Posts for Tart Cherry Hall of Fame

Posted on Jun 25 under Tart Cherry Hall of Fame
Coincidentally my path to the power of cherries has come full circle to where it all began, on the North end of Torch Lake, just a couple miles from King Orchards.  I grew up in Eastport, Michigan, a couple miles from each of King Orchards two farm stands.  I went to school with the King family and played sports with their kids.  I started running in high school in the wake of Ryan Shay and competed with another Hall of Famer Stephan Shay at Central Lake High School.  After which I ran cross-country and track at Hope College.  I spent the summers training in the hills around the orchards and admittedly stopped on multiple occasions to grab some red gold off the trees in middle of my runs.  I became a reasonably good regional class runner in college and went on to start running marathons immediately after college with a personal best of 2:38.  During my studies I went from Hope College to Colorado State University to get a Master’s degree in Exercise Science then a PhD from Auckland University ofTechnology in Auckland, New Zealand.
During my time in New Zealand I had the opportunity to work with several National Sporting Organizations as well as the equivalent of the US Olympic Training Center in New Zealand.  There I discovered what sport science was and the idea of using research to optimize or improve sport performance.  This research can take many different forms from investigating different training methods or using various ergogenic aids (legal ergogenic aids) to may enhance performance or speed recovery from training.  It wasn’t until I returned back the US and took at job at Grand Valley State University that I had an epiphany about the potential of cherries, or specifically cherry juice concentrate, to enhance running performance while actually reading about it in a magazine.  I’m certainly not the first person to think of this and a number of researchers have already begun investigating the effect of cherries in clinical and athletic populations.  This is an area I am also pursing specifically in runners to determine the effects of cherry concentrate on recovery and ultimately enhancing running performance.
Currently, in addition serving as an assistant professor at GVSU, I am an assistant coach with the GVSU cross country and track teams as well as training for several marathons each year myself. Pic2 Pic1

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StephanShayNYCMarathon (2)
I’ve been a runner my entire life.  Quite literally following in the footsteps of my older siblings, my passion for the sport of distance running started at a young age. Since then, I’ve been fortunate enough to compete in races across the United States, Asia, and Europe. Although I was a solid runner in high school and college, I felt like I really came on when I had the opportunity to devote myself fully to my passion. It is at this point I decided to train and race on an elite level. Moving to Flagstaff, Arizona after college set me up for some great breakthrough races which allowed me to pursue running as a professional.

As athletes, we tend to push our bodies on a daily basis, and usually aren’t too far from that red line.  With improved performances comes confidence, and with confidence comes the desire to test the limits.  In 2011 I ran the London Marathon, and in preparation I felt like I had put in the best training of my life.  Maybe not the SMARTEST training, but I put in the work to run what I had hoped would be a time that would rank me amongst the top U.S. distance runners.  Unfortunately, I had to drop out at mile 18.  I was devastated.  I traveled to London from California and put in months of hard training for this one race.

StephanShayProgression (2)Fast forward a few months to my 2012 Olympic Trials Marathon preparation. Usually by this time I’ve licked my wounds and I’m on to the next challenge.  However, something was still off with my foot from the London Marathon. A lump had formed on my plantar fascia, and I assumed it was just inflammation.  I went to a podiatrist and we tried a few different things; one being an eventual dose of 3 cortisone injections.  After many months, and muscling my way through the Olympic Trials in what is surprisingly still my personal best time, I decided the situation was not getting better and had to get surgery on my foot to remove a fibroma caused by scar tissue from micro-tears on my plantar fascia.  After months of running on what felt like a marble in my shoe, it was gone… along with a good portion of my plantar fascia.

Now starts the real challenge: REHAB.  The surgery caused a lot of weakness and some pretty bad tendonitis in my ankle.  I had to be in a boot for 3 months, causing muscle atrophy and overcompensation issues.  Ibuprofen was making its way into my daily vitamin box, and although I was diligent with my exercises, ice, and elevation, the tendonitis in my ankle persisted. Not feeling great about having to take so much ibuprofen, I started using Tart Cherry Juice concentrate as a more holistic and natural approach.  I couldn’t be happier with the results.  Not only is my foot feeling consistently better, but I am recovering from workouts quicker. King Orchards Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate is definitely one of the most important supplements I take!

