Editor's Note: In 2015, Fleet Feet Sports and Mizuno Running partnered together to create the Power of Running to Inspire, a campaign to recognize inspiring individuals in our running communities across the nation. Fleet Feet Santa Rosa nominated seven inspiring individuals in 2016 for the Power of Running and we will be celebrating all of them at a special celebration on Jan. 25, 2017 at the store. We will be publishing a blog post each week leading up to the celebration about our nominees.
Al & Anna Myers have been a fixture of Fleet Feet trail training groups since they joined their first group in the fall of 2011.
They first heard about Fleet Feet through a coworker of Al’s named Eddie Curiel. Curiel had participated multiple times with Fleet Feet’s training groups and Jeff Galloway training groups. The Myers had just began running and liked running on trails, so Curiel let them know a new Fleet Feet trail group was starting.
“We were very intimidated at the thought of joining a formal group,” said Al. “We were pretty new runners – we’d only been running about a year and were very new to trails.”
They went into Fleet Feet for the first time to meet trail group coach and Fleet Feet employee Marc Strozyk. Strozyk informed them the group begin at five miles, so the Myers tried out a five-mile trail route he had given them before joining. They found it difficult, but enjoyable.
Still nervous, they signed up for the trail group in the spring of 2011 anyway. The group was training for the Annadel Half Marathon, a trail half Strozyk was instrumental in creating which raises money for Annadel State Park.
“Our minds were changed after the first run,” said Anna. “[Coach] had been super nice and welcoming from the start and the group was the same way. They welcomed us and treated us like friends immediately.”
The Myers came back to the trail group four more times, and also participated in Fleet Feet summer trail groups, several Galloway training groups and a CIM Marathon training group.
“We were the last ones in a lot of those early runs, but Coach Marc and other runners were always waiting at the finish to cheer for us and encourage us,” said Anna. “We were hooked.”
They are now the leaders and coaches of the Sonoma County Galloway chapter, and currently coach a Galloway training group with over 90 runners.
“The greatest challenge we faced in the groups is our own intimidation – fearing we didn’t belong at times because we ran with such fast and elite runners,” said Anna. “Many of them have now become good friends and we no longer struggle with that as they have always accepted and encouraged us every step of the way.”
Fleet Feet Sports would like to nominate Al & Anna Myers for their contributions to the Sonoma County running community.
“They are known as the Double AAs because they just keep going and going,” said Strozyk.
The Myers concurred.
"The absolute greatest accomplishment was the growth we have experienced as runners and as people. We have learned that we are capable of so much more that we ever imagined. We have never quit and just keep on going with the confidence that our coaches and our experience has given us," said Al & Anna. "Marc named us the Double A's (AAs) and we own it. We love Rhonda, the staff and the coaches at Fleet Feet—they have changed our lives. We have gained a wonderful family of friends through Fleet Feet and all the groups that they offer."