Friday, 6 August 2010


 The tens of thousands of people running at whatever level  nowadays are catered for by a host of specialist running shops over the country and indeed many general sports shops will have a fairly good choice of running shoes.   But of course it wasn't always so.   There just wasn't the demand because there just wasn't that many people running.   I first starting "trading" in 1975. The only people you would see running the streets in those days would be committed racers and we would be as rare as rocking horse sh...
manure.  You will have to imagine  the cat calling we used to have to suffer.  Very rare I get called nowadays; more encouragement if anything.   There were only one or two races per weekend in a region and a field would be average around 90.  Marathons in the '70s even less so.  For example, the Chippendale marathon in Huddersfield in 1974 saw only 33 finishers.  Won in 2.22.56 on a tough course the last runner ran 3.28.33. (3 of the first 14 are still racing!! including you know who)
 So with running shoes and clothing hard to find in the '70s I started by buying 4 pairs of Reebok shoes from their factory in Bury, Lancashire (yes, they were an English company)  and one way and another gradually built up my brands offering,  despite the fact that I did not have a retail shop.  I was selling mainly at races at the weekend.  As we went into the '80s I was able to offer  well known German brands, adidas and Puma,  the Japanese brand Onitsuka Tiger (Asics now) plus new USA kids on the block NIKE and SAUCONY,  fronted by Ian Stewart who was featured earlier this week.   London marathon creator Chris Brasher came to the house with another US brand his company Fleetfoot had just started importing.....NEW BALANCE.    Interestingly, Reebok no longer manufacture in the UK  but New Balance have a factory near to Workington on the coast in Cumbria, north of England.
  I was later offered yet another US brand which was being imported into the UK by 2 Lancaster University lecturers.... BROOKS. We've done extremely well with the famous Nightlife range of clothing from Brooks but this season we've made room for their shoes.So   there was a bit of a buzz this week in THE COMPLETE RUNNER shops ,  as the cartons of some of their new Autumn/Winter shoe models  arrived. 
 After Wednesday's track and an easy 6 miles on the grass yesterday, I'll see how much buzz there is in the auld legs as I return for my weekly circuit of the reservoirs. More later!

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