Top Service in Leicester
Leicester’s running community is well-served by Rob Pullen and the team at Leicester Running Shop. Rob tells us how his own experience means he’s well-placed to offer customers advice and guidance ...
LEICESTER RUNNING Shop is located in a pleasant neighbourhood close to the city’s university. And in the Running Shop, you’ll find a pleasant gentleman called Rob Pullen, who has been looking after the requirements of local runners for over seven years.
Rob came into the retail business bringing with him a decade or more’s experience as a club runner with Birstall RC, Owls AC and, currently, Wigston Phoenix. Rob said “I was quite immersed in the local scene so knew what runners were looking for. I’ve tried to maintain that customer-perspective at Leicester Running Shop.”
Rob explained his philosophy: “Despite the recent economic downturn, we’re fortunate that running as a hobby has continued to expand. I think Mo Farah and the Olympics helped and the growing interest in general health and fitness has brought more women to running. When I started we were about 2:1 male to female customers, now that’s more like 50-50. Initiatives like ‘Couch 2 5K’ have made a difference.
“It is always a challenge when you are dealing with people who are new to the sport - you want to make sure you are giving them the best advice and offering the product choices that will work for them. So it’s encouraging when people come back and tell us that they’ve made great progress in the Saucony Omni or the Brooks Ghost.
“And it’s shoes that are at the heart of our service. We provide full gait analysis from trained staff backed up by ‘easy to understand’ advice about the shoe options that will work for you.”
I noticed a good range of models from Asics, Mizuno, Nike, Adidas and New Balance as well as Brooks and Saucony who feature prominently. Rob also stocks a number of trail shoes - Salomon are well-represented - and he confirmed that off-road running was popular locally:
“There is an extensive network of footpaths around the city and they are a real magnet for runners. Bradgate Park is right on our doorstep and has over 800 acres. You’ll find a big proportion of Leicester’s runners there on a Saturday or Sunday morning. To enhance our shoe service we can fit Superfeet insoles and we also have a good selection of socks including 1,000Mile and Feetures.”
Clothing is well-catered for too - we spotted the latest offerings from Nike, Adidas, Brooks and Saucony - plus compression clothing from 2xU and sports bras from Sportsjock. A good selection of energy products is available - SIS and High5 included.
We asked Rob Pullen what products he would be recommending in the coming weeks: “I’m struck by the new Tom Tom GPS watches - the Runner Cardio in particular with built-in heart rate monitor already has a big following. I expect these to fly off the shelves.”
We asked about the local running scene: “Flourishing! A number of active clubs, great races and exciting competitions like the Leicestershire Road Running League. The league races attract great fields - everything from top club runners to first-timers. Gemma Steel was the female champion a few year’s back so that’s an example of the quality involved.”
We left Rob discussing spring marathons with a customer - good races, the right shoes for training, interesting long run routes, energy plans. Just one more local runner benefitting from the experience and expertise of our friendly Leicester retailer.
146a Clarendon Pk Rd, Leicester LE2 3AE
This article was featured in Midlands Running Guide Winter 2014/2015