In It For the Long Run

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Running Room Staff Profiles

The Running Room could not have become what it is today without our loyal customers and dedicated employees. To thank those who have shown their commitment over the years, we would like to introduce you to a few long-serving members of our team.

 

MIKE O’DELL
Vice President (32 years)
The Running Room has been a part of my life for 35 years, initially as a customer and then as a team member. One of the first customers and first training program members, I ran my first marathon in Vancouver in 1986 alongside John Stanton, who instructed the Running Room’s first marathon training program. It is amazing that the fundamentals of the programs that John developed 35 years ago remain every bit as relevant and effective today. John established programs that allowed regular folks—people who were previously “non-runners”—to achieve the remarkable. His focus on balancing stress (activity) and rest (recovery) has brought runners and walkers of all ages across the finish line, upright and smiling. That 1986 marathon was my “remarkable” achievement, and over these 35 years, I have witnessed the impressive achievements of hundreds of thousands of our customers.

I joined the company in 1987, attracted by John’s philosophy to “do what you love and love what you do.” At the time, we had three locations in western Canada and now, there are over 100 Running Room locations in Canada and the USA. That pace of progress and evolution has never changed and it has been an absolutely wonderful ride. The Running Room team is committed to the customer first and providing a level of service that has a singular focus: “do the right thing.” The Running Room mantra has always been to earn your satisfaction from start to finish. Running Room has evolved into a brand that customers trust, and it has been a privilege to be a part of an organization that is committed to doing business that way.

 


MIKE MENDZAT
Creative Department/Races
(30 years)
My journey with the Running Room started 30 years ago. At the time, I was doing design work for a small screening division that provided shirts for local events at three locations in Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver. Over the years, I have witnessed the company’s expansion to over 100 locations, along with its involvement in countless regional and national events. It has been exciting to be part of the growth of the Running Room culture across the nation and to be involved in promoting healthy and active
 lifestyles from coast to coast. It has been a pleasure to be part of a great group of enthusiastic and talented individuals who are making this all happen. The technology and media have changed, but the Running Room commitment remains now, more than ever… for Runners, by Runners.

 

BOB ALBERT
Head of Security (25 years)
Twenty-five years ago, I walked into the back office at the 109 Street store in Edmonton. I started as an accountant in a six-person office with 10 stores, and we had just made the change from paper transactions to a new electronic retail system. I recall that everyone pitched in to do whatever needed to be done, from folding photocopied entry forms to packing shipping boxes. As we expanded the number of stores and our home office area, my role expanded as well. I was involved in new store builds and maintenance, purchasing non-inventory items, hiring office staff, automotive management, telephone and security systems and many other areas. Now, my primary role focuses on security issues, maintenance and vehicle management, but I can still step in to do whatever is needed for the Stanton family business.

 

JOHN REEVES
Director of Customer Service
(24 years)
In my current role, I lead our home office customer service team in building and maintaining relationships with our clients. Our team also serves as a helpful resource for store managers, store associates and a variety of home office departments. During my 24 years at home office, I have had many roles and worn many “hats” in the process. This has helped me enormously in providing guidance and assistance when coordinating product listings and promotions with our purchasing and marketing teams, especially for our e-commerce business.

 


CATHLEEN MONSON

Controller (20 years)

I began as a participant in Running Room training programs, then became a group leader for the Learn to Run and 5K clinics. When a position opened up with the company, I applied to join the team and have been the corporate controller ever since. Some of my best experiences over the years have been with the running clinics, where it all began. They are such a positive experience for everyone involved, from the beginner to the instructor. I enjoy volunteering to make pancakes for the annual Resolution Run pancake breakfast. The best part about working at the Running Room is the people, who are positive and goal-oriented. I love how Running Room is involved with so many charities and how our efforts make a difference in so many ways.

 


DARCY BERARD
USA General Manager (20 years)
They say time flies when you are having fun, right? I have worked for Running Room for over 20 years, and what an adventure it has been. I have worked in many roles for Running Room, but I can say without question that I have loved every minute of it. Running has always been a passion for me, so working in the running specialty industry is icing on the cake. My best memories come from all the people I have been able to meet in my 20 years with this amazing company.

 

 

AUDREY HEWITT
Cash Area Supervisor (20 years)
I have been at Running Room home office for many years, in the accounting department and helping out at reception. I really enjoy the variety of work I do, since I don’t have to work on the same thing every day. In my time here, I have really enjoyed working with the people at Running Room and have built many relationships over the years. I have even been able to work with my two daughters. I love how there are always opportunities to learn new things, no matter what area of the office you’re in. The Running Room has been a great place to work.

 

DARRELL W. KARY
Sales Clerk (28 years)
When I started at the Running Room, I had no expectations of my part-time job stretching out to nearly three decades. Back then, I was a single guy who enjoyed training with my buddies and running races on my weekends. Later, after I became a parent, one of my favorite family memories was participating in a Running Room race called the “Donut Run.” It was a one-mile downhill run where you had to stop and eat a donut halfway down the hill. I’m not sure who enjoyed the run more, the kids or me!

