After being in the East Bay for a little over a month this summer, I thought this would be a great opportunity to reflect and share some of my experiences with friends and family back in Wisconsin.
To catch you up to speed, I have been an employee at my family’s local running store, the Berkeley Running Company for over six years now. When our first location in Madison, Wisconsin opened in 2007, my brothers and I felt as if we gained a little sister. Since I was only eleven years old during the Grand Opening, I was unaware of how influential Berkeley would be on my family and me.
While beginning to work one-on-one with customers, I slowly gained knowledge and a passion for running. Since the early age of twelve, I have always been fascinated with a customer’s journey towards finding their desire for running. Every runner has a unique story with why they began running, which has helped me become appreciative of how welcoming the running community is.
My path to running began at Middleton High School, where I competed in Cross Country and Track. In the Fall of 2013, I began studying Marketing at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. While competing on the Cross Country and Track teams, I have been able to grow as an individual and build everlasting friendships with my teammates.
Earlier this year in January, my family announced the opening of our second store in Berkeley, California. In March, my dad approached me with a unique opportunity to become his East Bay store associate and becoming the first Digital Marketing Intern. Through this internship, I have been able to develop and strengthen my digital marketing skills through multiple facets with the end goal of helping customers towards their fitness goals.
On May 25th, I flew out to California to begin my three-month internship. Initially, I felt hesitant to spend my precious summer months in a new state, with no friends, and little knowledge of the area. But as I walked off the airplane, the Bay welcomed me with open arms.
Finding the time to travel and explore the area when working 40-hours a week and training for my senior cross country season has been a challenge. Although I lose precious hours of sleep, I have mustered together effort to try many of the local restaurants and sightsee the popular tourist destinations.
So far in the month of June, I have been able to explore: the San Francisco beaches, the Golden Gate Bridge, Fisherman’s Wharf, Tilden Regional Park, the Painted Ladies, Grizzly Peak, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt, AT&T Park, Chinatown, Ghirardelli Square, Crissy Field, and so much more!
In terms of food, Cheeseboard Pizza, Crepevine, and Gregoire’s in Berkeley has taken the title of my go-to places. After eating Cheeseboard’s pizza, I’m unsure how I will be able to get my pizza fix back in Wisconsin.
As each day goes by faster than the one before, I enjoy reflecting on my time here in this beautiful community. Every day, I am surprised with how running can take you to such unique places, meet new people, and learn more about yourself. I look forward to spending the next two months climbing the monstrous hills, enjoying the fresh local cuisine, and exploring more of the East Bay.
Every runner has a unique story, and that is only a small fraction of mine! Feel free to stop by our location on Shattuck Avenue here in North Berkeley, or email me at Alec@Berkeleyrunningcompany to share your story or for any questions!