RUNNR Store Grand Opening

When we first saw the RUNNR Store under construction at the BHS,  Mariel and I  thought:  “A running specialty store? Wow, running has really arrived!”  Another thought came up just as fast, “Will it work?  Will it click?  Will this store make it?”

The Invite:

We got an email a week before launch from RUNNR’s Nicole inviting us to the store’s formal launch on July 17 together with some other runner/bloggers and the media.  There were to be 2 sessions the email indicated, — an 8-11am session for the state-of-the-art equipment demo and 6pm formal store launching.  I immediately confirmed our attendance and told Mariel de facto (hahaha, didn’t really think she’d want to miss this!

Of course, I wouldn’t want to miss the launching of what’s turning out to be one of our favorite stores now.  The store made a good impression on me the first time I visited.  I really liked the service and the great line-up of running gears from different brands housed under one roof.  What’s more, they have a lot of stuff you wouldn’t see elsewhere.  I’m definitely coming to the pm session but the am session? I’m not sure if schedule will permit as I have a foreign principal that afternoon and would probably have to finalize my presentation in the morning.  We’ll see, we’ll see…

Launch Day:  July 17, 2009

That was one of the days when I most welcomed the rains.  Classes were suspended which meant a  simpler schedule for us (no going back and forth the school to fetch the kids who had different class hours) and the prospect of less traffic made it easier for me to decide if I can pass by the RUNNR launch’s morning session.  Sure glad I did!

We were first to arrive at exactly 8am.  We had to be early as I had could only stay for an hour max. We were promptly greeted by Toby, whom I met for the first time, and his staff Nicole and Roe.  After exchanging some pleasantries, I apologetically advised Toby that I would have to leave early, so he prodded me to start trying out the state-of-the-art RUNNR Footworx System.  Julius, a soft-spoken but very able staff assisted me at this point.

Here’s a run-down of the experience:

My feet were measured first. They have two ways of doing this.  First, manually by having me step on a metal plate with measured lines and a sliding contraption that indicates my  foot length and width.  The second more advanced way was via a footprint scanner.  This is where the advanced technology comes in via the Footworx System.

The Footworx System Experience:

1. Footprint Scanning. Bare-footed, I was made to step on a glass equipment, a thermodynamic scanning system, that allows viewing of  my footprint onscreen and measures  my foot and arch dimensions.  It was cool seeing how my soles looked like when my whole body is pressing hard on it when standing.  I was told that I have a good arch and that they are normal.

Mariel trying on the thermodynamic footprint scanner; Julius assisting

2.  High-Speed Video Gait Analysis. With my jeans folded up to knee-high, I was made to run on the treadmill for a couple of hours (gotcha!  haha), I meant minutes, with the setting at my normal running pace of 7.  A built-in camera captures the way I ran from behind. (This is cool!  First time I saw how I looked like running from that angle.) This technology captures the way I ran checking whether I over-pronate on either leg.  The result of this test was awesome!  My gait is neutral having an angle  reading of 181.9 well within the neutral range.  I was told the ideal is 180 which very few lucky souls like Coach Rio dela Cruz have.  Toby commented I was born to run.  Whoa!

Ideal angle at 180. Mariel's at 181.9 "Natural runner, born to run!" :0

As I have a neutral arch and gait, I didn’t need an in-sole so I skipped the last equipment.  Jun, as flat-footed as can be, made it to the last equipment. I’ll let the blue sole tell you  the last step.  This was what he was  actually anticipating to experience and get his feet on …

Being an early bird sure have its benefits.  We basically got full service with Toby, himself, explaining to us the store concept and services, the new equipment, new gears and was even the one who helped me with  my  in-sole fitting (I feel humbled) while explaining the process and its advantages.

First I must tell you that the results of my foot scan and video gait analysis only confirmed what I knew long time ago — that my arches are non-existent and I am an overpronator with a 7.5 degrees out of the normal.  There’s an added info I got though from Toby.  He was surprised how my thermal foot scan looked.  My flat feet aren’t entiredly flat.  Yes, I definitely don’t have arches but there were some parts of my feet that were somewhat elevated and did not touch or probably just touched the ground lightly when I’m standing.  “I have never seen anything like it” he said in disbelief.  Hahaha

While Mariel is happy she has normal and ideal running feet with her ideal arches and neutral gait,  I resign myself to the fact the I am  flat-footed however, I resolve to do everything I possibly can to still enjoy running the best possible way, the longest possible time.   So, come on,  let’s check out those customized in-soles now…

3.  Custom Molded Insole. The right pair of in-soles was picked for me based on my feet size.  My foot and arch dimensions were then measured using the foot-scanning equipment.  I was made to stand again this time on a rubber surface with my feet angled like I had an arch.

This would pave the way for the customized fitting and heating of the in-soles.  The latter takes only about 10 seconds and one can already take home  in-soles formed especially for one’s  feet.  Toby advises to wait ideally 2 hours before using it to ensure that it retains the heated shape.  What’s cool about this is it’s re-heatable.  After constant use and the in-soles lose its perfect form, one can take it back to the store for re-forming and re-heating.  Well, that makes the pricey tag  at P3,995/pair all the more well worth it.

