Best of the CRANDIC Spotlight: Iowa Running Company helps joggers face winter head on

Iowa Running Company: shoes to run and do battle in. — Malcolm MacDougall/Little Village

Best of the CRANDIC 2021 winner: Best Shoe Store

Iowa Running Company, tucked between a pizza restaurant and donut shop in Cedar Rapids’ New Bohemia neighborhood, stocks a solid variety of running shoes and practical activewear and even features a couple of treadmills for checking your gait to find the best possible pair of sneakers. They also have a kegerator!

I asked Clifton Trebil-Smith, co-owner of Iowa Running Company, a few questions about the shop and his sport of choice.

Your storefront is gorgeous and refreshingly sophisticated. How long have you been there?

Oh gosh, now we’re blushing. When Iowa Running Company was coming to life in 2017 and seeking a location, we didn’t want to be anywhere other than this neighborhood. We feel fortunate to have moved into what was already a refreshingly sophisticated space.

Running is unique in that it requires no gear but a surface to run on. That said, since most of us aren’t doing it naked, what gear do you recommend most, especially as we enter the dark winter season?

Every runner is different and has their preferences when it comes to running in the winter. While some layer up like an onion, others will run in a T-shirt and shorts all year long. Regardless of what you wear, being visible is the one thing everyone should take seriously. A simple strobe light attached to your front and back can be the difference between being noticed or being road dust.

What are three tips you’d offer anyone interested in becoming a runner?

A) It’s your journey and no one else’s. You are a runner regardless of your speed. It’s all relative, so don’t compare yourself to others. B) Find a running community. For an individualized activity, you’ll find more supportive teammates than any other sport. C) Just do it. Some shoe company out there said that once, I think.

Do you have a running/racing mantra?

Remember why you started.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 301.