Good things often come to those who wait. At least they have for Mary Cote, a Basalt runner, coach, mother, and, now, entrepreneur. After having two children, she started running competitively at age 36, then qualified for the US Olympic Marathon Trials at 39 (and again at 43). Last fall, at 53, Cote launched Run About Active Wear, an athletic apparel business a decade in the making.
“Ten years ago, running shorts were big and baggy,” says Cote. “They would sew pockets in the back, and when you put GU packets in them, the shorts would sag. I always wanted something more fitted but that could carry gels, and, nowadays, a phone. As for the tank, I like the sexy styles of yoga tops, but with more support for running.”
Inspired to create the clothing she desired, Cote spent years working with local seamstresses and trying to find technical fabrics that were up to her standards. She almost quit the process several times, but just like with her marathon training, Cote had a goal she couldn’t get out of her head.
Friend Susan Zimmer, a former Obermeyer exec who had started her own clothing production company, connected Cote with a large manufacturing company overseas, which sourced the fabrics, made the prototypes, and sized the garments for Cote’s new venture. Then, Cote and other local runners tested prototypes for a couple of years before she publicly launched the line, now available at several local stores, including Independence Run and Hike in Carbondale and Bristlecone Mountain Sports in Willits.
Cote describes the clothing as stylish, functional activewear for the minimalist runner, but versatile pieces like the Bella T-Back Tank and Crossover Running Short work well for hikers and yogis, too. She hopes to expand the line to include a capri tight and longer short.
While running her company, Cote still coaches and runs competitively, entering marathons, local races, and 50Ks, and pacing her husband on his 100 milers. Her current goal? To again break three hours in a marathon, just like she did at age 44. But this time, she’ll be wearing her own apparel.
Says Cote, “When you look good, you feel good and perform better.”