Tag Archives: Boston Marathon

Dari Herman Has A Head For Business

It’s a First World problem, sure.

You’re running, biking, playing tennis or soccer. Your headband keeps slipping off your head.

Or — if it stays on — it gives you a headache.

That’s the dilemma Dari Herman faced.

Dari Herman and friend.

A lawyer in New York, Washington and Boston, she worked in TV, and handled NBA player endorsements for a sports agency.

She also volunteered for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in Central Park, helping fundraising participants run half and full marathons.

But that pesky headband kept slipping off! There had to be a better way…

During lunch hour and on weekends, Dari headed to the Garment District. Through trial and error — and despite having no background in design or sewing — she finally created a no-slip, not-too-tight headband.

The secret: velvet lining, and an elastic outer piece.

Some of Sparkly Soul’s products.

Dari is a lawyer, so her next step was clear: filing for a patent. She got it.

She was not an entrepreneur. But she soon became one.

In 8 years, Sparkly Soul has grown big. The company produces all the Boston Marathon headbands for adidas, and the New York Marathon for New Balance.


Earlier this summer, they added a retail outlet.

In Westport.

A few years ago, Dari — who grew up in New York City — started looking for a place to expand. She and her husband (a Westchester chiropractor) wanted a place with a real community feel; somewhere they could get involved in daily life, and grow roots.

The Boston Marathon headband.

They looked all over: Boston, with its Marathon connection. Florida, where Dari provides headbands for runDisney races.

They weren’t sure where they’d end up. But, they told each other, “We’ll know it when we see it.”

“It” was Westport.

They looked at storefronts on Main Street. They ate at the Spotted Horse, and headed to Compo.

Everywhere in town, they felt the same vibe. “It’s beautiful,” Dari says. “But the people really make it. They’re as nice as the town. And there’s so much energy.”

She did notice empty storefronts. She does know that the future of retail is dicey.

But Dari is convinced that a company with roots in the community can thrive. “You have to have faith in your business, your product and yourself,” she says.

Dari and her husband moved to Westport 2 years ago. Sparkly Soul opened in early July — opposite (ironically) the now-closed Nike store.

Sparkly Soul’s new storefront.

Community response has borne out Dari’s faith. Word of mouth is strong. Customers love her headbands for men, women and kids. Sparkly Soul also sells sports and fashion accessories, and Westport-themed gear.

The Main Street space also includes her company office. Dari would like to bring her factory — now in New York — to this area too.

She wants Connecticut vendors too. Whatever helps our economy, she’s ready to try.

Westport-themed accessories, on display at Sparkly Soul.

Dari is a downtown booster. She’s attends merchants’ meetings, took part in the Sidewalk Sale, and looks forward to the Fine Arts Festival. She’s eager to host any kind of function in her store.

Dari is a runner (and triathlete) herself. She’s run 10 New York Marathons, and 2 in Boston.

In addition to feeling part of downtown, Dari has felt welcomed by Westport’s running community. She does the Roadrunner races every weekend, and made many friends through them.

If you see her on the road, just wave.

She’ll be the woman with the cool, fashionable — and no-slip — headband.

Yes, There’s A Marathon In Antarctica. No, Richard Garland Is Not Crazy For Running It.

We’ve all got travel goals.

I’d like to see all 50 states (I’m at 48). You might want to go on a safari, or walk along the Great Wall of China.

Richard Garland plans to hit all 7 continents. But that’s just the means to an end.

His goal is to run a marathon on all 7 continents.

I got tired just typing that sentence.

Until I talked to Richard, I didn’t even know there were marathons on all 7 continents. Antarctica, after all, is a continent.

Turns out, there is a marathon there.

Not only that, it’s happening right now.

And Richard Garland is there to run it.

But he’s not just running 26.2 miles, on ice and snow in sub-zero temperatures while dodging penguins and, I’m sure, man-swallowing crevasses.

He’s doing it to raise money for the Adam J. Lewis Preschool.

Some very happy Adam J. Lewis preschoolers.

And not just a few bucks. Richard’s goal is $100,000, for the fantastic Bridgeport institution that — with strong Westport support — honors the memory of a special 9/11 victim.

Richard has a special bond with the school that’s changing the lives of 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds in the West End. He knew Adam Lewis. Patty Lewis — Adam’s widow, and a driving force behind the school — is Richard’s wife’s best friend.

