It was a beautiful, breezy day for a run through Valparaiso University, perfect for the Grand Opening of the Extra Mile Fitness Company on Thursday August 30. Men, women and children of all ages and athletic backgrounds showed up to the opening, which included a sale, product demonstrations and Valpo Velvet Ice Cream after the Fun Run. Over 300 people showed up to try out new running shoes, buy nutritional supplements and become educated about living an active lifestyle safely and effectively.
Todd and Heather Henderlong, are both excited to have opened the Extra Mile Fitness Company. The store, which opened in mid-August, has been a longtime dream of theirs, Todd said.
“We originally started on the idea eight years ago. We did some preliminary things, but it wasn't the right time,” he said. “We just recently began reconsidering the idea last March. We reached the point where, if we were going to do it, now was the time.”
Extra Mile Fitness Company is an athletic specialty store designed to give the experience athlete, beginner or those just interested in being healthy, everything they need for running, swimming and biking. Both of the Henderlongs expressed a desire to educate people on healthy living.
“Our soul mission is to promote the sport of running. It's easy, relatively cheap and convenient. The roads never close. We have four part-time staff, and we'll be adding some more soon,” Heather Henderlong said. “We want to let people know about running activities and we want to organize running groups to help train people, have running groups for Moms, New Runners, et cetera.”
By looking at the store, you would think that the Henderlongs are extreme businesspeople, but that isn't the case. Todd Henderlong started the Valpo Half-Marathon and began the Opportunity Enterprises Running Team.
“I was a Board Member for Opportunity Enterprises. They work closely with us and we're seriously reconnecting with them through running. They're a great organization and we'd do anything to support them,” Todd added.
As the racers began running through the VU Campus, I wandered the various vender booths, watching people look at sunglasses, racing bikes and jerseys, all of which were in the store.
“It's amazing that we have over 300 people here supporting us and our vendors,” Heather added.
“Our main goal is to educate people. We want to help everyone, from an amateur to a triathlete, be educated on the proper ways to stretch, warm up, exercise and cool down. It's all about being healthy and doing it safely,” they both said.
You can keep up with the many activities supported and run by the Extra Mile Fitness Company on their Facebook page or visit them between 10am-7pm at 1330 Lincolnway, Valparaiso!