I have not used it todate so I can’t personally say yet that it works.  I’ll be doing a separate post on this when I’ve tested it.

Fitting a perfect in-sole via the "flashfit"


Roe, Toby and the happy Sole Mates

________________________________________________________________________

The Interview.

(Well, that’s how their staff calls it.  It was actually more of a chat just the way we like it. 😉

I got to ask RUNNR owner himself, Toby Claudio, the questions we had in our minds about the Runnr store during the store launch’s morning activity as we went through experiencing the Footworx System.  This is in no way verbatim and may not be in its proper order as Jun and I would be chatting with Toby intermittently during the whole session.  Know what?  That was about an hour of undivided attention from Toby and the entire RUNNR staff.  What a nice treat! 🙂

Sole Mates : How did you start running?

Toby : I had a hip/knee injury playing my favorite sport, basketball, and I couldn’t play for a long time.  That’s when I took up running and really started researching about it.  I found out that you can really enjoy it if you do it the right way.

Sole Mates : Like what kind of way?

Toby : Being into sports like basketball and badminton (Toby mentioned one other sport which escapes me at the moment. Sowi.  Don’t hesitate to help me out here, Toby, if you read this. ), running has always been part of the usual work-out.  Only then, I didn’t enjoy it.  It was just one of the things I needed to do to enjoy my real sport back then.  Like most ball players I thought running was just the boring warm-up or work-out that I needed to do to play better basketball.

When I couldn’t play ball anymore, I took up running.  I wanted to enjoy it so I researched about it and found out that wearing the right kind of shoes is key to ensure enjoyment of the sport.   People run differently and requires a different kind of shoes for their type of feet, their kind of gait and their footstrike.  Knowing these and finding and using the right kind of shoes enabled me to continue to run and enjoy adding up the distance.

Sole Mates : So, what made you think about putting up a store like this?  You know, a specialty running store?  Do you think it will click?

Toby : Yeah, and to think that it’s in this place (BHS – Bonifacio High Street).

Sole Mates : I know.  Store rent here is definitely pricey.

Toby : Yes, but this store is a product of months of research trying to find  out what runners need and want to enjoy the sport.  We’ve tried and will continue to try giving runners an extensive line of brands on shoes,  wear and gears and  service.  We brought in the Newtons, CW-X compression tights and the customized in-soles, firsts in the Phils.

Sole Mates : That’s so cool.  Jun ordered his compression tights from Australia and he swears by it.  I was already musing about getting mine.   The in-soles were something he wanted to get his hands on, too.  So, he’s really very excited about that equipment.

We wish RUNNR the best!  We can only give our thanks and offer of support to a store conceptualized and built to meet the needs of runners like us. Visit this site for more info.

The Sole Mates with Runnr owner, Toby Claudio

Thank you so much RUNNR for a wonderful experience!  We have a feeling we just might be a fixture in your store.  😉

With great service and amazing running gears available, RUNNR will definitely be a favorite destination for running enthusiasts.

It was time to go so I said my thank yous and goodbyes to Toby and the Runnr staff  with a promise to come back for the pm session.

I stayed on.  Marga and Vima were already there as well  and before long more runners  arrive.   It was a happy session and the runners left very happy with their generous loot.

Toby Claudio, Runnr store owner poses with runner/bloggers, Adidas and Mizuno reps

The Formal Launch:

Got off from work and went straight to BHS where Jun is already waiting for me.  We headed to the venue where the program and cocktails have just started.  Registration ensued where we were given  our race bibs (nice touch) as our entry ticket.  A photographer took our pictures with the Runnr Board for a background much like when you have your picture taken with the racing sponsors special platform after a race.  Good concept.

The house was full and the atmosphere happy.   Even  the rains pouring down hard during the program and the water eventually making its way inside the tent did not dampen the crowd’s  spirits there.  Knowing most of them were athletes, if not runners, does explain it. ( haha we probably have enough stores of endorphins to get us through just 1 hard downpour).

Runner celebrities,  Tweety de Leon and  Fernando Zobel graced the launch with athlete, Reema, emceeing the program.  We also spotted other celebrities like Karylle, Jaymie, Miguel, Marga, Ben, Vima, Bards, Tintin, Jinoe, Que, Bobby … okay, okay, okay… I should have stopped at Karylle or maybe Jaymie. Done.  hahaha

Raffle prizes were something runners would surely be excited about  — Gift certificates for Nike, Adidas, New Balance, Mizuno shoes were given away and of course,  the much-anticipated Newtons.  Customized in-soles and Polar watches also found its way to very blessed guests.

Of course the non-winners, did not go home empty-handed.  A loot bag awaits… again!  Thanks RUNNR!

Ribbon cutting with celebrity guests


Bobby, Pol, Jun, me, Ben, Miguel, Dingdong, Jaymie, Bards, Tintin & Dindo


Doesn't it look like the girls were having fun? 😉


Runnr Store sure made the runners happy.


Congratulations RUNNR! Cheers from us all! 🙂

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