Front Runner Athletics wants to give back to the community that made it a premier running store in Hamilton County. That's why, for the fifth year in a row, the Hixson Pike store hosting its Summer Running Camp, free and open to the public.
Set to take place July 10-19, the camp caters to runners of all skill sets and experience levels, including total beginners.
Front Runner Marketing Coordinator Laryssa Martinovich would know — she first attended the camp three years ago, and it rekindled her love of running so much, she applied and got her current job with the business.
"We get a lot of people returning year after year, but we're always excited for people hearing about it for the first time to show up," she said.
Martinovich said this year, Front Runner will be bringing more product trials and representatives to each event. Participants will be allowed to try out shoes and see what works best for them as a way to educate new and experienced runners about the ins and outs of running beyond just technique.
Husband-and-wife duo Bill and Jan Gautier are coaching the series. Bill Gautier was the longtime cross country coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, while Jan Gautier currently coaches boys' cross country at Baylor School.
Martinovich stressed that anyone in the community can show up and learn, regardless of their familiarity with running. Last year, over 100 runners attended, and organizers hope to match or top that number this year.
"Last year we had a man over 70 years old, and we also had kids that were probably 6 or 7 years old," she said. "It's awesome to see all of these athletes advancing and improving."
After the first class or two, the group will be split up according to skill range, typically in groups of 10 or 20 people, Martinovich said. These groups can vary between running five-minute miles or 15-minute miles; the goal is simply to improve.
"There just seems to be a need in Chattanooga for a running camp," Martinovich said. "We think it's important to provide one for our community."
Free T-shirts will be available for participants who register online. The classes will be held each Monday at Greenway Farms and Wednesday at Baylor School from 6-7 p.m.
For more information, visit frontrunnerathletics.com or call 875-3642.