Tracksmith Mines Boston Running Lore for Latest Collection
In keeping with Boston running tradition, Tracksmith chose April 19th to launch its Bill Rodgers Collection. As distance runners and New Englanders alike know, the third Monday in April is Patriot’s Day, the traditional start date of the Boston Marathon. (This year the Marathon will be held in October due to Covid concerns.)
Tracksmith founder & CEO Matt Taylor and legendary runner Bill Rodgers hatched the idea for the collection two years ago when Tracksmith hosted Rodgers at a post-Marathon get together held at the Trackhouse, Tracksmith’s retail store and community hub, located about a quarter mile from the Marathon finish line in downtown Boston. Having previously secured a selection of apparel from Rodgers’ original clothing line, sold under the label Bill Rodgers & Company, after scouring eBay, Taylor was inspired to recreate a few of his favorite items from the 1970s offering with a contemporary twist that retains the aesthetics and original intent of the classic pieces. The result is a capsule collection that stands up to the technical demands of today’s runners while reflecting what the hometown favorite runner Rodgers wore in his heyday.
The Tracksmith Bill Rodgers collection features pieces for training and racing, including singlet and shorts for men and women, a lightweight performance windbreaker jacket and two accessory items: a merino wool knit cap and white merino wool gloves. A lifestyle stripe Eliot Lounge Rugby shirt rounds out the offering.
The Boston Billy Jacket was inspired by Rodgers’ training days in the worst of New England winters. The reimagined versatile windbreaker is made with a lightweight Schoeller water-repellent shell material with a Nanosphere technology finish and mesh lining, along with a detachable hood and 360-degree reflectivity. “We are fortunate to work with the Tracksmith team regularly and proud to see some truly iconic and cherished garments created. We align in a lot of areas of passion for performance and timeless aesthetic and working within a framework of history to draw on and re- explore,” shared Stephen Kerns, president, Schoeller, USA. “It helps as well that our team has some active runners/athletes to keep it authentic.”
Taylor and Rodgers, who won Boston four times and won the New York City Marathon four times in a row, presented the clothing during the REVEAL media trade event earlier in April. Rodgers contributed thoughts on the early days of running, and shared details of what he wore in his first Marathon win. His outfit on that Patriot’s Day in 1975 consisted of a hand-lettered t-shirt, a borrowed headband from a friend, sneakers sent to him from then rising star distance runner Steve Prefontaine, and a pair of white painters gloves that Bill’s brother bought at a nearby hardware store because it was such a chilly day for racing. “The 1970s was the time the sport and the science of materials for sport were both coming of age,” said Rodgers during the presentation. “Fast forward to 50-plus years and the look resonates with the times but textiles have advanced.”