My children are still running, and it was with great joy that I recently watched one of my daughters complete her first marathon. My time at the Running Room has gone by so swiftly, and I am truly fortunate to have developed some amazing friendships with so many skilled and dedicated co-workers. I enjoy providing support and encouragement to our customers, and helping them reach their fitness and lifestyle goals.

 

STEVE MATTINA
Area manager (24 years)
Running was reintroduced to my life when I walked through the door of a running store 24 years ago. I had grown up with running, as I was introduced to the sport by my uncle who was a competitive runner. I went on to compete at track and cross-country but gave it up prior to moving to the west coast. I started back up with running at the Running Room’s Run Club, which turned into working in the store and eventually becoming an area manager for the west coast. I met my partner for life at a Wednesday night Run Club, and together over the past 19 years we have combined travel and running in finishing over 50 marathons around the world.

 

EDWARD MARK
Ontario Events Manager
(21 years)
In 1997, I walked into the Commerce Court Running Room store in downtown Toronto during its grand opening, and applied for a sales position with the Area Manager (who I already knew from Run Club). At that time, I couldn’t have imagined that I would still be with Running Room, over two decades later. Being the Ontario Events Manager enables me to spend time with our customers and fellow runners at races filled with smiles, congratulations and the conquering of goals. It’s always a happy time. Speaking of happy, I’m pleased to report that I have run 82 marathons, with a goal of running one in every Canadian province (I still need PEI) and American state (only New Hampshire, Delaware and Alaska are left on the list).

 

PHIL MARSH
Regional Manager/Event Manager
(23 years)
In 1996, I had a great conversation with John Stanton over a game of racquetball at the London Y. He asked if I was interested in joining his team, and in 1999, I moved to Ottawa to help expand the company. My work with the Running Room has provided me with a variety of tremendous opportunities. I’ve had breakfast with four-time Boston Marathon champion Bill Rodgers, run part of the 1976 Olympic Marathon route with American Olympian Frank Shorter, talked with Queen Elizabeth II, had a pint with British Olympian Sebastian Coe, attended the the Vancouver Olympics, and completed the Canada Army Run with double amputee soldier Jody Mitic. Mainly, I have seen first-hand the growth of running across this great country, thanks in large part to John Stanton, the run/walk program, our Run Clubs and clinics.

 

STEVEN LOWE
Assistant Manager (20 years)
Working at the Running Room has been really good to me. I have been with the company for at least 20 years and the job has helped me successfully achieve many running goals and meet many wonderful people. I’m still with the company and continue to help with clinics, maintaining the highest level of respect for anyone who puts on a pair of runners and goes off  on their merry way. Nowadays, I run mostly for fun and to keep in shape. I continue to enjoy being among runners and I’m always amused when I hear echoes of my past in their running chats.

 

BRUCE BOWEN
Sales Clerk (20 years)
I have seen plenty of changes in running gear since I began in 1998. Shoes have gone from a single base colour (usually white) with few accents to a wide spectrum of colours and design elements. Electronics have evolved from simple wrist chronographs to multifunctional GPS-enabled wearable technology. Through all this, the one constant is that people want to learn to run properly. I have had the pleasure of leading all the Running Room training program distances, from fitness walking to the full marathon. I have even had the pleasure and honour to teach the Survivor Clinic. It is always great to see people reach their goals.

 

MARK ARNOTT
Event Coordinator (20 years)
Mark Arnott celebrated his 20th anniversary with the Running Room this past September. He began coordinating events in Ontario 25 years ago independent of the Running Room, so that when he joined as Ontario Events Manager he brought a wealth of knowledge of how events are organized and run. Over his years as Events Manager he added several Running Room events and significantly grew the number of participants in both existing Running Room events and new events. Twelve years ago, Mark assumed the position of National Events Manager. He oversees all North American expos and events and manages event personnel across the country.  Mark finds his work challenging and rewarding. He has enjoyed his “Run” with the Running Room!

 

BARRY SMITH
Area Manager (21 years)
Before I began my career at Running Room, I was the manager of a gourmet cookie shop and a smoker, weighing 250 pounds. During a very weak moment, I made the decision to sign up for a Learn to Run clinic at the Running Room. Before I knew it, I was the assistant manager at the London store, and the rest is history.

A favourite anecdote: one night, a customer phoned the store to inquire about clinics. The next day, she came in and said, “Are you Barry? I was all set to hate you, and now I can’t, because you didn’t give me the ‘jock’ attitude on the phone. You made me feel like everyone could be a runner.” She is now a Running Room training program instructor. Clinics are, by far, the best part of my job.

 

DOROTHY & RICHARD BEAUCHAMP
Magazine Contributor  (20 years)
Dr. Richard Beauchamp and his wife Dorothy have been part of our Run Club for over 20 years—first at the Alma location, and now at the West 4th store in Vancouver. I have fond memories of them attending a past event we called the “Jasper Get Fit Weekend” in Jasper, Alberta. Richard, an accomplished marathoner and orthopedic surgeon, is also a long-time contributor to Running Room Magazine. He shares his wisdom and advice on running-related health topics in his regular feature, “The Doctor Is In.” 

 

 

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