Category: article

First Marathon leads Rome’s Matt Davis down a positive road

ROME, Ga. – The look on his face and a pronounced fist pump spoke volumes when Matt Davis crossed the finish line in May.
And for good reasons.

After all, it was the first time in the 38-year-old’s life that he had run 26.2 miles – a marathon – when the local radio executive and personality competed in the 2017 Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. Even more, however, the accomplishment realized a life-changing goal Davis had set for himself.

“I was looking to do something positive,” said Davis. “I decided I wanted to be the best version of myself and I did enjoy running.
“My goal was to run a marathon by the time I was 40 so I decided to go for it.”

Lacing up a pair of shoes was nothing new to Davis, who had casually run on his own before and even took part in some 5-kilometer (3.1 miles) races several years ago. But when he set his marathon goal more than a year ago, when he was admitted at the hospital, Davis understood that a firmer commitment was needed.

“I did some on-line research about how to begin training and I knew that one of the first things I needed to do was to find the proper shoes,” Davis said, adding that he read an article on ShoeHero which was about the best comfortable shoes and with this he made his way to GoGo at The Shoe Box to begin the process. “They took a lot of time with me. They want to make sure you get the right fit.”

That visit led to a meeting with co-owner and running coach Jay Stephenson.

“Jay helped fit me for my first pair of running shoes,” said Davis. “From that first meeting, I started talking with him about running. I did a few 5Ks, began to run three to four times a week and eventually I started increasing the distance.

“I went from having no physical activity and a sedimentary lifestyle to an active healthy lifestyle,” he added, noting that he had dropped 20 pounds since starting. “When I run I listen to music, podcasts as even listen to people talking about running. But a lot of times I don’t listen to anything. I enjoy the tranquility.”

Davis eventually ran his first half-marathon in the spring of 2016, a race that led him to entering the marathon in Cincinnati and focus on training for the demands it takes.

“Jay really helped me with the nutrition side of it and how important that is,” said Davis. “He helped me develop a plan to train for the race and for the weeks leading up to it.

“Running is so mental. To be able to talk with somebody who knows about it and has the knowledge – Jay helped me so much through his support.”

“I helped Matt learn what to take and when to take it,” Stephenson said, “and he sent me updates of what he was doing regularly.”

The Flying Pig course – it started in downtown Cincinnati, went across the Ohio River and into Kentucky, into the city’s suburbs and eventually finished back downtown at the Great American Ball Park – proved to be a difficult one at the start. At the three-and-a-half mile mark, the runners immediately face a taxing 300-foot climb in a five-mile stretch.

“The first part of the race was really, really hard because it was uphill,” Davis said. “But after that it flattened out a little.”

“Running a marathon is hard,” said Stephenson. “But I thought he did an amazing job. There’s a lot more ahead of him.”

All told, Davis – he has already set his sights on his second marathon and will run in the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, Ala., in December – covered the Flying Pig distance in a little over five hours, a respectable time for marathoner newbies. Yet anyone who has run the race will agree; finishing it is an accomplishment in itself.

“I can’t begin to describe what it felt like to finish,” Davis said.




Olympic Marathoner Ryan Hall to Headline Rome All-Area Championship Banquet & Rome Half Marathon


Hall_Ryan1e-Boston11Ryan and his wife Sara Hall may be busy training for the 2016 Olympic Trials and learning the intricacies of parenting 4 newly adopted Ethiopian sisters, but that won’t stop him from coming to the Rome Half Marathon & encouraging local high schoolers. After speaking to event racers and high school cross country athletes at the GoGo Running All-Area Championship Banquet and Pre-Race dinner, Ryan will be the official starter to the Rome Half Marathon. He will also run on a three person Half Marathon relay team. Afterwards he will be present to hang out with and encourage finishers of the Half Marathon and Half Marathon Relay, and 5k.


Hall, finished off his high-school years as a cross country champion, state record holder & and with a best time of 4:02 in the mile. As a professional, he set the North American Record in the half marathon (59:43) and ran the fastest time ever for an American marathoner (2:04:58). Hall also started off his running career with a slow painful run in basketball shoes, which may make him a little easier for Rome’s developing runners to relate to.


Among those who will likely be asking Hall questions ahead of race day are Darlington’s Stephanie Ward, who won last week’s Rome Area Championship with a meet record of 19:27, and Calhoun’s David Murillo who won the boy’s race with a time of 17:47. GoGo Running is hosting the All-Area Championship Banquet on Friday December 4th at 6pm in an effort to honor and support those local athletes, coaches, parents, and friends. Members of the public are welcome to attend the banquet where this year’s most outstanding high school runners will be recognized.


On December 5th, Hall will serve as the official race starter for the Rome Half Marathon. In addition to giving recreational runner’s around the state an opportunity to create their own teams and compete, the race will raise money for each of the area’s high school running programs.


