Business & Real Estate

A Runner's Mind continues specialized running tradition downtown

Megan V. Winslow/Town Crier
Monte Keleher purchased On Your Mark in June and reopened it as A Runner’s Mind.

The new running store on Main Street in Los Altos inherits the personalized, service-oriented spirit of its predecessor, On Your Mark.

But when A Runner’s Mind opened downtown at the beginning of the summer, it expanded the selection of “athleisure” clothing aimed at all sporty types, not just runners, and started new traditions for local running culture

A fresh paint job and creative do-it-yourself fixtures sourced from the owner’s skilled acquaintances give the store at 378 Main St. a new look, with wheels on the wall, sawhorses and doors-as-tables. Owner Monte Keleher has expanded the range of fitness-friendly clothing to fill two-thirds of the store with everything from running shorts to sweaters.

A children’s play zone offers a pint-sized table and entertainment for young shoppers while their caregivers demo different shoes, and a section of kids shoes offers early running options. Bay Area-based brand Plae makes shoes that Keleher likes for growing feet that are still building muscles and need extra flexibility.

“They’re made by a podiatrist in Berkeley and they’re super malleable to the foot,” he said.

A visitor last week found Keleher out back in the parking plaza talking running form with St. Francis High School senior Shopnavo Biswas, who runs track and cross-country. They analyzed foot strike and stride length, then cut insoles to fit a new pair of shoes.

“We like going to places that are super community driven, since that is our business model,” Keleher said of picking Los Altos for his latest location.

In addition to offering a 30-day guarantee, he said, his stores are “small, local and always match prices, no matter what.”

A Runner’s Mind encompasses five Bay Area locations as well as functioning as a race production company, sponsoring events including a “PR race” scheduled 9 a.m. Sept. 2 in Los Altos. The store’s PR (personal record) races focus on competition with oneself rather than overall speed – the prize goes to the runner who best predicts his or her time in advance, and hits the mark without a timekeeping device.

Keleher continues a long tradition of running culture anchored downtown. Adam and Micheline Kemist opened specialty running store On Your Mark at the same location in 2011, itself a successor to their earlier downtown shop, The Runner’s High, which closed in 2006. The Kemists helped organize a variety of runs and races around town, a practice now echoed at A Runner’s Mind.

Keleher bought the business from the Kemists in June. According to their announcement at the time, Micheline is returning to teaching and Adam is offering orthotics services and coaching at Westcott Physical Therapy and working on a startup, the Shoe Match Fit System.

Keleher, a San Mateo resident, opened his first store in Burlingame in 2010. A high school and collegiate runner, he worked at a running store before starting his own. He now has a co-owner in business partner Kyle Ballard.

The Los Altos store is currently hiring.

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