The Reno Running Company in Reno, Nevada, is advertised as "a specialty running shop," and the owners are certainly qualified to call it such.
Matt and Aimee Balzer own the Reno Running Company, and they took the weekend off last week to win a couple of national championships. Matt was the overall top amateur at the XTERRA USA Championship off-road triathlon on Saturday; the next day, his wife Aimee won the women's 30-34 division at the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. Both events were staged at Snowbasin Resort near Ogden, Utah.
Matt has been on the XTERRA triathlon circuit for several years, and once held professional status in the sport. However, this was his first USA Championship win for his age-group, let alone as the top overall amateur.
Aimee's win was perhaps more surprising, as this was her first time entering the XTERRA Trail Run National Championship. She placed ninth overall among all females in the race.
"He has been training very hard this season and deserved the win," Aimee said of Matt's performance. "I was really anxious for him. It makes a difference in the race when we have each other there, so I wanted to do well."
Aimee's victory is even more impressive when considering she gave birth to their second child just five months prior to this race.
"Indeed, we have a 5-month-old little baby and an 8-year-old little girl," Aimee said. "I think taking some time off from training during pregnancy and adjusting focus away was refreshing and made me really motivated to get back to running. It's also the only time in the day that is just for me, so I cherish it. It really changes your world having kids and especially an infant. They are my motivation!"
Aimee completed the 21-kilometer course in 1 hour, 52 minutes, 26 seconds. Because it was her first time on the trails at Snowbasin, she said she had no idea where she was in relation to the other runners in her division.
"The pack I was running with was all men so the only updates I received on placement were from spectators on the course," she said. "I had no idea what to expect, but I certainly knew there was tough competition. I was very humbled to hear I won my age group. That's the first win I've had post-baby so it makes the time spent away from my family to train, worth it."
The Balzer's victories were obviously a team effort, as they often rotate shifts to train, take care of the children, and work at the store (not to mention that they also own another business that deals with mailing and shipping).
"Since we both compete athletically, we are both really supportive when it comes to making sure we find the time to train, too," Aimee said. "Although, some days are harder than others and training must take the back seat. But that's okay because the baby is growing faster than lightning and I don't want to miss a thing!"