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About Our Sponsored Trail Runners
The Sole Source has been sponsoring trail runners since 2005. We want to help defray the expenses that our runners face in the pursuit of their ultra-racing careers, help them get exposure to and support from the local community, and we love to get their feedback on the trail running shoes that we sell. We are very proud of the runners that we are involved with and whether they come in first or last in a race, we feel that they are all winners as human beings. And one thing they all have in common - they LOVE to run!

Meet the Runners
[David Frazier] [Mike Frazier] [Matthew Bigman]
David Frazier
In High School cross country, a 5k was an excellent way to lose my perfectly good lunch. There was something satisfying about covering the finish chute of a district meet with my PB&J, carrots and Gatorade. 3.1 miles was as far as I cared to race at the time, but a marathon was still on my pubescent bucket list. I saw 26.2 miles as the pinnacle of running and anything further would surely send one foot first into an early grave.

After high school, my running went from a daily regimen filled with thresholds, fartleks, and repeats each week to a leisurely "on my watch" schedule. It took me until the age of 21 to enter and run my first marathon. On my 21st birthday I ran the Richmond Marathon and it reawakened my competitive bone I grew throughout High School. I crossed the "pinnacle" of running off my list.

It wasn't until after I ran a marathon that I considered joining a few acquaintances for a "couple hour run" in the mountains. I had done my fair share of trail running and it appealed to me more than pounding the pavement like a metronome and huffing exhaust at every crosswalk or stoplight. Nonetheless, I saw trail running as fun and good cross training, but it wasn't going to improve my half marathon or 5k time. On this particular run, I was awakened to a subculture of runners who weren't always out for blood; they were out for fun and were the epitome of tough.

I got sucked in. I was absorbed completely in reading about the races they were talking about. I found myself downloading maps off of USGS websites and planning my own runs. I was out in the woods alone getting lost, twisting ankles, running out of water, coming home bruised and sometimes bloody, but loving every minute of it. It was the natural progression to see how I would do in a 50k. It was only another 6 or 7 miles longer than a marathon. I could enjoy the training, have fun and exercise that competitive bone all at once.

While running I step into a realm where I am stripped down to necessity, while physically exhausting myself beyond what I thought was possible. To me, running is the most primal activity we can take part in. We come naturally equipped to run, all you need is a pair of shoes (which are questionable-see The Sole Source's Vibram FiveFingers) and depending on where you are running-some shorts. I will continue to push myself physically and mentally as long as my knees will allow it, all for the love and satisfaction of running.

There are many people in the area I am indebted to for getting me involved in running ultra distances, Dennis Herr, Marlin Yoder, Vince Bowman, Jack Broaddus, the almighty Bill Gentry, and of course my own brother Mike Frazier. I have learned so much from all of these people and they have every ounce of my respect. Above all, I have to thank the Sole Source for helping me out any chance they get. Without them, I would be financially broke and physically broke down. They do so much for the community and deserve the support in return.

Mike Frazier
I can remember being in a huddle during football practice at Harrisonburg High school and seeing the cross-country runners come trotting by. Here I was surrounded by hulking behemoths throwing our bodies through the air into each other, while the runners would spend countless hours...running...in circles. What are they running from? Where are they running to? I admired the work ethic that accompanied their training. Fast forward a year later to my freshman year at West Virginia University when no more did the expectation of getting bigger, stronger, and faster exist because my football career was over, a void left in its place.

So there I was putting on my most comfortable pair of shoes and sweatpants that in my mind looked like what a runner would wear about to head out to run in circles like those same runners from high-school. My initial thoughts or doubts rather, were what in the world is a bulky, 19 year old, ex right-guard doing running out in the cold West Virginia night? Soon after my first mile my thoughts turned into simply nothing. The cadences of my footsteps pounding the hard, unforgiving pavement were all that I heard and my worries disappeared. This running thing, as I discovered, became so relaxing and something I would look forward to after class where I could lose myself and focus not on the upcoming test or personal matters but the next footstep, the next hill, the next breath.

After countless laps around Morgantown I decided that as much as I was enjoying myself I could combine my passion for being in the woods and make a good thing better. My first trail run in the mountains of West Virginia could not have been harder yet so rewarding, a reoccurring theme that has stuck with me to this day. The harder and longer I pushed, despite being physically depleted, the better I felt. I would come to love the feeling of my legs and lungs burning and having a greater connection with the physiological workings of my body, a sense of being alive if you will.

I entered in my first half-marathon that seemed an impossible task yet I had to see what I was made of. 13.1 miles later I staggered across the finish line in Charlottesville a wreck but with a new accomplishment. Soon after I was searching for the next goal to strive towards and knew I would have to employ a new strategy to take my training to a new level. I called one of my best friends and accomplished runner. My older brother Dave had lots of experience with training and was/is an essential key in helping me surpass mental and physical barriers. Dave and I would set out on runs, gallivanting in the woods like when we were kids. Run after run he would bury me in the ground as he effortlessly bounded up hills and over rocks leaving me sucking wind and tasting his dust.

