Chris Gunderson, or “Gundy,” as his friends call him, is a die-hard running shoe fanatic. He can tell you just about anything you want to know about running shoes, and has an encyclopedic historical knowledge of the various brands and how they have evolved. That makes him especially qualified to be a sales rep. for a running shoe company—in this case—Brooks, a position he’s had for more than 13 years.
A talented runner with lifetime PRs of 15:45 for the 5K and 32:45 for the 10K, Gunderson is an all-round athlete, having completed several Ironman triathlons. So a career in the sports field is certainly a great match for him.
“I worked my way through high school, college, and grad school in running stores, and learned a bunch there,” said Gunderson, who later went on to work for a number of years with Paul Carrozza at RunTex.
Along the way, Gunderson learned from those he worked with. He points out that that is how Carson Caprara, now the Sr. Director, Global Footwear Product Management at Brooks, got to be where he is.
Like Scott McPherson in an earlier Ready to Run blog, Gunderson has found that building a career around running is very rewarding.
“As a career choice, spreading the gospel of running, both though coaching, and being in the running industry, is pure joy,” he said. “Brooks’ motto is ‘RUN HAPPY!’ and they walk the walk/run the run.
“And actually getting paid to work with runners is the most rewarding career choice I could have ever been blessed with. The wonderful people I’ve met along the way, and the amazing friends I’ve made via running and fitness, and within this industry, well, again ‘blessed’ is the only word I can say qualifies.”
Behind the Scenes at a Running Shoe Company: The Brooks LAUNCH/re-Launch Story
Most runners get quite attached to their particular brand/model of running shoes. And when running shoe companies discontinue a shoe, well, sometimes that doesn’t go over too well. Such was the case with the beloved Brooks Launch, which was discontinued about seven years ago, but brought back by popular demand.
“I am proud that Brooks listens to our runners, and righted the ship in time, and saved Texas’s favorite shoe, the Brooks Launch, from near-extinction.,” said Gunderson, who once wrote on a Facebook page entitled: Ode to the Brooks Launch, “Put in 22 miles on the long run today on what may be my last pair of Brooks Launch. 228 miles left and then maybe this pair needs to be framed.”
“I was part of our ‘Texas Rep Mafia,’ that made an impassioned plea for the ‘re-LAUNCH,’ following Brooks headquarters very short-lived death announcement,” said Gunderson. “Launch 6 is now a million-seller, and again a truly beloved member of our Brooks footwear family!”
Upcoming Races: Saturday, August 3 at 8:00 a.m., the Dog Days 5K at Fischer Park, 1820 Old McQueeney Road in New Braunfels. Saturday, August 10, at 7:30 a.m., Michelle’s Hot Peeps Beat CC 5K at Murphy Park, 12th and Vance St. in Taylor