Stay Inspired in Times of Uncertainty

As many have found over the last year, running can be a great source of stress relief and relaxation after a long day inside. One of our team members reached out to someone in his community who has had a lifelong relationship with the Mizuno brand. Learn more about why he first started to run and more importantly – run in the Mizuno Wave Inspire 17.


When your dad presents you with an athletic challenge, you run with it. In Colton Barger’s case, running was exactly what he did. Growing up, Colton was surrounded by running: his dad was a successful high school cross country runner in the 1970s, and his older sister participated in the sport from middle school through high school. While killing time before the varsity race at one of his older sister’s cross country meets, Colton’s dad challenged him to sprint across the gym as quickly as he could. Ten-year-old Colton laced up his shoes and soared with excitement towards the other end of the gym. This seemingly lighthearted challenge kick-started Colton’s passion for running. After that, he began training regularly with his sister’s cross country team, and over the following years, the ties he developed with family and friends through running strengthened. The love of competition engulfed him in the sport, and he was hooked.


For Colton, running was a very family-oriented and social sport – so, naturally, he was accompanied by family and friends for his first running shoe purchase. While training with his sister’s high school team, the coach coordinated a visit to a local run specialty shop. An associate there took Colton through a customized gait analysis, and Colton tried on numerous shoes. He ultimately selected the Mizuno Wave Inspire due to the brand’s reputation and the comfort, fit and feel of the shoe. The excellent customer service combined with the brand’s quality instilled loyalty to the Mizuno brand and the Mizuno Wave Inspire (our go-to stability shoe), which he’s been wearing for close to ten years!


Fast forward a decade, and Colton is a graduate student in applied mathematics at Bowling Green State University. He’s moved around from Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and most recently to the Toledo area of Ohio, all while maintaining his passion for the sport. When he’s not studying or assistant teaching at Bowling Green State University, he participates in the Falcon Track Club. These days, he frequents Second Sole in Perrysburg, OH, where he relies on the expertise of the run specialty staff to provide the tools to achieve his running aspirations. The store is also a place of gathering for Colton and other local runners. The open-door policy and slogan “shoes, apparel, advice” welcomes customers, new and old, and it is where he met some of his closest friends and teammates.


Over time, Colton’s perspective on running has evolved. For many years, Colton ran primarily for the sake of competition. His passion for running is as strong as ever, but its role looks a little different in his life now. More recently, he’s utilized the sport as an outlet for stress, particularly during the pandemic this past year. When everything about the virus and the future felt uncertain, Colton held onto what he knew best: has Wave Inspires and running. While a safe, outdoor, and socially distant activity, running was still in its own way a place of community for Colton and his friends during this time. To stay dedicated to their daily runs, Colton and his friends turned to social media, such as Strava, to stay connected and motivated. The hope of soon reuniting for a long run – and not dragging behind in the process! – kept them all dedicated to their training. Colton continued to push himself to be at his best, reaching beyond the constraints of a global pandemic, to keep up with his friends.


After running solo for most of 2020, Colton is hoping to chase his goals with the company of his friends and competitors again. With plans for new personal bests in the 800-meter run as well as half-marathon, 2021 for Colton – and perhaps for all of us – should be a year to chase big aspirations and take on new challenges, all while beginning the process to run as one again locally and globally.

Colton Barger

Graduate Student of Applied Mathematics at Bowling Green State University

Falcon Track Club Member

Mizuno Wave Inspire wearer 10 through 17 and counting…



Published: March 2021

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