What you Should know about Marathon Sports: A Specialty Running Store in Minneapolis
What makes a running store great?
Is it the selection? Knowledgable staff? Location or frequency of group runs? Price, or all of the above?
We’re lucky to have access to several incredible local running stores in Minneapolis and St. Paul. While all of them offer similar services (selling running gear) they each have their own unique story.
Marathon Sports sits on the south side of Lake Harriet at 50th & Penn Ave. Surrounded by other local businesses, it’s the oldest continually operating specialty running store in Minnesota. Marathon Sports offers all of the above, as well as an atmosphere where running and customer service take center stage. They specialize in helping everyday runners find the right gear.
What is Marathon Sports Minneapolis?
Opened in 1984, Marathon Sports was originally part of Garry Bjorklund Sports, the first specialty running store in the country. They had several stores across the metro, and a mail order business, similar to Eastbay. Steve Hoage, the original owner, sold the business to John Long in 2005, a partner since 1999.
Long has since grown the retail side of the business, in addition to creating valuable partnerships within the medical community. The customer centric approach at Marathon Sports has established a loyal following with runners throughout the Twin Cities.
What You can Expect at Marathon Sports
Like most of the specialty running stores in the Twin Cities, Marathon Sports has several elite runners on staff. All staff have significant experience in the running industry. Not only can they fit you, they can give you tips on your training or next race.
Every Tuesday from 5 - 6 pm, Dr. Paul Langer DPM Sports Podiatrist, with Twin Cities Orthopedics comes to the store to help advise athletes. If you have questions about biomechanics, running injuries or running footwear, he’s your guy!
Additionally, the second and fourth Tuesday of the month, Dr. Chris Leisz a Sports Physiatrist with Sister Kenny Rehabilitation Institute is also available. She provides footwear and basic injury consultation to runners, and is a great referral source if you’re not sure who to turn to.
These partnership are so important, because they’ll provide you a way to get free medical advice. Too often we try to push through a small injury, only to have it blow up into something that sidelines us for weeks.
Tuesday’s are a busy night at Marathon Sports! 6:30 pm is the Winged Foot Club group run. You can go 3 miles, 7 miles or any variation depending on how many loops you want to do around the chain of lakes. There is also a long run during the summer (check website for details).
These groups are free and all speeds and abilities are welcome and encouraged. If you attend, you’ll get treated to some form of refreshment after - usually beer and pizza.
Marathon Sports doesn’t offer specialized coaching because, as Long says, “there’s such an established running community here, that we can refer them to RunMDRA, Club Run or another group.”
Shoe Fitting Philosophy
Since your shoes are the most important piece of gear you own, it’s important to get the right fit. Marathon Sports 26.2 fitting philosophy can help you figure out the right pair of shoes. “It’s always an experiment of 1” says Long. “It’s both and art and science.”
They’ll start by asking you some basic questions (your running goals and injury history). Next, they walk you through a series of 6 mini tests to determine what type of shoe will work best with your foot. Once you’ve made your purchase, the fitting hasn’t stopped. You get two weeks to actually run in them. If they aren’t quite right, bring them back and they’ll let you try another.
Long says that “a return is a way for us to solve a problem and get better. Ultimately it’s about helping a customer find a shoe that works for them. We don’t want people running in shoes that don’t work.” He went on to say that they also have video gait analysis they can do since each runner is so unique.
Have you been to Marathon Sports in Minneapolis?
What’s your experience at Marathon Sports? Share it in the comments below.