Run Specialty Store Aims to Become Community’s Center of Activity
“When we add events, we want to continue to find ways for us and the community to make a positive impact on our area.” -Kevin Lachenmyer
More than 100 runners and walkers gathered in the parking lot of The Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch in North San Diego on Thanksgiving morning.
After a few words of instruction from Fleet Feet owner Kevin Lachenmyer, the group headed out into the brisk morning air for a 5K fun run. The free event, which had a suggested donation of a canned good item, also included a circuit workout in the parking lot after the run, led by Bryan Hill, a trainer and certified coach with Rehab United Sports Medicine and Physical Therapy.
“The biggest thing we wanted to accomplish with our first major event like that was for it to go smoothly and be a positive experience for everyone,” Lachenmyer said. “That’s something that’s a little nerve wracking the first time around, but it went exceedingly well.”
Fleet Feet San Diego, a running specialty store located in the Village at Pacific Highlands Ranch, opened the first day of September of this year. Fleet Feet Sports is a national chain, but each store is locally franchised. The north San Diego location is Lachenmyer’s first store, which he hopes to turn into a central meeting spot for the local community.
“We want to do more and more events with opportunities for people to be active,” he said. “We want to keep growing and be a community centric store, the home base for our community where people want to come in to the store to hang out and talk about the things they have going on in their lives. We are excited to meet everyone in the area. No matter your sport or activity level, come in and say hello.”
The Turkey Trim workout on Thanksgiving morning was the first of many events on the calendar for Fleet Feet. The store also teamed up with Run North County, a free running club in the area, to help gather Christmas presents during the first week of December. All donations (toys for ages 2-teenager are needed) will go directly to an underprivileged child in the San Diego area through North County Health Services.
“When we add events, we want to continue to find ways for us and the community to make a positive impact on our area,” Lachenmyer said. “We want to have a charitable focus to everything we do.”
Fleet Feet also offers training programs for all experience levels, from those hoping to walk their first 5K to those wanting to run a new PR in the half marathon. The store kicked off its first training program in November – focused on the Carmel Valley 5K in January. Registration is currently open for the San Diego Half Marathon training group, which starts on December 20, and the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon training group, which will begin on March 14. Lachenmyer said the store will eventually offer training programs through full marathon distance.
The store is also supporting two free weekly fun runs. On Wednesday nights (leaving at 6:15 p.m.), runners and walkers meet at Fleet Feet for a 3.5-mile loop route using Carmel Valley Rd. and the 56 bike path, after which the group goes across the parking lot to Westroot Tavern for socializing. On Saturdays, Fleet Feet’s crew leads a longer run starting at 7:30 a.m. The route is an out and back on the 56 bike path, either heading toward Black Mountain and back or down toward the Pacific Ocean and returning. That route has multiple distance options for those looking for anything from one mile up to 10 miles total.
On December 14, Fleet Feet will have a special version of its Wednesday night group run, featuring a Saucony rep with demo Freedom ISOs. Runners and walkers will be able to try on the Freedom ISO, a soft yet responsive neutral which is the newest release in Saucony’s line, and even take on the 3-mile fun-run route in the shoes. Those who attend and follow contest instructions (which involve taking a picture and uploading it to Instagram) will be entered into a drawing for a free pair of the Freedom ISOs. After returning to the store, runners and walkers will have other opportunities to win prizes to go along with hot chocolate and Christmas cookies.
Fleet Feet San Diego’s staff members are trained to do personalized fittings for shoes, insoles, and sports bras, and the store is stocked with multiple options in all areas as well as injury prevention and recovery tools, technical and lifestyle clothing and sock, nutrition options, and running accessories.
But Lachenmyer said the main focus is finding ways to encourage and give back to the community.
“We’ve had a lot of people come through our store, and happy runners on Thanksgiving, who hadn’t been exposed to Fleet Feet before,” Lachenmyer said. “We’re excited to be able to demonstrate what we are about and start making a difference.”