Registration and event information for the banquet and half marathon can be found at

# # #

Footwear Density and Shoe Shape

The popularity of traditional neutral lightweight running shoes is increasing as a result of the growing minimalist running movement. Other than for specific strength and form training many view barefoot running as a bit too extreme and use lightweight neutral shoes as an alternative – halfway to barefoot. The idea is that you get some cushioning but not too much, and by having it neutral you don’t support the foot with motion control features so you get some barefoot-style benefits too. The problem with this approach, however, is that for some people neutral cushioned shoes may not work as you would expect. More here


Contact Jay Stephenson Telephone 706-291-0752

Email Website



Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 7.35.42 AM








ROME, Ga. – For the past four years, Jay Stephenson and Powell Fulton has seen their love for fitting people in correct footwear take them down a path that has led them to becoming owners of what has become a successful business.

And it’s growing even more.

The two Romans, who founded GoGoRunning, have announced that they have taking an even bigger stride forward as they have moved to a new and bigger location and have grown into Rome Georgia’s Footwear store – GoGo at The Shoe Box.

“We have sold the tennis part of the business to the Rome Tennis Store at the Rome Tennis Center,” Stephenson said about the changes, one that includes the move from their previous location on East 2nd Avenue to the former home of Heaven’s Attic at 1018 Martha Berry Blvd., “and we are excited to point the tennis community to The Rome Tennis Store.

“The sale, however, of the tennis side of our business as allowed us to increase our inventory in shoes of all types,” he said. “We are excited to help people get in comfortable shoes for kids, work, casual and exercise needs.”

The move to the new location provides much more space for the business as it gone from a 1,800-square-foot location to one that has more than 4,000 square feet.

IMG_3944“The move was to accommodate a growing business that needed more space,” said Stephenson.

Now available: GoGo at The Shoe Box includes kids shoes, casual shoes, sandals, athletic shoes, work boots, work shoes and other varieties of footwear for adults and children. GoGo at The Shoe Box will continue to be a full services store that offers personal service for every customer, including free insert and shoe fitting.




GoGo at The Shoe Box is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.

“We want to be Rome’s footwear store,” Stephenson said. ###

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Jay Stephenson at 706-291-0752 or email at

Running Form Revisit

It is time for me to revisit my running form.  I try to do this during almost every run and sometimes I spend the whole run focusing on my for and doing mental checks of how I am feeling and moving.  If we played another sport like baseball or basketball we would constantly be working on our throwing form or shooting form, but in running we likely do a clinic once or twice without revisiting it often enough.

I read the below article on the week and it brought back a part of running form that I had let slip away among the talk of foot strike and cadence.  The arm position is the most influential and controllable component of running form.  The arms lead the legs, balance the body, and change the center of mass.

The change I am working on making is raising my arms a little and trying to run with my elbows.  This is a little difficult to explain in words.  I think what I am doing physically can be explained with these mental cues.

Try to run with you elbows moving as if you have trekking poles attached to them and you are pushing off the ground with them while you run.  This should move your arms forward and a little higher and in front of you body.  I don’t know if this will help you but it certainly has helped me focus on keeping my arms up a little and raising my center of gravity.


2015 Boston Marathon Running Form Analysis

What I saw in the 2015 Boston Marathon this week is what I learn over and over again in my practice and my own running: the farther up from the ground a part of your body is, the greater its effect on your running. So mostly this blog post will be about arms, chests and upper backs, shoulders, necks, and heads, because in a field of comparable runners this is a key area where races are won and lost.  Read more.

GoGo Running Team Wins Ragnar Trail Atlanta Relay!

I would like to congratulate the members of the GoGo Running team for winning the Ragnar Trail Atlanta Relay race! The 8 person, 120 mile relay took place at the Georgia International Horse Park between Friday, April 10 and Saturday, April 11 through thunderstorms, rain, and plenty of mud. After 16 hours and some change of running, it came down to a 2 man race between the final member of the GoGo team, Eric Giandelone, and the final member of another team. Eric brought the win to our Rome team, beating the other runner by less than 2 minutes! Members of the team include Charlie Baggett, Luis Goya, Kenny Porterfield, Jay Stephenson, Robert Bradham, Zach Harter, Brian Cross and Eric Giandelone. Well done guys!


Rome News Tribune Article

The Fargo Marathon is challenging Will Ferrell to sign up!

What’s the most interesting topic this week in running? Is it Mo Farah running under an hour and getting the European record in the half marathon? Is it the results of the Carlsbad 5,000? Maybe for some people, but for me, it’s this. The race directors are challenging Will Ferrell to run the Fargo Marathon.












Will Ferrell, for those who previously did not know (myself included), enjoys running and has completed a marathon. It was the Boston Marathon in 2003 where he ran 3:53.

Their tactic to get Ferrell to enter the race was to create a Twitter hashtag and make the Internet get behind them #FerrellRunFargo. The people of Fargo are getting behind the idea because, well, who wouldn’t? One runner in the race, although he couldn’t spell Will Ferrell’s name correctly, offered to give the actor a piggy back ride for the entire race!

The race is a little over a month away and the directors understand Ferrell may not be in marathon shape right now, but they hope he’ll come and run the 5k or just hang out. It’s a bold move. We’ll see if he shows up.



Let’s Run: Doping?

