This photo from my wedding at the age of 27 years old shows the groomsman outfitted in silver Nike Pegasus running shoes to match the silver tuxedos we chose for the occasion. Those shoes were the gift I gave to the groomsman in our wedding.
I’d worn many pairs of Pegasus by that point in time thanks to sponsorship by the Running Unlimited shoe store. Our team of racers all wore Nike shoes and gear as provided by our contract.
The decision to buy sets of Pegasus for my groomsman was an easy one. The two guys on the right were teammates of mine in high school cross country and track. The Best Man on the far right also ran with me in college. That youngish looking character right next to the myself and the bride is my brother-in-law.
The year that I got married was the last full year of truly hard racing in my career. After that, we conceived our first child and I decided it was time to dedicate less time to training and more time to being a father. After all, I’d been competing year-round from the age of twelve to the age of 27. That’s fifteen years of dedicated training and racing. It was time to move. To grow up.
I moved into a space where running was still a big part of my life, but not at the forefront. Many years were spent coaching other athletes and directing youth soccer teams. Then I started playing indoor soccer and wore Nike cleats and indoor shoes. I loved a set of soccer cleats that was a “hand-me-up” after my son finished using them in high school soccer. They were bright red with a reflective silver swoosh on the side. I recall seeing them flash in the sunlight when he was tearing up and down the field.
During all that mid-life stuff, Pegasus shoes would float in and out of my training gear, as did other Nike models. But so would shoes by many other makers; Saucony, Brooks, Puma, Reebok, New Balance, adidas and many more.
Something in me still holds a warm spot for Nike shoes. In college I raced in Oregon waffle racers and Nike Elite waffle racing shoes in cross country. I wore Nike spikes in the steeplechase, an event in which I qualified for nationals three times.
Post-collegiately, I raced most of my PRs in Nike racing flats, especially the Nike Air Edge and the Nike America Eagle. At midnight on the North Central College track in May of 1984, I ran my 5000 meter PR in a set of Nike Zoom track spikes. Those spikes were clean white with a simple sky-blue swoosh. They were light and fast.
Yesterday I received a set of Nike Pegasus Shield training shoes from the online Nike store. They’re obviously quite different from those prototype Pegasus I first bought back in the 80s. I normally buy my running shoes locally from Dick Pond Athletics, but with online credits to burn I chose the Nike Pegasus as my second set of running shoes to train during the winter months. The fact that they’re a bit waterproof is a real benefit during December, January and February here in Illinois. That mushy snow can be a soggy problem.
I’ve worn the new Nikes around the house trying them out. My stupid ankle bones stick out so there’s a lacing strategy necessary to wear the shoes well. But I plan to keep them. We have a lot of years of history together, these Nike Pegasus. A ton of miles and a lot of smiles.