RIDGEWOOD, N.J. — Ask Aidan Walsh of Fort Lee what he’s doing in Bergen County and he’ll tell you he’s building an ecosystem for runners.
It’s not for elite runners like him.
The Dubliner won the Irish National 1,500-Meter Championship at age 15.
He finished second in the Irish Olympic Trials at age 24.
In 2008, a track scholarship brought him to Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck.
Three years later, he won the USA Track and Field Club National Championship with a time of 3:51.49.
The man can run.
But he coaches ordinary people.
One woman, he said, came to him able to run two miles. She ran the New York City Marathon.
His Racefaster running apparel stores – in Ridgewood, at the Garden State Plaza in Paramus and Sweat Glen Rock — and his programs for children at the Superdome in Waldwick are for ordinary people, too.
“If somebody says they want to get into running, they can come to us, buy their clothes, be coached by us, and run our races,” he added.
We offer everything they would need.
Walsh manufactures running-specific clothes with clothing designer Lindsay Finkel, his business partner and running client.
His competitors in the quality sports apparel market include Athleta and Lululemon, he said. But they produce yoga and dance clothes.
“With Racefaster every nuance – the style, the design, the placement of pockets and zippers and reflectivity – is optimized for runners,” he said.
It all started for Walsh, now 36, in Kilnamanagh, a neighborhood in South Dublin.
His father did triathlons, he said, and his brother cycled.
But that’s because the whole neighborhood is known for its athletic culture.
So Walsh understands the power of community firsthand.
That’s why he volunteers to direct Bergen races , including the Glen Rock 9/11 Tribute Run, Glen Rock Thanksgiving Day Run, and Glen Rock Jaycees Arboretum Run.
Now he’s working on permits to create a community-wide outdoor yoga event in Ridgewood in 2017 – an outgrowth of his Active Life Fusion yoga studio , which adjoins Racefaster in Ridgewood.
In fact, the Racefaster staff is a small running community in itself.
Most days of the week, they run together at 5:30 a.m. at the track at Benjamin Franklin Middle School in Ridgewood.
This winter, Walsh is offering a 10-week Racefaster Kids Indoor Track Program at the Superdome in Waldwick, starting Jan. 9. The kids will meet twice a week.
Walsh will train them for endurance, speed, and form.
“Some are trying to get better,” Walsh said. “Some are just trying to stay active during the winter months.”
That’s fine by him. That’s why he’s here.