The School of Kinesiology and Big Dog Running Company share the same mission – physical activity for everyone. Big Dog adheres to the “ALFA” principle: Active Lifestyle For All. This is why it made sense to have a synergistic relationship with the School of Kinesiology where a Big Dog Running employee studies the science of biomechanics to earn a master’s degree, and applies it to serve Big Dog Running customers.
With a treadmill in-store, Big Dog provides running analysis for each customer to find the right shoe. Jake Brewer works at Big Dog 13 hours per week. In turn, Big Dog pays for his graduate assistantship at the School of Kinesiology, which includes tuition and a stipend.
“I’m really excited about this assistantship with Big Dog Running Company and Auburn University Biomechanics,” said Brewer. “I am excited to learn and understand gait at another level, then be able to share that knowledge with my co-workers and customers.”
Brewer is pursuing a master’s degree in exercise science specializing in biomechanics. Master’s and Ph.D students must complete 20 to 40 analyses as part of the program. In Dr. Wendi Weimar’s Sports Biomechanics Laboratory, she and her graduate students observe lower-body biomechanics and provide the subjects feedback to encourage them to adopt new running protocols for better energy return and injury prevention.
“Jake helps in the lab and is involved in our research,” Weimar said. “Right now he is helping Chris Wilburn with data collection for performance socks and lacing strategies. Jake is a sponge; he asks a lot of questions.”
Brewer is becoming an expert on lower extremity gait analysis. Dr. Weimar hopes to continue the partnership with Big Dog in the future.
“We are so excited to be partnering with Auburn University and the Kinesiology Department,” stated Amy Rudolph, owner of the Big Dog Running store in Auburn. “Jake is a valuable member of our team here at Big Dog. His knowledge and enthusiasm for the sport of running are unmatched. We look forward to having him integrate his programs and projects with the store to help us serve our customers at an even greater level.”
Rudolph is a two-time Olympian (1996, 2000), as well as a two-time U.S. Indoor Champion in the 3,000 meter (1997, 2002), and the 2006 USA Outdoor 10,000 meter champion. Her husband, Mark Carroll, is the cross country and distance coach at Auburn University. He set the Irish national record in the 3K in 1999, and the 5K in 1998. He also was a member of the 2000 and 2004 Ireland Olympic Team.
Big Dog Running Company is a full-service specialty running store offering shoes, apparel, and accessories with locations in Columbus, GA and Auburn. Customer service from a knowledgeable staff is Big Dog’s cornerstone. The co-owner and CEO, John Teeples, ran cross country at Auburn University and is an ultra-marathoner.