Read about Fast Break’s notoriety in the Chattanooga community!

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January 27, 2012

Store manager extraordinaire Joey Howe was featured on “3 Plus You” with Jed Mescon this morning! Joey highlighted some of our new products and spoke with Jed about the importance of proper footwear, hydration, and apparel selection! Here are a couple screenshots, but view the full interview below!


by Ansley Haman, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Published October 17, 2011   LINK OUT

The eastern horizon barely glowed orange shortly after 7 a.m. Sunday as more than 1,000 runners hit Market Street to cross the John Ross Bridge — the first of six Tennessee River crossings on the inaugural 7 Bridges Marathon.

“We’re just a bridge-happy city,” Race President Denny Marshall joked Friday. “The running community wanted it, so we’re doing it.”

The sold-out race, the first of its kind in downtown Chattanooga, drew runners from at least 34 states and as far away as Canada and Europe. Some ran to tour the city, some wanted to prove to themselves they could finish, and others ran to win.

Marshall, who’s been working for more than a year on plans for the event, said a downtown marathon complements what the city offers adventure enthusiasts. Chattanooga, which was voted by Outdoor Magazine as the 2011 “Best Town Ever,” needed a big race to showcase its features, Marshall said.

Race officials capped the field at 300 for the marathon, which stretches 26.2 miles; and 800 for the half marathon, or 13.1 miles. Both races were full by race day.

In addition, more than 420 runners entered the 5k, said Jay Nevans of EdgeReg, which specializes in event registration.

About 30 percent of Sunday’s registered runners were from out of town, Marshall said.

Anthony Forster drove down from Rogersville, Tenn., with his wife, who also runs.

“We wanted to get started with this race,” he said.

The couple plans to come down and run the race every year, he added.

Todd Hartung, a runner from Davidson, N.C., wants to run marathons in all 50 states. He added Tennessee as his 29th on Sunday. He hoped to finish in 3 hours, 20 minutes, he said as he readied his watch for the 7 a.m. start.

Another competitor, Matt Burnstein, of Nashville, added the half marathon to his family’s weekend in Chattanooga. Burnstein’s also gunning for races in all 50 states and said he has already completed events in 22 states.

A recent transplant to Signal Mountain, Debbie Rich signed up for the half marathon after being recruited by a friend.

“I’ve really, really enjoyed the training,” Rich said as she approached the Olgiati Bridge.

She and her husband recently moved to Chattanooga with their two teenage children. They’ve settled here after decades of living in places such as Belgium, South Africa and Nigeria. And they love the numerous outdoor activity choices, she said.

Her 15-year-old daughter came out Sunday morning to watch the race and cheer on her mom. As Rich crossed the Walnut Street Bridge on her approach to the Coolidge Park finish line, her daughter ran out to meet her, joining her for the final leg.

Local favorite Alan Outlaw, who’s 33, was the first male marathoner to finish at 2 hours, 45 minutes. Outlaw, who runs on the FAST BREAK ATHLETICS team, marked the race as his first marathon win.

Leslie Becht finished first in the women’s marathon but her exact time was not available.

The toughest parts were the uphill entrances to the bridges, Outlaw said.

“I think this has the possibility to be a great destination marathon,” he said.

After his finish, his young son sprinted across Coolidge Park to congratulate him. He gave his race medal to the boy.


By Ron Bush, Chattanooga Times Free Press

Published October 14, 2011   LINK OUT

Hugh Enicks has won the historic Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon in November three times and finished second there another time.

The Signal Mountain resident and Red Bank High School coach is looking forward to completing the first marathon in Chattanooga this Sunday morning.

The inaugural 7 Bridges Marathon will begin at Renaissance Park and end at adjacent Coolidge Park after the runners cross the Tennessee River six times and South Chickamauga Creek on a Tennessee Riverpark bridge. The accompanying half marathon will use the Market Street, Olgiati, Walnut Street and Veterans bridges; the 26.2-miler will add the C.B. Robinson and Thrasher spans.

“Going across all the bridges, including across the dam — you get to see all of Chattanooga. I think it’s going to be a novel marathon,” said Enicks, who will run the half marathon in the battlefield next month. “It think it’s pretty neat.”

Denny Marshall, who is directing the 7 Bridges races with Scenic City Multisport partner Ken Radley, said Thursday night that the marathon is full at 300 runners but the half marathon is about 25 short of its 800 limit. There also are about 65 spots left in the 5-kilometer race.

Online registration is closed, but runners can sign up for the two shorter races today and Saturday at the Outdoor Chattanooga center in Coolidge Park.

