Last October before the Spinx Half-Marathon, I stopped in to Fleet Feet to buy some Gu for the race. As Jon S was ringing me up, he asked if I was running in the race the next day. I said yes, and said I was hoping to run a PR, that I'd never really trained with a goal time (1:50) in mind. I then asked him if he was running. He said yes, and then said something vague like "We'll see what happens" or "We'll see what I can do."
A few days later I was scrolling through photos of the race online, and I came across one of Jon. It was a finishing photo, one of him running around the outer edge of the baseball field, heading toward the finish line. I noticed that unlike the photos of other folks I'd been seeing, he was alone. And then in the second photo of him, he had his arm held up in the air, as in...victory.
Now there are all sorts of victories during a race, which is one thing I like so much about running. Some folks crawl across the finish line, but that's a victory because they've made it. And whenever my son asks me if I won, I say yes, everyone who ran won. Because they did.
But Jon actually won won this race. In 1:12:02. That's an average of a 5:30 mile, in case you're no good at math like yours truly, meaning that he had time to go home, take a shower, get a latte, and head back to watch me cross the finish line thirty-eight minutes later.
There are so many ways Jon could have responded when I asked him if he was running. He could have said "Yes, I hope to win" or "Yes, I've placed top three the last couple of races so hope to do the same thing here" or "Yes and you are slow but good luck anyway." Instead he answered with humility, encouragement, and genuine interest in my running, characteristics that make him an exemplary running store employee.
Fleet Feet, located at 1708-A Augusta St beside McAllister's, is hands-down the best running store in Greenville. Upon walking in the door, you're greeted kindly by anywhere from one to three people who are all willing to help you find what you need. These folks know running, like running, and want you to like running. Obviously they've each got their own running achievements, but at Fleet Feet they're more interested in helping you achieve your goals, whatever they may be.
In addition to stand-out service and a knowledgeable staff, they have great products, selection and variety. (This store is where I bought the aforementioned shorts after much perusal and thorough and helpful consideration from Elliot.) And they always have good sales so if money's a little tight, no worries-you can still come away with some quality goods and feel great about supporting a local business. As a former employee of The Open Book, which is sadly no more, I recognize how important local business is in not only providing great service, knowledge and products, but also in promoting a sense of community and pride in that particular community. Fleet Feet is an integral part of Greenville's running community and they do a great job fostering this through group runs, pub runs, and Girls'/Guys' Night Out, among other activities.
So if you want to get involved in Greenville's running community or if you just need a new pair of shoes, Gu, or anything else running related, head to Fleet Feet. You won't be disappointed!
Post Script photo of Joy and I finishing the Spinx last year, not in first place but victors nonetheless!