Geaux Run, a premiere road and cross fit specialty store, has a new manager and now part owner. Her name is Mary Hays. She comes to us from a long journey that has taken her around the world. Her travels have brought her to 34 countries on four continents.
Born and raised in Lafayette, LA, she started her early years of sporting activities with her family in the City Bike Club, the City Swim Team and still has all the medals she won. The mentoring she received from her parents to try anything once has led to a lifelong passion of exercise and pushing the limits of her physical and mental abilities. High school athletics again included the swim team and also began her career in running with the cross country track team.She gained her BS at USL and from there, left Lafayette to see the world. She spent five of those years in West Africa, and there found a unique group of people that loved to drink, but had a running problem; the Hash House Harriers. Running across vast distances across open deserts or through lush rain forests, there always seemed to be a destination.
Never one to let an opportunity go by, she began aerobics with Jazzercise and has been a member for over 20 years, even stretching the limits there by becoming a very successful instructor for four years. Mary will tell you, have a plan and work it!
Her love of motorcycles led her to riding the meanest biggest beast you can imagine and turning heads the whole time. “Was that Mary that just roared by?” Her plan was to be the best and safest Harley rider she could be. Her plan to ride 1000 miles within a 24 hour period and gain the title of “Iron Butt” started with a plan. The plan included an exercise regime that she stuck to for one year before attempting the “title”. She succeeded and carries with her the knowledge and wisdom, plan it, work it, accomplish it!
She lives by the motto, “If you’re on time, your late!” Be over dressed rather than under dressed, and she will tell you, she’s not in love with exercise, but she does love the results!
Mary now runs the streets of Lafayette, swims on a regular basis, and is continually in training for her next half iron man triathlon. Look for Mary at Geaux Run for your running equipment needs and should you see her on the streets, at her health club, or jumping out of a perfectly good airplane, jot the place and time down on an index card and drop it off at Geaux Run for a chance to win 10% off your next purchase!
A lifelong resident of Acadiana and the father of three beautiful girls, Mark’s life has evolved around athletics and being physically fit. His value and enjoyment of physical competition continues today as he pursues his passion of bicycles and racing triathlons. Mark’s racing career spans three decades, stepping into competitive cycling and triathlons just as many others have with sprint racing in the early 90’2. As Mark’s love for the sports grew, he expanded his racing goals toward longer races. To date, Mark has completed multiple century rides, 15 marathons, 20 half Ironmans and truly one of his greatest accomplishments, the completion of 22 Ironman distance races. Mark has competed and completed all of the Ironman North America races as well as X-Terra and Escape from Alcatraz. In this pursuit for fitness, it has led him to adopt a life philosophy of “fitness for everyone."
I live in Lafayette with my beautiful and supportive wife, Leslie, and our three wonderful children, Amelia, Charles and Cooper David. Before I began running , I was one of those individuals that would state “why do people run?” or “ I would only run if something was chasing me.” Little did I know the joy that runners were experiencing and what I was missing.
My first endurance endeavor began in 2004 when I set a goal to run my first half-marathon. While training for the race, I experienced my first true “runner’s high.” I knew, from that moment forward, that running was an activity that I would continue to pursue until the good lord punched my ticket. The race (America’s Finest City Half-Marathon in San Diego, CA) was a great experience and it left me yearning for more. With my new runner’s high experience, the completion of a half-marathon, and the mentality that MORE is always better, my life was positively changed forever.
Like so many of us in the Acadiana community, I ventured into Precision Bikes and sought advice from the local guru, Mark Miller, about purchasing my first bicycle since the sixth grade. The year was 2005, and I had not ridden a bicycle in approximately eighteen years, so I needed plenty of assistance. Mark provided me with great knowledge, set me up on my first “real” road bike, and now I was ready to complete a triathlon. The first time I took my new ride out for a spin I was convinced that it was broken. The bike would not switch gears and I just knew it could not be an operator malfunction. I brought the bike back to Mark and informed him of the problems with the bike. Mark politely showed me how to correctly change the gears while riding the bike and actually made it operable. It turns out it was only an operator malfunction. (Mark must have been laughing profusely and out loud when I left!) I had just taken a shot to my confidence. The whole debacle left me thinking “How am I going to finish a triathlon when I can’t even change gears while riding?”
In 2005, I set out to reach my goal of finishing a triathlon. After riding the bike for a couple months and attempting to teach myself how to swim, I built up enough courage to enter the city club mini-triathlon. The swim was a disaster, I got “chicked” too many times on the bike to count (which still happens!) and do not even remember if I utilized my new found talent of changing gears while in motion, but the run was decent and I loved the experience. After I completed the event, I do remember thinking how difficult it was to finish and pondering how in the world does one complete and Ironman? But if a short triathlon was good, then an Ironman must be that much better.
Over the next two years, I trained hard and received plenty of helpful advice from the veterans in the Lafayette endurance community. The advise helped me tremendously, and without that knowledge I would not have been able to progress with my training and racing. In 2007, I completed my first Ironman in Louisville, Kentucky and the experience was phenomenal. The crowds, comradery between the athletes, and knowing that our minds and bodies can accomplish anything we desire was very spiritual for me.
It was not until 2010 that I began to partake in the not so common world of ultra-running. (Thanks to the one and only Smitty Smith!) Seeking knowledge in unfamiliar territory I sought advice from Smitty, and in only Smitty fashion, he convinced me that I would be fine and could finish an ultra. That is all I needed, some assurance from Smitty and a new goal was now in place. (A 50 miler at Rocky Raccoon in February 2011) My training was going well, but I was still not convinced that I could complete the 50 miler. I continued to drag my feet and waited to sign my name on the dotted line for the 50 miler at Rocky Raccoon. During my moments of self doubt and sheer panic from the thought of a 50 mile run, my “goal” race filled up and no longer guaranteed entries for the 50 miler. Based on some bizarre thought process I decided to move up my “goal” race to November 2010, and I completed my first ultra at the Wild Hare in Warda, Texas. During and after the race, I experienced the same feeling as I did after the completion of my first Ironman, but on a deeper level and wanted to push my limits even further. If a 50 miler is awesome, then a 100 miler must be just too awesome!
During the early portion of 2011 I completed my first 50 k at Bandera and first 100 miler at Rocky Raccoon. (Amazing how my goal race grew exponentially in just a couple months.) Even though it was crash course in ultra-running(Ignorance is bliss!) it provided me a different outlook on running, and a new perspective of what we as humans can accomplish.
The point to all of this ridiculous rambling is that we were all beginners at one point and only through perseverance, determination, and support from others are we able to accomplish our goals. The endurance community is a family and every person has his or her own set of personal challenges and goals. It is immaterial whether one is completing a 5K or a 100 miler, we are all striving to push the limits of our minds and bodies and that my friends is LIVING!
From a person that once stated “Why do people run?”, I finally know what I had been missing. Running for me is about simplicity, peacefulness, and that tranquil feeling that overcomes me when I am in a nice groove on a long run and it feels as if I am floating. My mind and body are one and I can look into the heavens and thank God for all of the wonderful blessings that I have been provided in my life!
Geaux Run was established to assist ALL runners. Our goal is provide a friendly, knowledgeable , and supportive atmosphere where runners can obtain all of their needs, and of course their wants. (The fun stuff!) I look forward to continuing our lasting friendships with many, and building new friendships with many more.