COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — For Columbus locals, running is all about enjoying the process – and wearing the right shoes. On Global Running Day, representatives of the Columbus Roadrunners and Bid Dog Running Co. Fleet Feet talked about running on a local level.

Growing up, Roadrunners President Carolee Luther’s father was a recreation director at a camp, which is where the now 59-year-old fostered her love of running. Today, she’s been running for over 20 years. She explained being part of the Roadrunners is central to her life and she especially enjoys helping others.

“When another person that I’ve helped is able to run for the first time or run a 5k, complete the 5k that we trained for…it just makes me feel excited for not just them but myself that I was able to help them accomplish that,” said Luther, who noted one of her favorite places to run locally is the Riverwalk.

She advised new runners to listen to their bodies and run at their own paces, not anyone else’s. Luther also recommended trying out the Porch Dog to Big Dog 5k program aimed toward local beginners.

Data suggests the running community is growing, with Run Repeat stating 59.1% of active adults cited outdoor activity as their preferred fitness method at the outset of 2021. The website study notes this a 14.6% rise since the start of 2020.

At Big Dog, employee Kendall Harris recommended getting sized professionally for running shoes.

“The right running shoe is so important,” said Harris, “A lot of people [don’t] realize it but they’ve ben wearing the wrong size shoe on their feet for a long time.”

The employee explained wearing the wrong shoe can lead to foot pain. She encouraged people to come use the store’s foot scanner and try on shoes to find what size and stability combination works best.

Luther reiterated the importance of having the right shoe, adding hers are currently the Brooks Ghost model.

The Run Experience reported Asics represented the highest proportion of shoe bought in 2018 at 16%, followed by Brooks at 15%. Nike and Saucony were 12% of the total share each, with Hoka ONE ONE (9%) and Adidas (8%) the next highest.

Harris mentioned Big Dog will have their weekly 6 p.m. group run tonight. She said this is a great way for new runners in the area to meet each other. The store also collaborates with Iron Bank Coffee Co. next door so runners can get 50% off their evening beer purchases post-run.

Harris said, “We’re always here to have a community for all runners and walkers around here, especially on Global Running Day.”