South Sound Running opening Puyallup location

Craig.hill@thenewstribune.comJune 30, 2013 

Answers to important questions nobody has asked me yet.

Combine the populations of South Hill and Puyallup (more than 90,000) and you have a pocket of people that would rank as the 12th-largest city in the state and second-largest in the South Sound. So why does it feel like specialty sporting goods stores don’t stick here?

While skiers and cyclists in this area certainly were disappointed with the departure of Bike Tech and Sturtevant’s Ski Mart in recent years, they’re about to get some good news.

South Sound Running plans to open a store at 115 S. Meridian in downtown Puyallup in early July.

“We’ve been looking to open a store on the east side of I-5, and when we heard about this space we decided to take a hard look,” owner Greg Klein said. “It’s a great space.”

South Sound Running has stores in Olympia and Tacoma, and Klein says the new store is already reaching out to the Puyallup running community.

The store will be managed by Rick Bogatay, an Emerald Ridge High School graduate and 2011 Sound to Narrows champion. The store sponsored the June 22 Meeker Days 5K and plans to sponsor a new race at September’s Washington State Fair,” Klein said.

“If there’s a race in the community, we want to be a part of it,” Klein said.

Klein believes South Sound Running can be a fixture in the community.

“I can’t speak for other companies or why they left, but it’s a good fit for us,” he said. “But what we know about our customer base and what we saw, we are very confident we will do good business here. We are very optimistic.”

On South Hill, Inspired Ride recently celebrated its first anniversary as the area’s only bike shop.

“When Bike Tech closed, it left a huge hole,” Inspired Ride owner Nyer Brittain said.

Brittain, a longtime South Hill resident who grew up working in his father’s Spokane bike shop, says the biggest reason for the shortage of specialty shops is likely the cost of retail space. “It’s pretty expensive out here.”

Nyer says his business is carving out its niche as a “working class” bike shop. He said many South Hill and Puyallup cyclists still travel to Tacoma shops such as Bike Tech, Old Town Bicycle and Tacoma Bike, and Sumner’s Bonney Lake Bicycle Shop for higher-end purchases.

For now, Nyer is happy providing tires, tubes, tuneups and repairs while offering a modest selection of bikes in his small shop at 14712 Meridian Ave. E.

And like South Sound Running, he’s also making a point of connecting with the community.

Inspired Ride hosts group rides at 8:30 on Saturday mornings and a women-only ride Thursdays at 6:30 p.m. on the Foothills Trail. (For more information, call Inspired Ride at 253-380-5783.) Inspired Ride (and Bike Tech) is also among the sponsors for this morning’s Tour de Pierce 50-mile bike ride, which starts and finishes in Puyallup.

“Our name is Inspired Ride,” Brittain said, “because one of our goals is to inspire people to ride.”

I haven’t competed in track since I was in high school. Where is a good place to discover that I’m not nearly as fit as I used to be?

All-comers track meets are a good place to rediscover your athletic side and, as the name implies, they’re open to everybody.

The Tumwater series just ended, but the Puyallup meets continue for four more weeks.

The Puyallup meets are Wednesday nights at 5 at Sparks Stadium. Registration begins at 4:30 p.m. The entry fee is $7 per meet.

Events include races ranging from 50-3,200 meters, softball throw, shot put, long jump and high jump. The top six finishers in each division win ribbons.

At these meets, you’ll find everybody from young kids taking their first foray into track and field to adults of a wide range of fitness and experience.

For more information, visit bit.ly/sparksmeets.

What Washington events have the best finisher medals?

This is a tough one, but I will say this: Olympia’s Lakefair Run definitely gets points for creativity and renewability.

On July 20, finishers of the Lakefair half marathon will receive medals made of locally harvested red alder.

“For those who collect finisher medals from other events, they will know that the Lakefair Run medals are truly unique,” race volunteer Rachel York said via email.

Lakefair Run also has 8- and 3-kilometer races and a kids run. (Visit ontherunevents.com/lakefair for more information.)

But I digress. Who has the coolest finisher medals? You tell me.

Send me a picture of your favorite finisher medals, including when and where you earned them. They can be from any endurance sport.

We’ll feature the best in an upcoming fitness column and build an online gallery to help you plan your future race schedule.

Send all images to craig.hill@thenewstribune.com.

Craig Hill: 253-597-8497 Craig.hill@thenewstribune.com Blog.thenewstribune.com/adventure @AdventureGuys

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