Saratoga Springs’ New Destination for Running Gear
By Megan Irene Kretz
For Saratoga TODAY
SARATOGA SPRINGS – When husband and wife duo Jamie and Anthony Mastroianni were training for their first marathon together, they ran the bulk of their miles in Saratoga Springs.
From the wooded trails of Saratoga Spa State Park to the historic mansions on North Broadway, the couple explored all that the area has to offer. Saratoga has a rich running history, a strong community of harriers, and miles of training routes, but it was missing something vital: a place for runners to gather and purchase supplies. Whenever the Mastroianni’s needed to pick up fuel or gear for their training, they had to either drive on the Northway to reach the closest running shop or resign themselves to the paltry selection in nearby big box stores.
The couple soon realized the community’s need for a specialty running store and decided to move forward with their dream of becoming small business owners. The Mastroianni’s worked with the local Chamber of Commerce and SCORE, a mentoring resource for small business owners, to put together a business plan for a store they named iRun LOCAL.
Once they had a plan in place, Jamie began attending running clinics such as the Newton School of Running to further her knowledge of the sport. Before opening iRun LOCAL, Jamie and Anthony focused on crafting a mission statement that would mirror their goals.
“The store is a reflection of us, we want to make sure that we keep our core values in place,” says Jamie. Inspiring runners and providing expert advice is at the core of iRun LOCAL’s mission, but the Mastroianni’s also place an emphasis on serving and helping the local community. In the three months since they opened their doors, iRun LOCAL has developed relationships with the running club Saratoga Stryders, area high school teams, the Wilton Food Pantry, and the Franklin Community Center.
When iRun Local opened back in March, the Mastroianni’s wanted to ensure the store felt very warm and welcoming, with a boutique feel. “When you go to a big box store for running shoes, you’re not necessarily going to get one-on-one attention or a salesperson who knows anything about running,” says Jamie. In contrast, iRun LOCAL gives a personal touch to each customer that comes through the door. The store offers a custom fit process and video analysis to determine which shoes will work best for an individual. And when it comes to product, iRun LOCAL offers brands that are geared specifically toward runners, including Pearl Izumi, Newton, and Oiselle. The store also currently stocks track and field spikes for area high school runners and plans to offer cross-country spikes later in the summer.
In addition to a keeping their product inventory fresh, iRun LOCAL has been hosting a variety of events to engage the running community. Recently, the store hosted bi-weekly happy hour runs, a ladies night, an injury prevention clinic, and a scavenger run that took runners to various downtown businesses.
The Mastroianni’s are continually brainstorming new ways to get involved and their next big partnership will be with the Strong to Serve Half-Marathon scheduled for July 13. iRun LOCAL will serve as the packet pick-up location for the race, which will take place in the nearby State Park. As for the future, the couple hopes to increase awareness of their store and become a top resource for local runners. “Our main focus is to continue growing as a business in Saratoga Springs,” Jamie says.
From beginning walkers to competitive marathoners, iRun LOCAL strives to provide a welcoming atmosphere for everyone. For those new to the sport, Jamie advises, “Just put your shoes on and go at your own pace. Taking the first step is always the hardest part.” If you feel inspired to hit the pavement, visit iRun Local at 18 Congress Street or check out the store’s Facebook page: facebook.com/iRunLOCAL.