'Nike Outpost' is open again

The runners are back, the Olympics are on, and the Nike Outpost is open.

Hmm. Must be summer in Mammoth.

Situated in the old Volcano Sports space in Mammoth Mall (Ocean Harvest, Good Life, Command Performance, et. al.), the Outpost is almost a summer staple around here.

But this time, it’s even better.

Each night during the Olympics, the Nike Outpost will have television coverage on two huge television screens, with couches and deep-cushioned lounge chairs for the members of the 60 or so running clubs who use Mammoth as a training ground for their upcoming cross-country seasons.

“We want to provide a ‘safe house’ for runners,” said Scott Lash, a Nike representative in Los Angeles.

“All schools will still do their own thing. We just want to supplement their needs in any helpful way we can. They can borrow a new pair of shoes, borrow a watch, borrow foam rollers to aid while stretching, whatever we can do to help.”

Lash said coaches can also schedule a “college night,” where individuals such as Nike’s Tim Ramirez and Brendan Gregg can share their own experiences on how to make college destination decisions, what to expect at the next level, and so on.

In Mammoth, the action this past Wednesday started right about 5 p.m. when vans carrying high school athletes began arriving at the site.

On the two televisions were replays of the U.S. women’s soccer team’s 4-2 victory over France—a match played before tonight’s Opening Ceremonies because of the length of the round-robin competition.

But there was other stuff to do, too.

A table-tennis set-up was in the corner, while in another spot, a computer system can upload running times to rank the athletes’ progress each day.

Lash said he met with John Urdi, Mammoth’s director of tourism, and came away impressed.

“It’s clear they are trying to define (Mammoth Lakes) as the global altitude destination (for runners),” he said. “They want to welcome competitive runners year-round for their training, make it even more conducive to team training, build altitude houses, and more.”

The Outpost also is open to the general public, Lash said, for those who want to nose around or buy Nike gear.

A word to the wise, though: judging by our own visit there, you might want to re-think wearing those Adidas cross-trainers to the Nike Outpost.

Just saying.