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A Runner’s Circle – Manila
October 17, 2010Posted by on
I just couldn’t say no to Rob Sargan, our former team captain. Even if the newly-launched A Runner’s Circle shop is in far-away Roxas Boulevard, I just had to see the flamboyant jack-of-all-trades in action.
I never thought I’d see the day when the champion pole vaulter turn into a running enthusiast, much less a take up a career in the said field!
I left the house at a little past 7 in the morning. Since it was Saturday, traffic was remarkably light, by Metro Manila standards at least. I got to Aloha Hotel by around 8:00 AM. By that time, the ceremonial 5k (one of the store guys revealed that they actually ran 6k!) was long since done with. I missed the street party-like atmosphere (according to the same store guy), as well as familiar faces in the likes of the current Ateneo Track & Field Team and 100m hurdle National Record holder Sheena Atilano, the poster girl of ARC Manila.
Since Rob was quite pre-occupied explaining the intricacies of shoe customization, pronation and running basics, I talked a bit to Kulitrunner (whom I met for the first time the previous night). It turned out that I missed The Bullrunner herself by a good ten minutes! I’ve been wanting to meet the Bullrunner for the longest time, since her blog was one of the main driving forces of my track & field comeback.
The store was attractively cozy. The predominantly red motif made me want to pick up my running shoes (spikes, actually) and start running (hurdling!). The shelves were stacked with Asics, Mizuno and Brooks running shoes. I was actually surprised to see the latter since the Brooks brand hasn’t gained a foothold in Philippine shores yet. As an Asics fan myself, I found the ARC shirts pretty attractive, if not catchy because of the fiery color scheme.
I wasn’t really keen on the specific model names of the running shoes. Since I’m at the cusp of my professional life, I make it a point to buy the cheapest big-name shoes possible. I rarely go beyond Php 2,500 beyond each pair of running shoes. Judging from the looks of those fancy footwear, I had a strong feeling that the prices go beyond Php 5,000 – way beyond my budget!
This is the first time I’ve been to a specialty running store. I buy all of my kicks from department stores, sports shops and outlet stores. The store attendants in the aforesaid places are barely knowledgeable about the products they sell (Who can blame them? Most are poorly-paid, under-employed contractuals). I do not go beyond asking whether a particular pair is a cross-trainer or a running shoe.
The guys behind ARC Manila are way different. I can sense the deep passion they have for running. I was particularly impressed by the breadth of Rob’s knowledge when it comes to choosing a shoe and explaining the basic biomechanics of running.
I’d love to see ARC Manila bring in track & field spikes and specialty compression/cycling shorts. The aforesaid items are rare commodities in local stores. I don’t mind coughing out much cash for the latest high-end Asics Lite-ning or those spunky-looking Adidas Techfit compression shorts.
Indeed, setting up the store at the heart of the real Manila does wonders for the ambiance. As a Makati office rat who lives in Quezon City, a rare trip to Roxas Boulevard is a highlight in itself.
I wish the best to Rob and to the ARC Manila shop. Godspeed!