Travel — and giving back — are in Richard’s blood. A London native, he came to Westport to work. He thought he’d stay 2 years. Twenty-three years later, he’s still here.

Though he grew up playing sports, Richard hated running. “I thought it was for people with no lives,” he says.

But when he turned 50, he challenged himself to run the New York Marathon. He raised funds for the Westport-based Hole in the Wall Gang Camp — and got hooked.

Richard Garland, completing the New York Marathon.

Richard travels the world for work. He timed one trip to run a marathons in London. Others followed, in Kenya and Tokyo.

He ran the Boston Marathon too — in 2013. “I was slow enough not to be at the finish when the bombs went off,” he says.

Antarctica marks the 5th continent Richard will race on. On Sunday he flew to Punta Arenas, Chile. He boarded a Russian cargo plane, and arrives in Antarctica today.

The marathon is Friday. Unlike New York, Boston, London, Kenya, Tokyo — or anywhere else on earth — runners face an average windchill of -20 degrees Celsius, and strong winds. (And this is summer down there!)

It’s tough impossible to train for something like this. The best he could do, experts told Richard, was run on a treadmill in a walk-in freezer.

He did not. But he took the next-best advice, which is train on sand.

The Greens Farms resident ran at Burying Hill, Southport and Fairfield beaches. “It’s not very easy,” he reports. “I think I’ll run this marathon very slowly.”

You and I would relax after such an exhausting event. We’d check out the scientific stations and penguins, maybe see what Punta Arenas offers on the way home.

But you and I are not Richard Garland. He has a business meeting right after the marathon.

In London.

“I’ll pack my business suit, along with my Antarctic running clothes,” he says cheerfully.

The coldest continent marks Richard’s 5th for a marathon. He plans to run Easter Island — off the Chilean coast — next year. The last will be Sydney, in 2019.

Richard Garland in 5 marathons. Clockwise from upper left: New York, Tokyo, Kenya, London and Boston.

But 7 marathons on 7 continents is not Richard’s final goal. In fact, it’s just a warm-up.

In 2020, he’d like to run 7 marathons on 7 continents — in 7 days.

“Impossible!” you and I say. In addition to sheer exhaustion, just getting from one 26.2-mile race to the next is incomprehensible.

“No, it’s a thing,” Richard says, as if this is like walking down your driveway to pick up the mail. “There’s a private plane, with business class seats.”

But if he does that, he warns, there’s a price.

“It’s a million-dollar fundraiser for the Adam J. Lewis preschool.”

(Click here to contribute to Richard Garland’s current Adam J. Lewis marathon fundraiser.)

Craig Adler: Marathoner With A Mission

Craig Adler was fast.

Very fast.

In his senior year of high school he helped his American School in Japan team win the 5K Far East Championship. They beat every military and international school in Asia.

But at the University of Rochester — burned out by running — Adler turned to crew.

Craig Adler

Craig Adler

After graduation, he worked for years on Wall Street. Last year he went back to school, and earned a degree in public policy from the University of Connecticut. Now he does development and fundraising for the non-profit Norwalk Housing Foundation.

As he got older, Adler missed running. Wearing a brace after knee surgery, he rediscovered his passion.

In 2014,  he ran his first marathon: the Lehigh Valley. He was 49 years old.

His time was so good, he qualified for the Boston Marathon. That’s quite an accomplishment.

Even more impressively, 6 days after Boston he ran the much hillier (and more beautiful) Big Sur Marathon, on the other side of the country.

“I was addicted to marathons,” he admits.

Craig Adler finishes his 1st Boston Marathon.

Craig Adler finishes his 1st Boston Marathon.

He also was addicted to raising money. At the Marine Corps Marathon, he raised funds for wounded warriors in Washington, DC. At the New York Marathon, his cause was Shoe4Africa.

(Adler’s son Scott — now a junior at Staples — got the fundraising bug too. After the Nepal earthquake, he and 2 Westport Y Water Rat teammates collected $45,000 in just 2 weeks.)

Recently, Adler’s sister, Julie Robinson — an occupational therapist who works with autistic children — mentioned the House of Possibilities respite facility in Massachusetts. Children with significant challenges go there to recharge — while their families get a break from the demands of being round-the-clock caregivers.

That’s the team Adler is running for at next month’s Boston Marathon. It’s a significant step up from other runs. In addition to the $400 entry fee, he pledged to raise $5,000. Most marathon goals are $1,500.

