmill and do some actual running. We are able to record you, while you run, from a rear view and a side view, which allows us to see the stability of your ankles. It also allows us to see how your foot is hitting the ground and any compensation strategies or imbalances you might have. Side view also allows us to see if you are over striding and your stride length. It allows us to break down your running form a little better and maybe give you some tips and different techniques you could work on. Once we finish the video side of it, we’ll go over that with our customers and then we can jump into fitting shoes.”
#13. And just out of curiosity, what shoe are you running in right now?
Javier: “Right now, my favorite shoe is a Nike Zoom Elite. It’s a racing flat. I’m part of our race team that is sponsored by Nike. That shoe this year just seems like a really fast feel and fit. I am hoping that shoe helps me reach a few PRs this year.”
#14. Tell me about the race team. How do you get to be a part of that?
Javier: “Every year we open up race team applications in November and December. Anyone in the state of Colorado is open to apply. We have a team that reviews all these individual applications. They look at community involvement and volunteering and we ask and require that our race team members volunteer at races. Also, the number of races and if you are leading a healthy and active lifestyles. It’s a variety of levels as well. We have from a beginner’s to an elite level. Our race team this year is about 250 people.”
#15. Finally, how do you think runners differ from other athletes?
“I think just how thankful and willing and helpful they are just to help other folks who are maybe new or coming into the sport. Runners are usually really community-driven.”