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Local Runners Switching To Lighter Shoes For Marathon

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Gordy Leach Gordy Leach
Gordy Leach graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1974 wi...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Runners are getting ready for a big weekend here in Minneapolis and St. Paul as the 30th annual Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon is Sunday.

The 26.2 mile race starts at the Metrodome in downtown Minneapolis, winds around the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes, follows the Mississippi River into St. Paul and ends at the State Capitol.

There is also a 5k run and some kid-friendly races in St. Paul on Saturday.

Running shoes for these events have evolved over the decades. This year there are likely to be more runners than ever using light weight or minimalist shoes on the streets of the Twin Cities.

It’s a trend that even Wall Street has noticed. Serious runners can wear out a pair of shoes in less than a year. New running shoes often cost more than a hundred dollars. People are buying so many new running shoes and other athletic gear that Nike surpassed sales expectations in the last quarter.

“There are some who realize that their feet do need as much help as they can get to get them across the finish line of the marathon, or even the 10 mile, which is still a pretty long distance to run,” said Michael Stuart with Marathon Sports.

It seems that in the world of minimalist shoes, less is more. While a pair of these light weights can weigh about the same as one regular shoe, the prices are about the same.

“There’s a broad range of companies that make these, but a lot of the higher-end companies, they’ll start at 85, 90 & some of them go all the way up to about $130, so they’re definitely not less expensive,” said Stuart.

If you’re thinking of trying light-weight running shoes, and stimulating the economy a little bit, be aware that the transition from normal shoes to light weight shoes may have to be done gradually to avoid injury. Some runners prefer to just stick with what has always worked.

“I’ve run marathons, not running this one on Sunday, but I’ve run 10,” said Gregory Luce of Minneapolis. “I’m not one to try that shoe, or those kind of shoes, because I’d have to change my stride.  If I had to change my mechanics, I’ve never been injured running, I’m afraid I’d injure myself trying to run in a shoe I really don’t need.”

Here’s another interesting tidbit: According to Market watch in New York, sales of light weight running shoes should amount to $2 billion by the end of this year.

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