MEET BEN

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I am the manager of our family owned running specialty shop in Bloomington, Indiana Running Company. Most days are spent half ordering and receiving products and overseeing employee scheduling and half on the floor working with customers.  For a running junkie with a borderline shoe addiction, this job is the perfect solution; I get the satisfaction of shopping for and buying new running products, but for our customers instead – win-win!

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When I’m not working, I’m probably running.  But other interests include watching the Disney channel (should I admit this on here?), paddle boarding, snuggling with Toby, and any other general mindless lounging around.  I’ve recently stumbled upon the fact that I should be classified as an introvert… which explains why I enjoy these mindless activities – it is my way of “recharging” from the exhaustion of the day.  While I don’t find myself on the end of the introvert spectrum, most of these 10 myths about introverts hit close to home.

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I grew up on the northwest side of Indianapolis and attended Pike High School.  Before high school I ran track in 6th grade and cross country in 8th grade as a way to compliment soccer training and pretty quickly had decent success.  Entering my freshman year I chose to play soccer, but ran cross country in a few meets.  In the spring I joined the track team because I needed to run under 12 minutes for two miles to be eligible to compete in my soccer team’s upcoming tournament in Tampa Bay – I felt the track team would be the best way to accomplish this… turned out I was the only one on the team that accomplished it, yet we still went to the tourney!  But, the seed was planted.  I won the freshman Marion county mile in 4:45 and doubled back with a 10:27 two mile, then ran a 54.7 on the anchor of our 4×400 meter relay – I was hooked.

Through high school my times modestly improved and my passion for the sport of running blossomed.  I was only considering colleges where I could run, but soon found that my other criteria (school size, educational opportunities, etc.) narrowed my options down considerably.  I chose to attend Indiana University in Bloomington with no opportunity to run – at the time.  Amazingly, during the first week of classes I ran into a friend I’d competed against in high school that was running for the Varsity team and he explained that the coach was looking for walk-ons in the 800 meters – not my preferred distance, but a chance is a chance.  After an impromptu meeting with the coach that afternoon, I was attending the first team meeting the next day and I was on the team!

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That opportunity played itself out over the next two years as an opportunity to coach my alma mater presented itself.  It became clear to both sides that my running wasn’t helping the team and my coaching was going somewhere positive.  I had already switched majors from a direct admit to Kelley School of Business to a BS in Secondary Education – Mathematics.  My destiny was to teach and coach.

Funny thing about destinies… they change.  I still liked coaching (I had started a running club at IU and was also coaching them), liked teaching under the right circumstances, and had expanded my running into marathons and a half iron-distance triathlon.  By the time I graduated in May of 2006, with some teaching and coaching experience under my belt, I wasn’t sure those were my interests any longer.  I wanted to stay in Bloomington (partly because of a girl), wanted to run, wanted to make good money, and wanted a flexible schedule – too much to ask?

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I had worked in a running store in high school and noticed while in college that Bloomington lacked a similar place to go.  So, after putting together a business plan with the help of my dad, the family was on board and we decided to give it a go – tada, back to business!  Not quite the “good money” and “flexible schedule” I had imagined, but I was in Bloomington and running was my job.

Since April of 2007, when we opened our doors, I have watched the community grow and support our venture as much as I hope we support and help the community grow more active every day.  It has been a true blessing to be involved in something I love to do and get paid to do it.  I have met the girl of my dreams, she supports and inspires me to be my best and I have had the pleasure of accomplishing 2 of my 3 athletic life goals that I set for myself in high school – running 100 miles and iron-distance triathlon, I think the sub 4-minute mile is sadly out of reach at this point.

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What’s next?
Psssh, who knows…?  I am more motivated and excited about the ultra-marathon world than I have been about anything athletic probably since running for IU.  So, I’ll take it one day at a time, try to be consistent, enjoy every minute, and see where that takes me. Check out our training page for how it’s going…

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