It’s the end of an era as Geoff Todd, founder of Runners’ Choice Waterloo, retired this month. (Don’t worry – we think the store is in great hands – more on that below.)
Geoff is a member, builder, and pillar of our community. Even though we won’t have the regular opportunity to check in for a friendly chat with Geoff, we will still see him around, at races either running or doing the odd pop-up shop. So don’t miss the this opportunity:
An Evening to Honour Geoff Todd
Runners’ Choice is throwing a farewell event, “An Evening to Honour Geoff Todd“, on November 23rd, 7:30pm, at McCabe’s Waterloo. Please RSVP on Facebook. It’s an informal drop-in event, with complimentary apps!
We know it’s not Geoff’s style to make a big deal about him, but we still wanted to put this down in writing:
A few testaments
Lloyd Schmidt, RW Race Director: I have known Geoff for 30 years. He became a sponsor of The Waterloo 10 KM Classic after Athlete’s Foot closed, first through his High Impact Athletic Footwear store and then Runners’ Choice. Geoff was more than a sponsor. He demonstrated genuine interest in not only the sport of running, but of each individual runner as well. Always available and willing to help anyone, and always with a friendly, sincere attitude and smile on his face. Not too many people remember the running stories from decades years ago, so it was always great to reminisce about the good old days, something that I’m sure we can continue to do although Geoff won’t be directly involved with Runners’ Choice. Hopefully Geoff can now find some personal time to himself and actually participate in a few of our races!
Michele Craddock, group leader: Geoff has been a great supporter of our marathon group. He’s always interested in hearing our stories about our races. Many of us have run from the store for over 20 years. Even though he’s relocated his store 3 times in the past few years we keep following. Geoff, we will miss you!! Good luck in your retirement.
Alex Ullman, co-owner of Runners’ Choice:
As a new owner of Runners’ Choice Waterloo, I plan to continue what Geoff built. Words can’t describe all that Geoff has done for the running community in Kitchener-Waterloo, as he cared for all runners, he put most of his life into growing the store and community to what it is now. Working under Geoff as a Manager this past year has taught me a lot about the run community in Waterloo and all it has to offer; Andrew and I definitely have big shoes to fill but, we are young, energetic, runners, who are ready to take on the task.
Andrew Aguanno, co-owner of Runners’ Choice:
I haven’t known Geoff all that long but from my experience with him and the accounts of numerous community members, friends, and employees, I can confidently say he is an extremely generous, caring, and helpful person. He is a happy, laid-back guy who does a lot for his employees, the community, and Alex and I. He built an amazing store that is grandfathered into the community, and rather than selling to a faceless corporation, he chose to hand-off the business to Alex and I in order to carry on his legacy as people who love and want to see growth in running. Alex and I have big shoes to fill, but we aim to continue the top-notch service, unmatched product knowledge, and community involvement that Runners’ Choice Waterloo has been known for.
And who are Alex and Andrew?
Alex and Andrew have strong running resumés, from coaching to competing to working in retail. We asked Alex, from Waterloo, and Andrew, from Toronto to provide some background below. In the photo, it’s Alex on the left, Geoff in the centre, and Andrew on the right.
Andrew: I’ve been a competitive runner since grade 5, competing in every type of running event in some capacity, (XC, Track and field, trail racing, road racing). In high school I was an OFSAA silver medalist and Jr. National bronze medalist in the steeplechase. In University I was an second team All-Canadian for the University of Windsor in XC, and finished 5th at CIS Track & Field in the 1500m. After a few years hiatus from running, following my university career, I competed in Skateboarding contests and slowly found my way back to running when I began working at The Running Factory in 2013. I worked as a salesman and eventually as a marathon coach, growing my clinic from an initial 8 person group to a 60 person group in my final clinic. During this time I ran a number of 1/2 marathons, placing 4th at the 2018 Detroit Free Press 1/2 in a time of 1:09. Since moving to Waterloo I have decided to train for shorter distances and make a comeback to the track and field scene, as well as local road races (5th at the 2019 Fall 5 KM Classic). Alex and I have been coaching with the University of Waterloo Cross Country program, seeing a lot of growth and success this year. We hope to lead by example and develop ourselves, our athletes, and our community by representing Runners’ Choice Waterloo and putting us on the map as an elite training hub to rival the Guelph/ Toronto powerhouses.
Alex: As an athlete I have been a competitive runner since high school, where I competed for Bluevale at OFSAA in both Cross Country and Track & Field. As a local athlete, I competed at Run Waterloo events, where I was fortunate to win the 5k Classic (Oktoberfest Run) in 2010. In University I had a breakthrough in the sport, where I received multiple First-Team All-Canadian honors in Track & Field and Second-Team OUA All-Star honours in Cross Country, for the University of Windsor. After University I continued to run with goals of competing at the 2020 Olympics, and competing in races/events across the world. In 2017 I represented Team Canada in the 800m and 4x400m relay events at the Francophone Games in Ivory Coast, Africa. After the Francophone Games, I decided to take a break from the sport due to personal reasons. During my break from competitive running, I was inspired to give back to the sport as a coach. In the fall of 2018, I was given the opportunity to coach at the University of Waterloo with both Cross Country and Track & Field programs, where I still coach today. Coaching has inspired me to make a comeback in the sport, with the ultimate goal of competing for Canada at the International level again.
We’re looking forward with great optimism
Of course, Geoff would not leave the community or the store in anything but the best hands. Run Waterloo has spent a lot of time coordinating with Alex and Andrew this fall, and we have exciting stuff planned for 2020 and beyond. Besides recruiting and coordinating elite runners to Run Waterloo events, they are also really excited to help us grow the sport, welcome new runners, and work together to reach new heights as a fun, friendly, and compassionate community. Besides the farewell to Geoff, this is event on the 23rd is also a great opportunity to meet Alex and Andrew if you haven’t already!