They look like gazelles dashing down the street, making it all seem so effortless. As you look at the seasoned runners galloping gracefully across the Madison landscape, you picture yourself as a sluggish hippo watching them pass you by. You think, "I wish I could do that...."
Actually, you can join the herd, with a little help from Berkeley Running Company, an oasis for beginning runners. Described by owner David Meixelsperger as a store that's "very welcoming to anyone who wants to learn," Berkeley Running caters to varying skill levels, from walkers to ultramarathoners.
But the shop specifically targets the I've-never-run-in-my-life-how-the-heck-do-I-do-this? set with staff experts ready to answer questions on any topic (products, hydration, injury prevention) and custom shoe fittings. There's even a store-sponsored beginner's running group that moves at an easy pace - "Nobody is going to get dropped" is the description on the store's website.
Meixelsperger, a lifelong runner who competes in several marathons a year, gave up his job of 12 years as an elementary school principal on a leap of faith to open a running store. Since he opened last May, word has spread, and runners have visited from all over the state. But Meixelsperger is especially loyal to Madison. "I opened the store because I wanted to give back to the Madison community," he says. "And I wanted to share my passion for running."
With a bit of encouragement from Berkeley Running, your inner gazelle will leave your fellow runners in the dust. Tap into your running wild side with these products: TRIKS fitness skirt ($45-$55); Jelly Belly Sport Beans ($1); Belega Drynamix air-conditioning socks ($10).
Berkeley Running Company
3234 University Ave., 395-2375
11 am-5 pm Sun., 10 am-8 pm Mon.-Fri., 10 am-6 pm Sat.