Abbe Lewis - December 2013
Stamford, Connecticut—Westin Hotels & Resorts has been taking care of runners since 2005 with its RunWESTIN program, offering custom jogging/walking maps designed by New Balance showing routes stretching three to five miles from the brand’s properties. This past spring, Westin, in conjunction with the Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon series, launched a national contest to seek out a resident running expert. Out of over 1,000 applicants/running enthusiasts, Christopher Heuisler crossed the proverbial finish line first, making him the brand’s first-ever running concierge.
A seasoned runner with 25 marathons in 20 states under his belt with experience as a tier-4 coach at Equinox Fitness Clubs, Boston-based Heuisler is no stranger to the sport. Now at Westin, Heuisler travels to participating Rock ‘n’ Roll races, offering training and recovery tips and hosting warm-up runs the evening prior to the race. “From the moment the runner signs up for the VIP Marathon Package, I’m their virtual support system,” states the enthusiastic Heuisler.
Heuisler even performs his own preview run the weekend of the race. “Our goal is to take care of our runners so they can relax and focus on the race. By running the course ahead of time, I’m able to give advice regarding course expectations and logistics. A great majority of Rock ‘n’ Roll runners are first-time racers, so I want to ensure that there are no surprises. And if I don’t run the full distance, I’ll run half the course and drive or bike the rest.” Westin also provides a pre-race pasta dinner and a “grab and go” breakfast containing runner’s pre-race essentials—oatmeal, bagels, peanut butter, coffee, and Gatorade. Upon finishing, runners can return to the hotel, where they have a complimentary late checkout (no need to worry about the highly anticipated post-race shower), and pick up ice bags in the lobby to expedite recovery. “I’ve been pinching myself since I got the job. I keep waiting for someone to tell me this isn’t real,” says Heuisler.
The list of 2014 races has been released. Runners can experience the VIP Marathon Package in various Rock ‘n’ Roll hosting cities like New Orleans, San Francisco, and Chicago. And beyond 2014? RunWESTIN hopes to branch out into other marathon programs. Stay tuned.