RIDGEFIELD, Conn. -- Megan Searfoss and Deb Povinelli shared a passion for running and a desire to bring their love of the lifestyle to the community. Now, one year after opening Ridgefield Running Company, the owners feel they have started to achieve their objectives and are willing to share their expertise with runners of all shapes, sizes and abilities.
Searfoss is the founder of founder of Run Like a Mother, a women's health and wellness brand, author of See Mom Run, and running/triathlon coach. Povinelli, MPT, MPH, is a physical therapist, certified post-natal personal trainer and founder of Beyond Baby Fitness, specializing in pre- and post-natal fitness and exercise.
The Ridgefield women, who have six children between them, opened their business last year at 88 Danbury Road, in the same building as Ridgefield Bicycle Company. They have found runners enjoy their passion, personal attention and frequent group runs.
“Of course we’re going to sell shoes and apparel and everything that a runner needs,’’ Searfoss said. “We also wanted to create a community experience where runners could come in and talk about racing, training, nutrition, injuries and whatever. We love to talk about running, whether it’s with someone training for their first 5k or a veteran marathoner. This is a running home for everyone.”
The shop’s frequent group runs have had wide appeal for runners. In summer and fall, the owners created a half marathon and marathon training group, with sponsorship by Asics, one of the nation’s leading running shoe brands. Each Saturday morning from July through October, as many as 25 runners visited the store to head out on for group training runs at a wide range of paces.
“It adds to the experience of a local running store for everyone,’’ said Povinelli, who finished the New York City Marathon on Sunday and led one of the pace groups every Saturday. “The miles go a lot easier on those long runs when you have people to share the experience. We don’t just talk about running, either. We talk about kids, schools, Ridgefield, whatever is happening is town.”
Inexperienced runners have also found a home at RRC, meeting for morning runs during the spring. A program for beginning runners and those who are returning to the lifestyle started October 14 to help them train for a 5k race around Thanksgiving.
Runners have also found RRC’s clinics and talks a valuable resource for information. Golden Harper, the founder of the Altra running footwear company, an up-and-coming national brand, spoke at a RRC running clinic in the spring. Other clinics have featured nutrition, injury relief, yoga and training guidance for marathons and half marathons.
Besides the group runs and clinics, RRC has quickly become recognized for its selection and service. Runners from Greenwich to Hartford to Poughkeepsie have traveled over an hour to visit the store to find brands they could not get anywhere else. Every runner seeking new shoes gets personal service from an experienced running staff that will let them choose from a wide assortment of shoes based on their gait, injury history and needs.
The women said they have laid the groundwork in their first year in business for a long run as one of the region’s top running specialty stores. “The running community has embraced us with open arms,’’ Povinelli said. “They know that they are always welcome to come and talk with us, whether they’re purchasing anything or not. We want them to be comfortable to come to us any time to talk about running.”
“It’s exciting that two women from the same community could make this work as a business for something that we love,’’ Searfoss said. “If we weren’t working, we’d be talking about running anyway. This gives us the perfect place to do it.”
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