BY BILL CHAFEY
BEAR, MI – It was the purchase heard ’round the world – the running world, at least. Local attorney and aspiring runner Doug Chad purchased a pair of marked-down LA Gear running shoes at a local Big 5 store, then posted his haul online.
“Best shape of my life, here I come! #lagearprimal #big5sale” Chad posted on Instagram along with a picture of the shoes.
The running community was quick to notice the post and in a matter of minutes news of Chad’s purchase had gone viral on several well-known running websites.
Members of time2race.com, a forum favored by elite runners, were quick to dismiss – and even disparage – the purchase. “Why we’re even wasting time discussing this oxygen thief’s choice of shoe is beyond me,” posted eliterunner#1. Another poster, sub14-5k, added “How dare that scum attempt to better himself! If you’re buying running shoes at Big 5, I doubt you can even crack a 9-minute mile, and those clunkers he bought are gonna make it even worse. No thanks.”Posters at runnersplanet.com were slightly more supportive of Chad’s buy. “If he want’s to run in a shoe that cost’s less then 20 actual dollars, so be it, that’s his perogotive!” argued FormerChub in a thread on the Beginners forum. In the Opinions forum, PacerAnnie wrote “Hay, why do people have to be so judge-mental? I’m sure if he catches the running bug he’ll be buying the latest Newtons or Nike Shock’s before to long!”
When word spread to Twitter, runners quickly divided into two camps. Those against Chad showed their anti-LA Gear stripes with hashtags like #notinmyrotation and #fearthegear. Those behind Chad supported the beleaguered newbie with separate #freechad and #istandwithdoug campaigns.
Surprisingly, contributors to the popular Facebook page Running Shoe Nerds had little to say about the issue. When asked for comment, a spokesperson for the page messaged back with “LA Gear? Takin’ me back to the 80s man! Honestly though, I’m just super pumped about the New Balance Zantes at the moment. You tried em? How about the Vazees? They’re both great!”
Even the science world had something to say about Chad’s purchase. On the popular blog Lab Rat Running, exercise physiologist Mike Maze wrote “There are a whole host of issues with a shoe like the LA Gear Primal. If I was Mr. Chad, I’d be concerned specifically about increased knee varus torque and degeneration of articular cartilage, not to mention acute joint contact forces. All of that can lead to biomechanical inefficiencies and, of course, injury. Plus, damn those shoes are ugly!”
Lost in all of this debate is any information regarding Doug Chad’s actual experience with the offending kicks – until now. After numerous failed attempts to contact Mr. Chad, The Heel Strike obtained insider information from a source within a local hospital IT department. The source, who paid us $10 to maintain his anonymity, divulged that Mr. Chad was recently scheduled for surgery to repair acute fractures in both ankles. His hospitalization has been further complicated – and prolonged – by his physician’s inability to locate an ICD-10 diagnosis code for “Athletic shoe-induced fracture of ankles, bilateral, first encounter.” The physician, who offered us $1000 to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation by CMS, said “If only he’d been just a little more discerning, he wouldn’t be in this mess. I mean, he broke both ankles the second he stepped in those pieces of crap!”
Though Chad remains in the hospital with no discharge date in sight, he recently added a comment to the Instagram post featuring his LA Gears: “Learned my lesson. Soon as I get this surgery done, I’m headed straight back to Big 5 and exchange these #lagearprimals for a sweet pair of Avia Endeavours!”