The weather report is excellent, with a low of 45 and a high of 76 predicted for Sunday and “zero percent chance of rain,” Marshall said.

“It’s gone extremely smoothly,” he said. “We’ve been real happy with the way everything’s going. We’ve had a lot of support from the Chattanooga Triathlon Club, the Chattanooga Track Club and the Greater Chattanooga Sports and Events Committee.”

The marathon has entrants from 35 states plus Canada and Europe, he noted.

“We hope to grow it year by year by year,” Marshall added. “We hope to double or triple the numbers next year.”

Enicks, a retired Army lieutenant colonel, is 52 but showing few signs of slowing, although he did cite a younger Fast Break Athletics teammate, Alan Outlaw, as more of a local favorite for Sunday’s inaugural marathon.


By Joan Garrett, Get Out Chattanooga

Published September 28, 2011    LINK OUT

When the herd of hundreds pour over the start line at the Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon this November, novice runners will be tempted to break the pack.

That is a mistake, says Jack Findley, a FAST BREAK ATHLETICS team racer who has run four marathons and been training seven days a week for the battlefield race since early June.

“Marathons are a 20-mile warm-up with a 10K race,” says Findley, 25. “You want to go from mellow to fury.”

He’ll have a hard time keeping his own advice, he says. The adrenaline and the roaring crowds can wreck plans for speed control. But pacing is important if you want to make it through the sweaty and painful 26th mile. He’s training to zip through in 2 hours, 45 minutes by running a pace of 6 minutes, 15 seconds a mile.

The Battlefield Marathon, in its 32nd year at the Chickaumauga and Chattanooga National Military Park in North Georgia, is one of the area’s most popular races, attracting people from all over the world at all skill levels.

Last year, Runner’s World magazine called the race “the most family-friendly” marathon in the country. It’s also been runner-up for “most scenic” and a must-do “run through history.”

Want to meet runners that can help you get lean and mean?

Chattanooga Track Club members hold eight runs throughout the week, open to anyone. Get involved by checking


Posted August 17, 2011 LINK OUT

Scenic City Multisport and Outdoor Chattanooga will host the inaugural 7 Bridges Marathon on Sunday, Oct. 16, beginning and ending at Coolidge Park.

The full-length 26.2 mile marathon will take runners across Chattanooga’s iconic bridges for a total of six river crossings and one creek crossing. The race will also include a Half Marathon, 5k and 1k Family fun run. Registration is now open for competitors.

“Chattanooga’s running community has strived to have a marathon in the city for years,” said event organizer Ken Radley. “We have listened and are responding to this desire.”

The unique 7 Bridges Marathon course will take runners across the Tennessee River via the Market Street, Ogiati (Hwy 27), Walnut Street, Veterans, C.B. Robinson (Dupont Pkwy.), and Chickamauga Dam bridges, as well as the South Chickamauga Creek bridge on the Tennessee Riverpark.

Competitors will see the best of downtown Chattanooga as they run by the Tennessee Aquarium, AT&T Field and the Creative Discovery Museum. After crossing Chickamauga Dam, runners will then enjoy the Tennessee Riverpark through the Bluff View Art District and over the historic Walnut St. Bridge to finish in front of the carousel in Coolidge Park.

“The unique layout of the Tennessee Valley around Chattanooga allows us to show competitors the best of Chattanooga while providing a picturesque scene for runners to enjoy,” said Mr. Radley.

Competitors and spectators will enjoy a runners’ expo at Outdoor Chattanooga, live music, special giveaways and a post-event party for volunteers. Random drawings for special prizes will be provided by sponsors.

The Chattanooga 7 Bridges Marathon is sponsored by FAST BREAK ATHLETICS, Two Men and a Truck, The Ford Center, Chattanooga CVB, and McKee Foods.

Interested competitors and volunteers can learn more by calling 423 400-6897.


by John Hunt,

posted May 30, 2011 LINK OUT

Alan Outlaw was the first to admit that his training this year isn’t what it was a year ago.

He took that into consideration when thinking about this year’s version of the Chattanooga Chase, the oldest and most challenging course on the Chattanooga Track Club schedule.

So much for his pre-race thoughts.

He finished third a year ago in 27:08. His goal on Monday was “about 45 seconds slower.” Once the 8K race got underway on a muggy Memorial Day morning, all of those “plans” went by the wayside as he finished in first place with a time of 27 minutes flat.

Dean Thompson was the runner-up in 27:19 while Jason McKinney was third in 28:14.

Hugh Enicks finished fourth overall in 28:19 and was the Male Masters winner while Jimmy Swansbrough completed the top five with a time of 29:26, which calculates to a 5:56 per mile pace.

