There was an article in the Austin Statesman last Friday that the long time running store, RunTex, was being closed by the landlord of the building for failure to pay rent for several months.
This was shocking news to the running community as RunTex, and its owner, Paul Carrozza, have been a leader and driving force in making running popular and strong in Texas.
In the very beginning Paul would help out with putting on Moe’s Better Half Marathon by arriving early, help put up the scaffolding for the finish line, allow early packet pick up in his store, and would meet with us several times before the race to guide us in making sure things went over well.
He promoted races all over central Texas and held some of the first training programs for runners. Runners from beginners to elite runners all benefited by participating in these programs.
He came down several times to give lectures to the San Marcos Runners Club on new products in the running world. This was mostly about shoes and what was new in development.
Paul even worked on developing a shoe that offered more spring and flexibility that he was testing out with runners in Austin.
If you had a question about running Paul was always around to provide an answer for you.
He expanded into the race timing part of races and had a separate race group that helped organizations have a successful run. Runners made regular visits to the store to pick up race flyers, buy shoes and look over the clothing lines for running.
The best part of buying shoes at RunTex was the fact that all of the employees were runners. They would analyze your running gait and recommend a certain brand of shoe that would help make running an injury-free event. Most of the time they would have you run a few blocks on a treadmill, or around the store on some occasions, to see if the shoe met all of your expectations.
Eventually, Paul realized he had his hands in too many projects and dropped the timing part and let RunFar take over that part of running. Rogue Racing took over much of the finish line duties and some of the training programs.
Paul was also active in the Texas Governors Fitness program for promoting youth fitness and running. When Geoerge W. Bush was president, Paul was also on the President’s Council for Fitness on a nationwide level.
As many projects as he had, he still found time to meet with you and encourage you to keep running and stay in shape.
Paul mentioned in the Statesman article that he had tried an expansion program that did not turn out like he had hoped and that it was one of the main reasons for the stores budget problems. It will be a real loss to the running community to see the RunTex store on Riverside close.
Other stores have appeared on the running scene and will still provide runners with expert advice in selecting shoes, but RunTex was the primary source of promotion of running and fitness in central Texas from the beginning.
Carrozza still has a store in West Austin that will continue to operate. Paul said he is not giving up and will work with investors to once again reopen a store in Central Austin for runners. Knowing the drive and enthusiasm Paul has demonstrated in the past in promoting running I am sure he will succeed in this venture.
Paul Carrozza was instrumental in helping me, and the San Marcos Runners Club, be successful in promoting and helping local organizations with runs for raising funds. While our San Marcos Runners Club has developed into one of the best groups in the area for assisting with road races, much of what we initially learned came out of RunTex.
Dr. Maurice Johnson is a former instructor at Texas State University’s Department of Sports and Exercise Science. His column appears every Sunday in the Daily Record.