Extra Mile Fitness Celebrates its Youth

By: Caitlin Vanlaningham Last Updated: August 25, 2015

Youth is not wasted on the young. There are many young people who are doing amazing things that others may never do in their entire lifetime. Take these four students who work at Extra Mile Fitness, these are high school and college aged kids who could run circles around us older folks – in a very literal sense. Meet Alison, Danny, Jessica, and Devin; fours smart, fit, and fantastic young people who call Extra Mile Fitness their second home.

Danny Dalton - Danny has worked at Extra Mile for the last two years. Heather offered him the job and he thought it was a good idea so he could get into the working world. He's a VHS student who runs on the cross country and track teams, and he really enjoys the group runs that meet every week. Danny is, like the rest of the students mentioned here, an Expert Fitter, and he helps customers not only find shoes that fit them properly, he also provides advice, tips, and stories of his running experiences.

"Todd and Heather are nice people, very flexible and generous," Danny said. "I have a good job. I'm able to learn customer service skills and even more about running than I did before."

Jessica Campbell – A recent IU Bloomington graduate, Jessica contacted Heather Henderlong to see if she needed help at her store in Valpo. Within minutes she was hired. Jessica had worked previously at a running store in Bloomington, the Indiana and had the experience that Heather and her husband, Todd, look for. The biggest lesson that she has learned so far from working at Extra Mile is that in order to make a business run well the focus needs to be on the community. She states that sports are all about, bringing people together to enjoy an activity that promotes movement, health, and fun.

“I love working at the store! This is such a strong running community, so I know so many people and am meeting new runners all the time. I love being informed and educated on the latest style and technology of shoes. And personally, I love working with customers and helping them become runners or better runners. I am more of a trail runner so I love telling people which trail to do,” Jessica said. “Heather and Todd are just cool. They just get running and they understand everything about this sport and community. They work with so many people and organizations and businesses that they are able to sit down with anyone and understand that person. I mean, they go up to a customer and make it their number one goal to make that person happy and comfortable while in the store and out running.”

She continued, “Working with the EXMI team is great overall because we have people from all over the spectrum: we have triathletes, college athlete runners, marathoners, sprinters, me (an ultra-runner), and some who just like to run for fun. Where else can you get that many opinions in one place?”

Alison Mundell - A freshman at IUN, Alison will celebrate her two-year anniversary with Extra Mile this fall. She’s an avid runner, having run all though high school in track and cross country, and she loves to help people reach their goals.

“I really like working here because you get to know more people from the running community and help new people get involved with running. The fun runs are great and it’s like a little family at Extra Mile. Working for them is a lot of fun,” Alison said

Devin Clark – Devin has quite a story to tell. He took his love of running from high school to college, then decided that he wanted to go even further. He now runs ultra marathons and plans to work for a running company in a biomechanics lab. This past summer Devin got the chance of a lifetime and worked as an intern in the Performance and Innovation Lab at Saucony.

“Everything that I do at the Extra Mile is enjoyable. The relationship between the employees, as well as the rest of the running community, is great to be a part of. Having a conversation with a costumer and getting to understand their situation is always a learning experience in itself,” Devin said. “Todd and Heather are great mentors, and I have learned so much from them. This includes everything from opening and running a business, retail skills, and a vast variety of running information.”

Heather and Todd make it a practice to hire young people who have running experience and who just love the sport. They believe that mentoring these youths will help them gain valuable job skills that they can learn later on in their careers.

“Our goal and mantra is to help these kids reach their goals. For many it’s their first job and we teach them things and guide them,” Heather said. “When customers come in we often direct them to our younger staff members because they actually have a lot of experience, doing things we’ve never done. We know they aren’t going to be with us forever so we try to prepare them and then when they go off and do great things we can say, ‘we knew them when’.”