Petite Sarah Woerner won the Raccoon Mountain Trail Marathon in 3:13 on May 21 and she did an 80-mile bike ride this past Saturday.

She must have plenty of energy to burn as she captured the overall title among the ladies with a time of 31 minutes, 39 seconds, which is a blistering 6:22 pace on a hilly course.

While Woerner was 12th overall, Atlanta’s Mary-Gay Li was the runner-up among the women with a time of 33:11, which was 19th overall.

Chattanooga’s Elizabeth Dull was third in 33:23, which was 21st overall.

The Chattanooga Chase is an 8K footrace (just short of five miles) that starts and finishes at Riverview Park. It includes a scenic route with several challenging hills in the first three miles, including the infamous Minnekahda, which isn’t the steepest, but it’s the longest and it’s the last of the big ones. Once the runners crest the hill at the top, it’s a downhill sprint for the next mile. There’s a deceiving little uphill segment right before the runners pass the Chattanooga Golf and Country Club on the return trip while the rest of the way is mostly downhill and flat.

Outlaw took off from the start and never looked back.

Thompson ran with him for the first two miles, but knowing that Thompson’s strength comes on the downhill portions, Outlaw put the hammer down before reaching the summit and Thompson never caught him.

“We were doing a lot more mileage this time last year, so my goal was about 45 seconds slower,” the 33-year-old Outlaw said of his winning effort. “I was around a 5:30 pace for the first two miles before running a six-minute mile in the third. Dean caught me going up Minnekahda, but I threw in a surge before we reached the top.

“Once I got the lead, I just wanted to hang on. I never turned around to look, but when we were coming around that long curve on Riverview Road, I could see him out of the corner of my eye. I’m very grateful to win today’s race,” the FAST BREAK ATHLETICS salesman added while wiping sweat from his brow.

Thompson is a 45-year-old manager at Shaw Industries in Dalton. His goal was to be under 27:30 and he made it with 11 seconds to spare.

“It was a good one,” he assessed the race when it was over. “That third mile was awfully tough. Alan and I were together for most of the first two miles, but he pulled away in the third and I never could close the gap. This was my first time on this course and it was kind of fun.

“I liked those last two miles with all of the downhill. If I had known that Alan was thinking about where I was, maybe I should have put forth a little more effort to catch him,” Thompson smiled.

McKinney is the 34-year-old assistant principal at Signal Mountain High School. There are plenty of hills for him to train on near the new school, but there’s nothing quite like the series of hills at the Chattanooga Chase.

“I’m just trying to get used to the heat. This is my second time here and it’s a frustrating race because it’s impossible to get into a rhythm. My goal was to hang on as long as I could. Going up Minnekahda is where I lost contact,” McKinney added.

Woerner is a 21-year-old graduate student at UTC who’s majoring in exercise science. She normally does more ultramarathons on trails, but she thoroughly enjoyed her first experience with Chattanooga’s oldest race.

“All of the hills take a toll on you, but Minnekahda is the longest and steepest hill of any road race in this area. My goal was to make it to the top and hold on. It was a great course and a nice atmosphere with all of the neighbors out along the way. The hills worked to my advantage, but I really enjoyed the run today and I’ll definitely come back next year,” Woerner said.

There were 222 finishers in Monday’s race.

Patrick Hall was the defending champion with a time of 26:30. He was present for Monday’s race, but he did not participate.


by Ron Bush, Chattanooga Times-Free Press

May 22, 2011 LINK OUT

A trail marathon was run Saturday on Raccoon Mountain, and it’s part of a series that includes ultra-marathons on nearby mountains in the fall. And there’s the long-popular Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon just across the state line.

But a longtime dream of many in the area running community will happen on Oct. 16 — a 26.2-mile race in downtown Chattanooga.

It’s the Seven Bridges Marathon, sending runners across the Tennessee River six times, ending at the carousel at Coolidge Park. It is being organized by Scenic City Multisport.

“Approval took about six months,” SCM president Denny Marshall explained. “It started with Philip Grymes at Outdoor Chattanooga, then soon moved to the Special Event Executive Committee, all of whom were extremely helpful in the planning of the event.”

That committee included representatives of the Chattanooga police and fire departments, Public Works and traffic engineering, along with the Convention and Visitors Bureau, Friends of the Festival and the Tennessee Department of Transportation, Marshall said.

The Chattanooga Track Club is not officially involved — with the battlefield marathon just four weekends later — but club members have been and will be part of the Seven Bridges organizing effort. Marshall himself is a first-year member of the track club’s board and its race committee.

“It has the blessing of the track club. It’s just not a track club event,” said Joey Howe, store manager for FAST BREAK ATHLETICS and a longtime runner and track club member whom Marshall credited with considerable help so far.

