Run Happy: Start at Kingston's Runners' Choice

By Margaret Coughlin

Looking for that first great pair of shoes to launch your running career or seeking a replacement for the pair that faithfully carried you through the Winter of the Decade? Runners’ Choice Kingston is the place to go.

A runners wish: "May the wind always be at your back."
A runners wish: “May the wind always be at your back.”

A friendly welcome awaits you at Runners’ Choice, 56 Brock Street, steps from Market Square. The experienced staff – all runners – will assess your needs and suggest a shoe to take your running to the next level, tailored to your foot type and running style.
Runners Choice carries shoes for adults and kids: Asics, Brooks, Saucony, New Balance, Altra and Adidas.
Runners’ Choice carries shoes for adults and kids: Asics, Brooks, Saucony, New Balance, Altra and Adidas.

You'll also want some well-fitting socks.
You’ll also want some well-fitting socks.

With your feet feeling so wonderful, how can you deprive the rest of your body of running finery?  Running tights can be worn fall, winter and spring. As warmer weather approaches, you will be glad to own a pair or two of running shorts or capris and a technical shirt to wick away moisture.
Runner's Choice offers a range of tanks and shirts to fill the bill.
Runners’ Choice offers a range of tanks and shirts to fill the bill. 

You don’t have much time to break in those new shoes and start building up your mileage before the KRRA Limestone Race Weekend, sponsored by the Kingston Road Runners Association. If you’re up for 3k, you could encourage your favourite participant in the kids’ race, which kicks off the weekend on Saturday, April 26 at 2:45. There’s a 10k at 5 p.m., and next morning, Sunday, April 27, a half marathon and a 5k, both beginning at 9:30.
Thursday night is Women's Night at Runners Choice.
Thursday night is Women’s Night at Runners’ Choice. 

Some of the participants in the 5k will be graduates of the recent Runners Choice Run Girl Run Clinic. On a recent Thursday night, one lone Run Girl Runner joined the regular Women’s Run group. A Thursday runner had just finished a gruelling 30k at Hamilton’s Around the Bay Race and was happy to run with the newcomer. That’s how we do it. Nobody runs alone. Click here For more information!
That philosophy of acceptance and inclusion comes directly from Al Cantlay, the man who has led Runners Choice since 1985. A lifelong runner and former Montrealer, he attended Queen’s and competed for the university in track and cross country. He coached cross country at Queen’s from 1980 to 1985.
Since then Al has coached hundreds of runners. Currently, this volunteer activity includes his free Tuesday speed workout, with runners meeting at 5:45 at the old Fort Henry information booth and looping through RMC’s quiet roads and the challenging Hill. In winter, Barriefield shelters Al’s wind-battered runners. This year, he braved brutal conditions to support a faithful group of diehards.
Savaas checks out the latest shoes as Al bundles up for an hour of Saturday morning coaching.
Savaas checks out the latest shoes as Al bundles up for an hour of Saturday morning coaching.

On alternate Saturday mornings, runners can meet Al for a free tempo run. This past Saturday, Al encouraged my efforts on the 1000 and 1600 loops. He stressed the advantages of running with a small group, noting that a slower runner can run with a faster group provided that they take a little extra rest time, even as little as 90 seconds. I have seen Al orchestrate as many as 50 runners at a time, welcoming newcomers, suggesting partners, challenging the cocky and cautioning the over-zealous.
Runners have left Runners Choice for their Sunday morning run. After locking up, Al heads out with his group. They will quickly pass those who started earlier.
Runners have left Runners’ Choice for their Sunday morning run. After locking up, Al heads out with his group. They will quickly pass those who started earlier.

Al is disciplined in his own personal workouts, usually at RMC. “I just have it in my mind that I’m here to work,” he says. On his other runs, he takes it easy. And it’s a system that produces excellent results. In January’s Resolution Run, Al was 10th out of 72 runners, chasing men an average of 20 years his junior. At the Peterborough Half in February, he was 2nd in his age category. All who know him were delighted when he was inducted as a Builder in the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame.
At Runners’ Choice you can find the sports gear you need and meet a local hero to boot – it’s a great incentive to start your spring off right!
Whether your feet are tiny or enormous, your perfect well-fitting shoe is at Runners Choice!
Whether your feet are tiny or enormous, your perfect well-fitting shoe is at Runners’ Choice!