March 24, 2015

Sunday’s Sunday Times in the UK had two articles that detailed the extent that Nike Oregon Project coach Alberto Salazarand his team will go to to get their athletes an edge, focusing on the use of the legal supplement L-carnitine, including allegedly injecting assistant coach Steve Magness with L-carnitine and using him as a “guinea pig.” The articles, which are here and here, are behind a paywall (only cost £1 to read for the first month) but well worth the read. We summarize the key points and break them down below into good news and bad news for the Nike Oregon Project.

First, the facts alleged in the article.

  1. Alberto Salazar, in two shipments 14 months apart (January 2011 and March 2012), ordered 180 cartons at a cost of £3,600 ($5,380 at today’s exchange rate) of one of the best legal steroids named NutraMet Sport, a mixture of L-carnitine and carbohydrate, that “scientists found can boost performance by up to 11%.”
  2. Galen Rupp and Mo Farah admit to taking L-carnitine in the past but both said they stopped taking it, in Farah’s case because it wasn’t effective. Farah said, “I tried a legal energy drink containing L-carnitine but saw no benefit and actually gained weight so I stopped drinking it.”
  3. Studies show L-carnitine can be much more effective when injected than when taken orally. Orally, L-carnitine can improve performance in three to six months, but according to the Sunday Times it can improve performance in “as little as five hours when the substance is taken into the body via an intravenous drip.”



Cabada also headlines Rome All-Area Championship Banquet



More Details on the Rome 30k here
While en route to securing the highest American finish in the Chicago Marathon a few weeks ago, Dathan Ritzenhein placed himself 2nd on the list for best US 30k performances in 2013. After speaking to high school cross country athletes at the GoGo Running All-Area Championship Banquet, Fernando Cabada of Big Bear Lake, California will race the Rome 30k in an attempt to better Ritzenhein’s number two spot.

A one time American Record Holder in the 25 kilometer distance, Cabada boasts a 5k personal best of 13:34. In other words, he ran that race at a pace of four minutes, twenty two seconds per mile. For some perspective, Rome high school’s Jenna Tilton commanded most local races this fall and placed 28th at the Georgia state Cross Country Championship on November 9th with a time of 21:05 (6:47 pace and good enough to earn upcoming recognition on the All-Area 1st team). Avery Cypress of Darlington high school earned a spot on the men’s All-Area First Team with a strong season of many 5k performances in the 17 minute range. However, his current strong point may be the one mile distance in which he achieved a time of 4:34 last track season.

Cabada will address Tilton, Cypress, and other local high school runners on December 5th at 6pm at the All-Area Championship Banquet hosted by the GoGo Running Track Club and meant to honor and support local athletes, coaches, parents, and friends.

Two days after the banquet, Cabada will race other elite and local road runners in the River City Bank Rome 30k at Ridge Ferry Park. He hopes to take advantage of a flat course and average the pace of 4:50 minutes per mile with a final sprint needed to establish himself as number two in the US for the year. Perhaps a local high school athlete can take him through the first mile.

Registration and event information below:



Should You Crosstrain?

By Peter Pfitzinger |

As I rode the exercise bike in the lab this morning, it occurred to me that there are 3 good reasons to cross train: 1) you are injured and can’t run, so you need to do something to keep your sanity; 2) you want to improve your cardiovascular fitness without getting injured; or 3) you want to improve your running by doing other activities (such as weight lifting or yoga) that do not target your cardiovascular system.

The first 2 reasons to cross train involve maintaining or improving your cardiovascular fitness. Cycling, rowing, in-line skating, swimming, stair climbing, and deep water running fall in this category. The third reason covers all of the other activities you can do to enhance your running performance. Weight lifting, yoga, and stability ball sessions fall into this category. In this month’s column we will focus on cross-training to improve aerobic fitness, and next month we will look at other forms of cross training.

Studies have shown that predictable training errors such as increasing mileage or adding speedwork too quickly lead to the majority of running injuries. Just as the risk of coronary artery disease can be reduced through regular exercise, so can the risk of running injuries be reduced through modifying risk factors. One way to do this is to reduce pounding on the legs and back by substituting other forms of exercise for a portion of your running.

But, won’t your racing performances suffer if you replace some of your running with cross training? The Principle of Specificity of Training says that your body adapts very specifically to the type of training that you do. That is why you wouldn’t have much success as a runner by doing all your training on the bike or in the pool. But, what if the majority of your training is running, can you enhance your cardiovascular fitness by doing other types of aerobic workouts? Let’s see what the research says.

In a 1995 study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology, Carl Foster, Ph.D. and colleagues investigated the effects of increasing training volume via additional running versus as equal increment of cross training. Thirty reasonably well-trained runners were divided into 2 groups. One group (run + run) increased their running mileage by 10% while the other group (run + swim) added an equivalent amount of swimming to their training. After 8 weeks of increased training, the run + swim group improved their 2 mile race performance by 13 seconds whereas the run + run group improved their 2 mile time by 26 seconds. In addition, the 4 mmol lactate threshold improved in the run + run group but not in the run + swim group. The results of this study suggest that even reasonably well-trained runners can improve their running performance through cross-training, but that the improvement is likely to be less than through increased running.

Read more…