But it’s important to Adler. “I like to give back,” he simply.

At 52, he runs marathons faster than people half his age. His best time was 3:14 — but he’s proudest of his 3:19 in the 2015 Boston Marathon. That took place in bone-chilling temperatures and pouring rain, with wind blowing in his face the entire way.

house-of-possibilities-logoThe support of friends spurs Adler to train harder and run faster. But he needs the support of others — even people he does not know — to reach his $5,000 mark.

Adler has created a fundraising page. He hopes you’ll click here to help.

Run For Boston This Saturday

A grassroots group invites everyone — runners, walkers, bikers, spectators — to a community run/walk this Saturday (April 20, 8 a.m.) at Compo Beach.

58cef16198d863f0f0450efc44cf3370The event — organized by the Joggers Club — is a response to Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing.

Donations will be collected for the family of 8-year-old Martin Richard, who was killed after hugging his father at the finish line, and his 7-year-old sister Jane, who lost her leg; 27-year-old Jeff Bauman, who lost both legs as he waited for his girlfriend to finish, and the Boston Marathon team and first responders.

After a few words in memory of those killed and maimed in Boston, the run/walk will begin. The route loops around Green’s Farms Road.

Great Cakes is sponsoring the event.

Jeff Clachko’s “Hardball” Report From Boston Marathon

Jeff Clachko was one of 10 Westporters to complete today’s Boston Marathon.

Jeff Clachko

Jeff Clachko

He’s also Vice President, Universal Sports Sales and Marketing for NBC Sports. Moments ago, he was interviewed by Chris Matthews on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”

Jeff described coming down Boylston Street. “I was trying to finish in under 4 hours, so I really sped up,” he said.

Three steps beyond the finish line — he clocked in at 3:58.52 — Jeff heard a loud explosion.

“There’s always lots of noise and music at the finish,” he told Chris Matthews. “But this was different.”

He looked back, and saw smoke rising 20 feet in the air.

Three seconds later, Jeff heard a 2nd explosion.

“Volunteers did an incredible job of ushering runners away from the area,” he said.

Jeff’s wife and 3 sons were watching their father race. They planned to be at the finish line, but got stuck in traffic from Wellesley and were not there.

Jeff did not know that, however. “That was my immediate concern, obviously,” he told MSNBC.

A volunteer offered Jeff a cell phone. Thankfully, he learned, his family was fine.

A shot of MSNBC's "Hardball," during Jeff Clachko's interview.

A shot of MSNBC’s “Hardball,” during Jeff Clachko’s interview.

It took him an hour and a half to make it back to his hotel.

“It’s mayhem,” Jeff reported. “Streets are closed, and there are more fire trucks and ambulances than I’ve ever seen.

“It’s mass confusion all around Boston. No one knows where to go, or what to do.”

Charlie Greenwald: Report From The Boston Marathon

Charlie Greenwald graduated last June from Staples. Now a communications student at Emerson College, he joined nearly everyone at school today to watch the Boston Marathon. The route and finish line were just a couple of blocks away.

“Everyone was in high spirits,” Charlie reports. “The runners and their families and friends were full of joy.

“After going for a run himself, Charlie showered. He did not hear the explosions, but in his dorm room he heard sirens.

Police react immediately after today's explosion. This photo, taken by John Tlumacki, was tweeted by Boston Globe Sports. (From Business Insider)

Police react immediately after today’s explosion. This photo, taken by John Tlumacki, was tweeted by Boston Globe Sports. (From Business Insider)

Looking out his window, he saw ambulances and police cars flying down Boylston Street.

His Facebook and Twitter feeds immediately lit up.

The entire Emerson campus immediately went to lockdown. Many students are trying to cover the event for journalism and film classes.

“We are all shocked,” Charlie says. “There’s absolute madness here in Boston. Pandemonium.

“We are all now ordered to stay inside indoors and on campus. But an hour ago, when I looked outside, the screams and tears were everywhere.”

the immediate aftermath of today's explosion. Boston Globe reporter Steve Silva posted this photo on Facebook, with the caption, "God help us." (Courtesy Business Insider)

The immediate aftermath of today’s explosion. Boston Globe reporter Steve Silva posted this photo on Facebook, with the caption, “God help us.” (Courtesy Business Insider)