Darien running store owner reflects on 40 years in business
Seasoned runners, recreational runners, brand new runners — Steve Norris has seen all kinds of people come into his Darien store over the past 40 years.
Norris is owner of Runner’s Roost, located in the Goodwives Shopping Center at 25 Old Kings Highway North.
The 1,700-square-foot store sells shoes and apparel, as well as accessories such as water bottles, spy belts, and watches; and hydration such as gummies, power gels and tablets.
Aside from being a business owner, Norris, 73, of Norwalk, has been coach of the Darien High School Girls’ Cross Country Team since 1968.
Coaching has “helped me maintain a good connection with the local running community,” said Norris, who ran at New Canaan High School and at DePauw University in Indiana — and still runs.
He remembers running the New York City Marathon the second year it was held, in 1972. “There were only 200 people in the race,” he said, adding his time was a 2:47.
Customers have changed a lot over the past four decades, he said.
“In the first two or three years that we opened, a higher percentage of customers were fairly accomplished racers,” Norris said.
By 1982, his customer base consisted of new runners.
“Through my coaching, I would get mothers who would have no familiarity with running because in their day, there was no women’s track team,” he said. “Some asked if it was going to be too much for their daughter, if running is unhealthy, and what do their daughter’s do at practice.”
Nowadays, he said, most parents have run before and already know the answer to those questions.
A myth Norris said many runners have is their perception that one always needs to be fully or overhydrated, even in the colder months.
This is not true, he said.
Instead, one’s need for water is based on the outside temperature.
“On a winter day, people need to drink only about 10- to 15% of what they would need on an 80-degree day,” he said. “This is because in winter time, you don’t sweat that much. Unless you’re going out for a very long run, drinking before your run is sufficient.”
For more information on Runner’s Roost, call 203-655-9937 or visit runnersroostct.com/.