Every runner has a story. Stories about what got them into running. Maybe what made them stop. Stories about what – or maybe who – inspired them to try again. What they look forward to, what they dread, what keeps them going. No matter what kind of runner, no matter how fast or how slow, novice or expert, road or trail, we are all united by a common thread…or perhaps it is a shoelace…
It is the stories behind each and every runner that has inspired Zac Addorisio to launch Runners United, which I’m VERY excited to tell you about…
But first, let me tell you how I came to know Zac. I’ll never forget our first bonding experience, which took place during my first Racing the Planet race (click here to see it live!). We were in Northern Vietnam riding in the back of a jeep at night. I had just finished running 100 km through mud and rain, and Zac was in charge of making sure the competitors were transfered safely from the finish line to the campsite. While we were en route, the driver pulled over to buy a bag of oranges from a local stand and then proceeded to – gulp – offer one to each of us.
Now, just to get everyone up to speed, this race, like all other Racing the Planet races, was self-supported. That means you had to carry all of your food, clothes, and supplies on your back for the entire race. Being a fairly recent law graduate at the time, I, of course, had committed the race rules to memory. I knew that eating other people’s food was prohibited. Grounds for disqualification. Maybe even criminal punishment. Heck, as far as I was concerned, breaking this rule was equivalent to disemboweling babies (sorry for the visual). Yes, I may have been taking myself a bit too seriously…
But anyhow, back to the story. When this driver offered me the orange, I was faced with a dilemma. To someone who had just run 100 km, who was in a serious sugar low, dehydrated and full of dried fruit and beef jerky, that orange represented all that was good in the world. I actually remember it glowing. But alas, knowing that eating the orange would be committing a moral sin, I told the driver that I literally could not eat the forbidden fruit.
And that’s when Zac descended from the heavens and granted me permission to eat the orange.
*cue sounds of angelic choirs singing in harmony*
Never has an orange tasted so good!!! But seriously, orange aside, from that moment Zac stood out to me as being someone I could lean on. On a number of occasions, from Vietnam to Namibia to Mont Blanc, Zac was there with kind words, encouragement, laughs, and sometimes oranges. He helped me through so many rough points and cheered me through the high times. That is why I’m SO excited to tell you about what Zac has been up to lately and what he has in store for 2011!!
Last year Zac left Racing the Planet and moved back home to Canada. Having been around the running and outdoor adventure scene for quite some time, he decided to start something of his own. Inspired by the stories of the runners he had met along the way, he wanted to provide a place – both online and in store – where he could help runners achieve their best. In 2011, Runners United will open its first retail location — presumably in Kelowna, BC where Zac calls home — and launch a website with an online store. From the man himself:
Runners United will be committed to providing only the best in running equipment for its clientele―a global selection of first class products, each chosen for their exceptional design and technical aspects. Serving the running community is what I love to do.
The facebook group for Runners United is already a great source of information, including news about races, tips, and interesting tidbits on the latest apps and gadgets.
I’m super excited to see what’s in store (haha…okay, bad pun) for next year and I’m behind Zac all the way! Stay tuned for more things to come!!