A year after my first half marathon experience I would return to Charlottesville for the full 26.2 mile marathon. I finished a half hour before my goal and although I got smoked by dozens of amazing runners I took pride in the fact that I beat no one but my self-expectations. Maybe the Endorphins were still coursing through my body, but shortly after I signed up for my first ultra-marathon, Highland Sky. Once I realized that I had 40 grueling mountain miles waiting for me at the starting line in a few months my stomach reeled. The same doubts that existed early in my running career had jogged back into my mind and I knew the only way to conquer them were to run them into the ground.

I toed the line with countless other runners at 4 in the morning nervously awaiting the starting gun surrounded by good company. These runners consciously knew they would be on their feet for the next 8 hours running up and over mountains, through rivers, and inclement weather only to be rewarded with the feeling of finishing what you had worked so hard for. 8 hours and 52 seconds later I had finished. Disregarding the open wound on my leg, feet that resembled hamburger meat, and my digestive systems utter disdain at me for what I had put it through, one thing stood out in my mind. I will never forget the community of runners, volunteers, and race directors who embraced each other not as fellow competitors, but as friends who had competed against the course and won. Even the studs up front lacked egos found in mainstream sports, for they were subdued by the joy of seeing others finish. These same people would inspire me to later compete in races such as the Great Eastern Endurance Run 100k, Martha Moats Baker 50k, Mason-Dixon Madness 50k, and a Thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail this past summer.

My future goals that I want to accomplish in my ultra-running career include the 100 mile distance, a rim to rim to rim crossing of the Grand Canyon, as well as new PR's in shorter distances. I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to live in an area that has access to amazing trails to train on, a community of talented runners with miles of knowledge to help me out, and the crew at Sole Source who are truly doing a fantastic job of putting soul into the local trail running scene.

Live Big, Mike Frazier

Matthew Bigman
Physical activity has had a strong presence in my family ever since we were kids. Some of us played recreational soccer in the fall, and almost all of us swam for our community pool's swim team every summer. I always enjoyed the social aspect of being with friends just as much as the opportunity to test my physical and mental limits.

Since my only after school activity freshman year of high school was playing Halo 3 and eating double stuf oreos until 2 A.M., my friends were able to easily convince me to sign up for next season's cross country team. After running a couple miles around my neighborhood a few times a week, I ran my first ever 5k race to see if the running had helped. It was my first ever road race as well as my first ever dry heave.

Cross country training began sooner than I expected, and I finally felt like I wasn't wasting my life away playing video games and eating oreos without truly deserving them. Though I frequently considered quitting the team, I trudged through and made it to the end of my spring track season. Truly, the only part of running that kept me running was being with friends. At the end of the year, our coaches gave us a short talk to wrap up the season. My 73 year-old coach, who was retiring, told us a story that I will never forget. It was about an average runner who made the decision to train hard and become a top runner, which he did.

From that story, I learned that all it takes to improve yourself is the decision to take the necessary steps and do what it takes to better yourself everyday. So I informed my coach of my desire to run more, and he responded by adding five minutes to all of my runs as well as extra repetitions for workouts. That was the physical aspect though. I trained my mental game by reading running magazines, books, and articles as well as watching movies about running. Soon, I fell deeply in love with running. My next two years of running showed steady improvement. Though I received two Most Dedicated Runner awards and was captain of the team my senior year, I was never even in the top five on my team. It was my passion, not my talent, that described me as a runner.

After high school, I had no idea what do with my running as I wasn't running for a team anymore. When attending my orientation at JMU before school started, my sister suggested I go for a trail run with the Rocktown Ridge Runners based out of the Sole Source. I told my orientation advisors I was going for a run, and met up with the group at the sole source. That was the run that changed my life. I had never connected with nature and experienced the outdoors like I did on that run. To make it better, the people I ran with were the kindest people you'd ever meet. Then, the first time I met my friend Emma, we decided to run an ultramarathon - Holiday Lake 50k++. The training was tough, but doing with friends made it incredibly enjoyable. On the last 4 miles of my very first 50k when I was walking, cramping, and felt like I was about to die, I doubted myself, "Maybe you aren't fit to be a runner. Running isn't for everyone." Despite those doubts, I pushed forward and completed my very first ultra. Afterwards, I told myself I would never run something like that again. I couldn't even walk up the hill to my car! However, I have now found myself completing 4 more ultras and planning many more. The thing I look forward to the most isn't the finish line or the belt buckles I may acquire, but it is being able to run with and befriend so many inspiring, kind, and fun people.

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News & Events
The Sole Source will be open Sundays, Dec. 15th and 22nd from Noon - 5:00 PM for your Holiday Shopping convenience. FREE Gift Wrapping on Dec. 22nd!!!!

Trail Running Group!!!
The Sole Source sponsored runners David and Mike Frazier have started an informal group of trail runners called "The Rocktown Ridge Runners!" They meet in our store and car pool to different destinations. Keep an eye on our website for information on runs or contact us to be added to their e-mail list for run notifications. It is a fun group of people - come and join them!!

The latest (12/8):

We are calling off the run today due to the icy conditions. Although the trails will still be fun, the chance of an accident on the way is too high to risk.

I apologize for the delayed email, I was waiting to see what 'Ol Man Winter had up his sleeve. Enjoy your Sunday!