BlueMile is a family-owned and operated business, and it's not unusual to find the owners on the sales floor helping customers, teaching a yoga-for-runners class to our training program, or helping beginner runners and walkers learn how to squeeze fitness into their busy lives. We hope you'll visit us because of our exceptionally talented staff. But, if you'd like to know where we come from, here's our story:
BlueMile Co-Founder Ashley Johnson
As Ashley Johnson came to the end of his professional running career in the mid 1990’s, he knew that he wanted to remain involved in the sport that had shaped his life.
As a top junior athlete growing up in South Africa, his talent as a runner helped him earn an athletic scholarship to Western Kentucky University. Finishing his degree in 1984, the year of the Los Angeles Olympic Games, Ashley had achieved the Olympic 1,500m qualifying standard but could not compete because of international sanctions. Ashley’s career on the track ended with a 6th place finish in the 1984 NCAA 1,500M final, but the running boom in his adopted home country provided new opportunities that he would find very exciting.
Soon after his collegiate career ended, Ashley entered the 1984 Peachtree road race in Atlanta, which at the time boasted 25,000 participants and was the biggest running event in the world. While Ashley’s second place finish that day kicked off a professional road racing career that would last more than a decade, more importantly, it sparked his interest in recreational athletes and their passion to achieve personal goals through running and fitness.
As an athlete endorsed by athletic footwear manufacturers, it was Ashley’s job to travel the US, run races and interact with runners in cities across the country who would toe the same starting line as their heroes. Ashley’s engaging personality and genuine interest in people made him a popular fixture on the US road-racing circuit, and it was here that he learned how much he enjoyed helping others.
Through these experiences Ashley realized he wanted to open his own running specialty store once he finished his competitive running career so that he could encourage and empower those who were learning that running and walking was an enjoyable way to a healthy, active lifestyle.
In the mid- to late- 1990s, while working at local running specialty stores in Portland, OR, and in Boston, Ashley realized his vision for BlueMile as a place that welcomes runners and walkers of all levels of ability, and provides encouragement, advice and motivation.
BlueMile Co-Founder Andrea Johnson
Andrea Johnson also attended Western Kentucky University on an athletic scholarship, and she and Ashley married in 1988.
While she set a few school records and was the 20th-ranked 1,500m runner in the US in 1994, “semi-pro” was the best she achieved in the professional ranks. Her love for the sport and business-minded approach to it was recognized by her sponsors, however, and in 1996 she landed a job at Nike in Running Sports Marketing just weeks before the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.
For the next eight years she traveled the world as a sports marketing rep for Nike, a sports agent and for USA Track & Field. In 2007 Andrea left sports marketing outside her own business, and today she directs the marketing and community relations of BlueMile. She also teaches yoga and enjoys golf and motorcycling. Oh, and she runs every day!
But these aren't the accomplishments Ashley and Andrea are most proud of, and running fast isn't the focus of BlueMile. Our focus is helping you be more comfortable and more capable as you pursue your fitness goals. We know that our customers are looking for the best customer service, the best products and brands, the most professional staff, and a supportive, non-intimidating atmosphere for runners and walkers of all levels.
Serving you is the focus of BlueMile, and doing that successfully since 2000 is the accomplishment we are most proud of. Yes, you can find nice pictures and news clippings about the honors bestowed on the owners. But at BlueMile, the focus is on you and how we can help you achieve your goals and enjoy an active, healthy lifestyle.
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