Distance aside, all running is putting one foot in front of the other, the owner of a new store in Port Royal says.
Tim Waz opened Grounded Running on Parris Island Gateway this month. He wants to cater to all stages of customer, from the recreational walker to the competitive distance runner.
“Most runners who sign up for a 5K or sign up for a 100-mile race, most runners aren’t signing up thinking, ‘I’m going to win this,’ ” Waz said. “They’re doing it because they’ve set a goal for themselves, and they’re going to do whatever they can to cross the finish line. They’re very goal-driven individuals.”
His own preference is to race distances that would make the casual runner’s stomach churn.
Waz is an ultra runner, drawn to anything longer than the traditional 26.2-mile marathon. The 40-year-old Ridgeland resident ran six 100-mile events last year.
He founded the Lowcountry Ultras, which included a race aptly named Delirium. The Ridgeland event crowns the runner who completes the greatest number of miles in 24 hours.
Waz grew up in Florida and ran at what is now USC Upstate. He later ran with a track club and dabbled in triathlons before taking a break.
When he got back into running, long distances were calling. He ran a 50-kilometer race, then the same distance on a mountain course. Soon he was running 100 miles and races spanning multiple days.
“Sometimes you sleep laying down on the trail, and other times you literally are grabbing half a pizza, folding it up and carrying it with you as you move down the trail,” Waz said.
A former executive for a Louisiana-based hospitality company, Waz and his wife hatched the plan for Grounded Running this summer. The name is pulled from a podcast Waz started on ultra running and training.
The podcast led to another series of ultra races and now a storefront.
The store includes Grounded Running apparel with the slogan “Stay grounded,” a variety of shoes from brands like Altra, Newton and Luna running sandals.
A treadmill in one corner is ready to help customers find their fit. A young bearded dragon named Bodhie that belongs to Waz’s son lives in an aquarium Waz built into the store’s counter.
Waz said there was a need for such a store in northern Beaufort County and that the schedule was a better fit for his family.
“Running is one of the areas where everybody can do it, and so having something in the backyard — (the) Beaufort (area) definitely needs it,” he said.