After celebrating its first anniversary in its new home at 123 Quimby Street, Westfield Running Company is pleased to welcome athletes of all abilities to its free programs.
"We're bigger and better than our Elm Street location," said Alex Tarlow, sales associate and running enthusiast. "The store is really open and welcoming. It's well-lit and everyone who works here is a runner and happy to help."
But Tarlow is quick to point out the shop doesn't cater to runners only. A free gait-analysis aimed at helping walkers and athletes find the perfect footwear is just one of the services that Westfield Running Company offers.
"People tend to think either they're runners or they're not runners and they leave out everything in between. We're trying to bridge that gap," Tarlow said.
The store hosts a Monday evening "Couch to 5-Mile" program that takes a slow-and-steady-wins-the-race approach.
"This is for beginners, walkers and those just getting started," Tarlow explained.
Tuesdays, Tarlow, who has worked at the shop since high school, leads a run that starts at Lifetime Fitness in Berkeley Heights. Runners don't need to be Lifetime members to participate in the outdoor exercise.
On Wednesdays, runners can meet at Westfield's Tamaques Park for a 3- to 5-mile run. Tarlow explained that runners of all abilities are welcome and added that the weekly outing serves as a nice "home base" to keep motivated. Thursdays feature a group run that begins at the store.
Start Sundays off with a free yoga class from 10 to 11 a.m. instructed by Andrea from South Avenue's Satsang Yoga.
"Andrea is great," Tarlow said. "She's so energetic yet quiet and calm when she needs to be."
The store is rearranged to accommodate the public and Tarlow said as many as 25 people have attended simultaneously. The classes are BYOM: bring your own mat.
In preparation for the ING Marathon held on Nov. 4 in New York City, the Westfield Running Company is hosting a meet and greet to offer long-distance runners a chance to find running partners or arrange rides to the event tonight. The social begins at 5 p.m. and ends at 7 p.m. Attendees will receive a 15 percent discount on purchases made during the evening.
"What's great is we have the ability to start fun things on a whim," said Tarlow, who specializes in community outreach on behalf of the store. "On Girls' Night Out we'll have the cross country captains here opening doors for the ladies and passing out water. There's always something going on. I love it."