“This is extremely exciting for anyone who’s been running in Chattanooga for a long time,” Howe said. “We’ve been trying for probably 30 years to get a marathon in the city. Three or four of us at the store are going to run in it.”

Howe praised Marshall and Ken Radley, the Chattanooga Triathlon Club founder who is Marshall’s partner in Scenic City Multisport, for their marathon persistence.

“Ken and I had to go through a bunch of meetings, a bunch of revisions and a bunch of date changes,” Marshall acknowledged. “Everybody involved with the city, the county and TDOT had good input to make it work.”

They started with the idea of a December race and then tried for sometime in the spring before settling on mid-October. Both the Seven Bridges and Battlefield marathons will have half marathon options, if someone wants to use a 13.1-miler as a marathon tuneup or a follow-up, and Huntsville has a marathon four weeks after the battlefield race if anyone wants to run one in the region every autumn month.

The battlefield event has a 1,500-runner cap set by the National Park Service, and it likely will be filled by July. Marshall said the Seven Bridges races, which also will include a 5k and kiddie K, will have a cap of 2,500 this year, but Howe for one believes it could handle more.

The Market Street Bridge will be closed to traffic “for about 30 minutes” to get all the runners across at the start from the Coolidge-Renaissance area, Marshall said. The other river bridges will have traffic restricted but won’t be closed.

The order of bridges for the marathoners is Market Street, Olgiati, Veterans, C.B. Robinson, Thrasher, the creek bridge on the Tennessee Riverpark and Walnut Street. Half marathoners will cross four bridges; 5k runners will use two.


by Kathy Gilbert, Chatter Magazine

August 2010 Issue   LINK OUT

If there were a championship competition for “one-on-one customer service,” Fast Break Athletics would be a perennial contender, suggests Joey Howe, store manager.

“We provide a gait analysis to help customers find proper-fitting shoes,” he says. “Watching Chattanooga’s exercise community grow has been exciting.”

Besides running and walking shoes, the 33-year-old business owned by William Winchester and managed by Zach Winchester also offers apparel.

by Will Musto,
posted April 24, 2010   LINK OUT

Louisville, KY—Team FAST BREAK, Chattanooga’s semi-professional post-collegiate running team, once again traveled to a Louisville, Kentucky road race and had another good showing as Patrick Hall, Andrew Dorn, and Alan Outlaw all finished in the top twenty at Saturday’s Kentucky Derby Festival miniMarathon.

Once again, the 25-year old Hall, a Chattanooga Christian School and Covenant College graduate, led the team across the finish line with his fourth place finish. He clocked 1 hour, 13 minutes, 34 seconds for the half marathon distance (5:36 per mile pace), a personal best. He slowed slightly over the last four miles of the event, as his 15 km (9.3 miles) split was 51 minutes, 37 seconds—5:32 per mile pace.

“The humidity definitely sapped me the last several miles, but I had set a good enough pace early on that my overall time didn’t suffer very much,” Hall said of his excellent race.

Andrew Dorn, 23, and also a Chattanooga Christian School graduate, finished in 16th place with a 1 hour, 18 minutes, 5 seconds finishing time. Dorn hadn’t competed in a half marathon since 2008, when, as a junior at Bryan College, he finished in second place at the Scenic City Half Marathon in 1 hour, 15 minutes, 44 seconds. Despite his top finish, Dorn was disappointed in his Louisville race.

“The first seven miles went as planned, but once I hit Churchill Downs, the wheels just started coming off,” Dorn told afterwards. “I did all that I could to keep moving in the last five kilometers of the race.”

The 32-year old Alan Outlaw—a graduate of East Ridge High School and UT-Chattanooga—finished close behind Dorn. Outlaw crossed the line in 18th place in 1 hour, 18 minutes, 54 seconds, a personal best for him.

This trio of Team Fast Break runners now plan on entering a training period for the Chicago Marathon in October.

by Will Musto,
posted April 7, 2010   LINK OUT

FAST BREAK ATHLETICS, the iconic North Shore running store, recently announced the foundation of Team Fast Break, a semi-professional post-collegiate running team.

Some members of the team traveled to Louisville, Kentucky last weekend to race in the city’s Papa John’s 10 Miler, a race boasting nearly 7,000 participants in this year’s edition of the event. The Papa John’s 10 Miler is a well-respected race across the country, and from 2003-2006 hosted the USA Track and Field national championship race for the 10 mile distance.

