2012-02-09 / Sports
Owner is excited to bring Runner’s High to Freehold
Segal is now experiencing that same anxiety for a different reason. On Feb. 13 he will open Runner’s High, a running-oriented store, in the Renaissance Plaza, Schanck Road, Freehold Township. He is partners in the venture with co-owner Rob DeFilippis.
A year ago Segal was staring at the store’s concrete floor and bare walls and his thoughts were, “what am I getting into?” Today he is looking at a store that is ready for business.
“I’m excited for (opening day),” he said. “I’m anxious and nervous. It’s the same kind of feeling of anticipation” before a race.
Segal is well known in the shore area running community. He was a state champion in cross country and track and field at Holmdel High School and he went on to run at Villanova and Monmouth University (where he did post-graduate work).
These days he is a regular at road races, running every distance up to and including the 26-mile marathon. He runs between 90 and 110 miles a week.
“Running is such a big part of my everyday life that (the store) is a natural fit,” Segal said. “I always wanted to stay within the (running) industry. Even in high school, I knew I wanted to do something with running. It’s such a passion of mine. Opening your own business is a risk, but I am at the point where I can take a risk. I don’t want look back 15 or 20 years from now and wish I had done it.”
Segal said he and DeFilippis had tossed around the idea of opening a store in western Monmouth County for a couple of years. Location was important and the Freehold area was always preferable.
Most running stores, Segal said, are near the shore, and he and DeFilippis did not believe there was a business catering to the running and triathlete community in western Monmouth County.
They looked for space in the western part of the county and said Renaissance Plaza was just what they were looking for.
The shopping center is in the heart of a big running community — the Freehold Area Running Club’s main base, Michael J. Tighe Park, is only a couple of miles away and the club holds its road races in the area, and the Freehold Regional High School District schools, which are very competitive in cross country and track and field, are nearby.
After talking with runners and high school coaches, Segal and DeFilippis believed there was enough interest in the area to support a store. Segal grew up in the area, and DeFilippis, who has Runner’s High stores in Metuchen and Jersey City, is the successful head coach at Red Bank Catholic High School.
Segal plans to hold clinics at the Freehold Township location and one of the first clinics will be presented by nutritionist Brian Shea. Segal is looking for locations to hold group runs and said he will help runners and triathletes set up a training program and workout schedule.
People who plan to run just for exercise will be catered to as well.
“I want to promote the sport of running,” Segal said.
Runner’s High will also have shoes for throwers available.
Magazine covers featuring track luminaries like Eamonn Coghlan, Sebastian Coe, Marty Liquori and Jim Ryun line the store’s walls and promote the sport and its history.
Now that the grand opening is just days away, Segal has a special feel for what he is doing.
“I feel a sense of pride getting this up and running,” he said. “It’s the area I grew up in.”
Runner’s High will be open on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, call 732-414-2738.