A few interesting nuggets to pass along on this cold winter evening:
The local running-store landscape will begin changing ... Friday morning: Fleet Feet Sports, a national chain, will open its location at Birkdale Village in Huntersville for the first time at 10 a.m. Friday. Regular store hours (listed here) will be in effect beginning immediately. It will be the fifth Fleet Feet store in N.C. As recently as this morning, co-owner Kristin Harris was concerned they might have to delay the opening till next week, but everything was able to get signed off this afternoon. "It was so up in the air for a bit, but tomorrow we will hit the ground running!" she told me tonight. ... Meanwhile, Run For Your Life owner Tim Rhodes says the Charlotte chain's forthcoming location at Stonecrest at Piper Glen shopping center (in the Ballantyne area) will have a "soft opening" March 22. Dates for the public grand-opening week are to be determined. The store will replace the existing Stonecrest Run For Your Life, on Rea Road.
Nothing new to report, unfortunately, on what might be springing up in the place of the former Charlotte Health & Fitness Magazine's Frosty 5K and Summer Trail series in 2010. (I blogged last month about the situation.) David Klein, who sold CHF Magazine last year, reportedly has plans for new races, and I'm told is on the verge of putting out information through the URL www.racecarolina.com. At present, if you go to the site it just says "Coming Soon." Attempts to reach Klein directly have been unsuccessful. Stay tuned...
The Inaugural Charlotte Running Company Trail Races are set for Jan. 23 at the U.S. Whitewater Center in west Charlotte. Three distances to choose from -- 3.8, 8.2 and 13 miles -- and each starts at 8 a.m. on courses that are primarily part of "a single track trail system in covered woods adjacent to the Whitewater Center." Registration is $25/$35/$45 (goes up after Jan. 20 by $5), and all pre-registered participants are guaranteed a long-sleeved race T-shirt. There's also a $5 on-site parking fee. Post-race door prizes will be awarded, and refreshments will be served both beforehand and afterward. More details are on the race page: here.
Run For Your Life has released its tentative race schedule for 2010. Click here to check it out. For runners who care about the Grand Prix Series, the most notable change is that the GPx now has 10 races instead of nine -- the Great Harvest Bread Co. 5K is the new addition.
Finally, Tim Rhodes from Run For Your Life reports that the "Spread the Love" campaign he conceived for the Thunder Road Marathon was a huge success. Here's what happened: Leading up to the race expo on Dec. 11, the store's Facebook page dribbled out cryptic messages encouraging runners to "find Tim" at the convention center. Well, when they found him on the expo floor, he coughed up an envelope containing $200 cash, and instructions that informed recipients they couldn't keep the money but instead had to give it to someone in need. A total of 20 people won this opportunity; each was asked to share the story of what they did with the money on RFYL's Facebook "Wall." In an e-mail earlier this week, Rhodes told me: "We received several e-mails in lieu of the FB postings. A couple highlights: One couple matched the money and contributed to more than one charity. The winner of one of the races came up to me after the awards ceremony, and emotionally thanked us because her sister was going through a very rough time and the money would come in handy for her. Several other postings on FB show that the money seemed to go farther than the $200 it actually started out to be. ... For sure we will do it again next year, and maybe even encourage the recipients to match the giving in some way."