Lincoln Running Co. Invests in Community
“Objects in motion stay in motion.” This has become something like a mantra for running enthusiast Ann Ringlein. Even as the store manager of Lincoln Running Co. in downtown Lincoln, instructor of multiple running classes a week, a coach to many and a cheerleader for—let’s face it—everyone she meets, you’ll still find Ringlein lacing up her shoes and hitting the trails almost every morning (and usually a cycling or pilates class, too). Sitting still is just not something she’s built for.
“My mom would say that I started running the minute I was born,” Ringlein said. “I’ve always been very active, I was always moving.”
When she moved with her family to Lincoln in 1984, she instantly was embraced by the Lincoln running community. While getting her daughter a pair of shoes at The Athlete’s Foot at the mall, somebody from the Lincoln Track Club recognized her. She was introduced to owners Derald and Judy Rogers and their son, Dave, and was offered a job managing The Athlete’s Foot East Park location. Years later, the Rogers closed most of their Athlete’s Foot locations, opting to break away from the franchise to focus on their original location at 12th and Q, renaming it The Lincoln Running Co. The downtown fixture celebrates 44 years in 2020, and Ringlein will have been with the company 36 years.
“We have seen so much change at the store, it’s crazy,” Ringlein said. “It used to be we’d come in, we’d open the doors, and people bought shoes. They’d train, show up at a race, eat a banana, and head home. Now, we are always having social events for our customers. Today’s runner is more of a social one.”
A weekend in early February, Lincoln Running Co. hosted a short run in the morning at 7 a.m. to get people signed up for the Tabitha Miles for Meals Run in March. That evening, they had a movie watch party about trail running.
Besides hosting special events with the Lincoln Track Club, Ringlein and The Lincoln Running Co. work with the YMCA to put on an annual marathon training class that starts in January and runs until June. It meets twice a week for a group run and to listen to an informational speaker, and again on the weekends for a long run. When they get back, Ringlein treats them to coffee at MoJava.
“They sit around and talk for hours, ” she said. “It’s that camaraderie and bonding afterwards that really solidifies and hooks you in. Everybody coming in all happy. Healthy people are happy people, and it just makes for a better environment and city all the way around.”
Ringlein’s passion for running is obvious, but she admits that as she’s gotten older, she’s realized that just getting out and moving—in any way that works for you—is the most important thing.
“At first I thought I was going to get all of Lincoln running,” she said. “And now I’m like, I’m going to get all of Lincoln moving. That’s a big thing. I don’t care what it is you do. Just get moving and do something, just so we’re a healthy, healthy city. Look at all the miles of trails there are. There are nearly 200 miles of trails in and around Lincoln. That’s insane. I don’t know that there is any other place—in the Midwest, for sure—that has that many trails. We are so, so lucky.”
Founded in 1967, the Downtown Lincoln Association provides services and champions initiatives for maintaining and enhancing our vibrant downtown. Our vision is to create an energetic downtown environment where we live, learn, work, invest and play. DLA has evolved into a multi-faceted organization supporting a wide range of programs and activities including maintenance, economic development and advocacy.