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David Freeze: Gotta Run

The hierarchy and humor of running shoes

I don’t spend a lot of money on shoes, except as you might imagine, my running shoes. Once they arrive home with me, each pair has its certain place. Ever evolving as they begin to show wear, they start as my primary pair of “on the road” shoes. I usually get at least 400 miles of running out of a pair, but some go way more. When teaching my beginning runners classes, I intentionally show them a well-worn pair and then go out and run in them with the class.

I thought it might be fun to list my current primary running shoes with their duties. I will start with the best on hand as I write this. Over the years, I have had well over 200 pairs of running shoes. I once got some sponsorship money and a few free pairs, but mostly I paid at least something for all the others. I ran initially in Reebok, then for many years in Nike when they made the best shoes, then experimented with Brooks and New Balance, and with a certain soft spot for Altras, I have settled back into the best shoe ever for me. The Brooks Ghost 11 is a shoe that I look forward to putting on every single morning.

With that, my brand new pair of Ghost 11’s had very few miles on them when I left to run the Reno/ Tahoe Odyssey just ahead of my bike trip to Alaska. I will call them #1. The shoes are cushioned, wide enough for my wide feet and last a long time. Ralph and Marissa Baker, who supply my shoes, got me started on black shoes. For some reason, that color just works as this is my third overall black pair.

When I wrote this column just a couple of weeks ahead of my Nevada/Alaska trip, my #2 was my first black Ghosts, well worn with over 500 miles on them. I do count them as my most comfortable ever as I will continue to run in them.

Moving on, my #3 is a gray pair of Ghosts, one used only for casual wear and running with clients. They won’t do that much longer. #2 will take over that job. This is the pair that got me to change from New Balance.

Now it gets more interesting. Altra Paradigm is my #4 and was one of the two pair of Altras that carried me through the run/walk across North Carolina last March. Though totally worn out, they are still comfortable but now serve as my primary yard and barn shoes. Also black, they hide that horse manure pretty well. That pair will stay with me until they fall apart because of their history.

On to #5, my first pair of New Balance ever, and maybe my most interesting remaining shoe. This shoe biked Route 66 and were honestly already worn out before then. They are blue, have lots of holes and the sole is coming off one. When you read this, hopefully this shoe will have already won the “Ugly Shoe Contest” at our Bare Bones 5K on May 25th, sponsored by Ralph Baker Shoes. I wear them everywhere the holes don’t matter, wanting them to look even worse.

Another six pair of shoes are still here, little used and soon to be moving on. All these shoes are brushed off after any use by a small whisk broom given me years ago by David Ketner, China Grove Public Works Manager, after a sweep of the Yankees by the Red Sox. He thought that was funny.

Check out the Shiloh Missions 5K and other upcoming running events at www.salisburyrowanrunners.org

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