Patrick Hall, a 2003 graduate of Chattanooga Christian School and a 2007 graduate of Covenant College, led the team through the so-called “Derby City,” crossing the finish line in 55 minutes, 4 seconds—a personal best for the 25 year old—good for a 7th place finish. Hall ran with a group for the first three miles, but then he broke away from them and ran mostly alone for the final seven miles of the race.

Andrew Dorn, who graduated from Chattanooga Christian School in 2004 and from Bryan College in 2009 also ran a personal best. Dorn was able to pass a few runners over the final 5km of the race and he finished in 11th place overall with a time of 56 minutes, 51 seconds.

The duo of Chattanooga Christian alumni were joined by 2001 UT-Chattanooga graduate Alan Outlaw, who had an excellent prep career at East Ridge High School (class of 1996) before putting his career on ice after graduation. He only resumed his running career a year ago and has made great strides ever since. He finished in 26th place with a 58 minute, 28 second clocking; an enormous personal best for the 32 year old.

Team Fast Break will be represented in Louisville again by the trio on April 24 in the Kentucky Derby Half Marathon.

by Tamara Best, Chattanooga Times-Free Press
February 25, 2010   LINK OUT

Winter and an economic downturn may not be the best equation for success for companies specializing in outdoor recreation. Yet, both in their own way have helped some see an increase in sales.

“Outdoor recreation in Chattanooga is doing well, despite everything with a recession,” Chattanooga Adventure Guide owner Chuck Lee said in comparison to other Southern communities. “The industry has been holding up, and to not have it go backwards is a good thing.”

Local retail businesses have done particularly well in the current environment, they say.

Staffers at Rock/Creek Down Under said the high water table in the creeks this winter has helped boost sales of base layers, worn under a fleece to retain warmth.

“This is the third year in a row that we’ve seen closer to average rainfall,” said Curt Lamberth, manager at Rock/Creek Down Under.

He said said more rainfall has led to a bump in sales and “drums up” a lot of business for flatwater kayaking as many people come in the day before it rains to grab gear.

At FAST BREAK ATHLETICS, which specializes in running gear, the slump in the economy has proven to be beneficial in some ways.

Andrew Dorn, senior sales associate at Fast Break, said he’s seen customers cancel their health or gym memberships as they take a path to a new pursuit. Customers are opting to invest in shoes and hit outdoor trails instead of hitting the treadmill.

He said that for some customers the price of a shoe, on average between $90-$140, is often the cost of membership for a month.

And that change is creating an increase in demand that in some cases is outweighing supply.

“Some of the more popular styles we had in years past, we can’t even get until May, which is a bummer but it’s a testament to how well the industry is doing,” he said.

Ryan Johnson, manager at Hibbett Sports, said that running shoes and free weights are selling particularly well.

While some companies are seeing an increase in sales, some welcome a lull in business and have opted to close for the season.

“That’s how a lot of people like it. They work eight months out of the year and are off for four,” Mr. Lee said, adding that many who close during the winter use the time to catch up on administrative work.

Regardless of the economy or weather and even with a drop in outdoor recreation, business and recreation never completely cease during the winter, others suggest.

“Just like people need food, water, oxygen to live, a lot of outdoor enthusiasts rank it up there with vital things they need to survive,” Mr. Lee said.

by Kathy Gilbert, Chattanooga Times-Free Press
July 5, 2006   LINK OUT

“I tell people to get outside 15 to 30 minutes at least, every day,” says Randy Webb, owner of Futur/Fit in Brainerd.

“Get exposed to the temperatures, get used to the sun.”

Water, not surprisingly, solves many a heat-related problem.

Drink plenty of water during your summer workouts, Mr. Webb said. Seek shaded routes, added Chad Varga, a member of the Chattanooga Track Club and owner of Front Runner in Hixson.

Try the Riverwalk, which is conveniently dotted with water fountains, for summer running and walking.

“I hydrate really well before and after I run,” said Joy Longley, a 44-year-old pharmacist from Tunnel Hill, Ga. “And one of the advantages of the Riverwalk is there is water about every mile.”

Cross-train by swimming or paddling the Tennessee River Blueway, says Philip Pugliese, bicycle coordinator for the city’s Outdoor Chattanooga division. (The blueway is a water route from Chickamauga Dam in Hixson to the Shellmound Recreation Area and Nickajack Dam in Marion County.)

Another solution to beating the summer heat is exercising in the morning, says Joey Howe, another longtime member of the Chattanooga Track Club and manager of FAST BREAK in North Chattanooga.

Shaded routes, such as the National Park Service trails on Lookout Mountain, are also abundant in the region.

“If the excuse that it’s too hot keeps you from running,” Mr. Howe says, “you probably don’t want to run in the first place.”

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