Without proper footwear to identify them, track stars are often assumed to be frightened paranormal experts fleeing unbusted ghosts. Keep ahead of the invisible crowd with today's Groupon: for $25, you get $50 worth of running shoes and apparel at Runner's Gate in Lakeville.
With a passion for running and 20 years of fitness-industry experience, Phil Hoffland, the owner of Runner's Gate, curates a collection of sportswear that Runner's World magazine bestowed 2008's Runner's Choice Award in the Northern Midwest. A visit to Runner's Gate generally begins on a treadmill, where the shop's crew analyzes the client's gait to identify his or her ideal pair of shoes, such as the cushy, moisture-wicking Saucony Triumph ($130).
Runners can also armor themselves with high-tech Mizuno thermal shirts ($32) sewn from a warm poly-wool blend and boasting thumbholes to help keep wrists covered when hands are performing open-heart surgery on a lawn gnome. Shoppers can slip into a pair of Brooks shorts ($32) to fill out a pair of high-performance chaps or paw through the apparel collection ($18–$110) for light-reflecting vests ideal for nighttime jogs. Runner's Gate fosters community among the fleet-footed through its running group and readies advanced dashers for long hauls with marathon-training tips.
While adding miles to his personal odometer, Runner's Gate owner Phil Hoffland has sprinted down the streets of Boston and through the mountains of Honolulu. As a long-distance runner, he's competed in road races and marathons such as the Twin Cities Marathon, the Madison Ironman, the Boston Marathon, the Naples Daily News Half Marathon, the Disney Marathon, and the Honolulu Marathon. He puts equal dedication into his charitable work, having served as a volunteer running coach for the local Leukemia Lymphoma Society, and the athletic director and general manager of several local athletic clubs.
At his shop in Lakeville, Hoffland uses his experience and expertise to outfit runners with the shoes that will keep them safely pounding the pavement. He consults with customers to analyze factors such as foot shape, stride, and mileage estimates, and uses in-shop treadmills to help them select the right level of comfort.