Check out a typical pre-run breakfast during my altitude training stint in Flagstaff, Arizona leading up to the LA Marathon on March 15th, where I’ll be chasing another Olympic Trials Marathon qualifying time.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to follow my journey on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter!
Personal Bests:5K:  13:59 (while attending Brigham Young University)
10k:  28:41 (Brutus Hamilton Invitational, Berkeley, CA)
15K:  44:54 (10th at U.S. Championship)
10 mile:  48:52 (12th at U.S. Championship)
20k:  60:47 (12th at U.S. Championship)
25k:  1:18:03 (9th at U.S. Championship)
Half Marathon:  1:02:26 (5th at U.S. Championship)

Marathon: 2:16 (2012 Olympic Trials Marathon)

Awards and Achievements:
2014: 4th American finisher at the New York City Marathon

2014: Orange County Marathon Winner.
2011: USA Track and Field Pacific Association Olympic Development grant recipient.
2011: Qualifier for the 2012 Olympic Trials in the marathon.
2010: 5th place finish at U.S. Half Marathon Champs. Debuted in 1:02:26. 8th Fastest half marathon in the United States in 2010.
2010 World Half Marathon Championship Qualifier (Nanning, China)
2010: Road Scholar grant recipient from the Road Runner’s Club of America.TartCherryJuiceStephanShay (2)

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Age: 23

Team: Pacers/New Balance

Sponsors: King Orchards, Pacers Running Stores, New Balance, Honey Stinger

Coach: Self-Coached

Location: Hagerstown, MD

Favorite race:  Youngstown Peace Race

About me: I started running my sophomore year of high school. I made the switch from playing soccer because I felt DSC_1117like I was better at running. I went on to run at the NCAA Division II powerhouse, Adams State University. While there, I was All Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference Second Team in cross-country; NCAA DII All-South Central Region in cross-country; NCAA DII All-American in cross-country, finishing 30th place in the nation as well as a NCAA DII team national champion in cross country. Since then, I’ve switched my focus to road racing. I’m chasing the 2016 Olympic Trails Qualifier in the marathon.

1395272_745076528842569_1566013440_n (1)Recovery is just as important as working out. After reading about tart cherry juice I was interested in trying it. I take a glass of cherry juice 1 hour before any run and one glass within 30 minutes of working out. If I’m unable to get to my cherry juice after the run, I pack 1/3 of a cup of dried tart cherries to eat until I get the juice. On top of this, I have one glass of juice before bed, as it helps not only to fall asleep, but helps the body with recovery during the night (when most recovery takes place). Since starting the regimen of tart cherries/juice, I’ve noticed a significant difference. I am not sore at all starting up runs, which allows me to gain even more benefit of every training run.

Follow me on Instagram and twitter for season updates: @zoom4ever



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physical therapist mountain biker who drinks King Orchards tart cherry juice concentrateWorking in the field of medicine means I take health seriously.  By trade, I am a licensed physical therapist in Colorado, and I am specialized in orthopedic and sports medicine.  I have a Doctorate in Physical therapy and trained very hard to understand the anatomy and physiology of the entire body. Throughout my professional career, I have enjoyed working with athletes of all ages and abilities. Traveling with the US Snowboardcross team in the US, Europe, and Canada has undoubtedly been a highlight of my career.

Understanding the human body and its healing processes has lead me to seeking natural resources for optimal nutrition and athleticism.  Being an amateur cross country mountain bike racer, I have personally felt the negative effects of overworked, stressed, and inflamed muscles and joints.  I use King Orchards’ Cherry Juice Concentrate EVERYDAY to keep this process under control during my off-season training and during the madness of the mountain biking season. I actually drink it during my rides too – it tastes great!  The Unsweetened Dried Tart Cherries are another favorite of mine that I munch on all the time!

Big Thanks,
Eric Dube, PT, DPT, OCSphysical therapist mountain biker who drinks King Orchards tart cherry juice concentrate

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Cooper Dendel mountain bike racer that drink montmorency tart cherry juice concentrateAge: 23

Team: Quick Stop Bike Shop (title sponsor)

Sponsors: King Orchards, Trek, Bontrager, Podium Wear, Momentum Endurance, Frosty Treats, Hayes, Sun Ringle, Answer, Manitou, Honey Stinger

License: XC: Pro

Coach: Brian Matter (Momentum Endurance)

Location: Marquette MI

Favorite race: Marquette Cooper Dendel mountain bike racer that drink montmorency tart cherry juice concentrateTrails Festival

Bike: Trek Superfly FS 9.9 XTR

About me: I started mountain bike racing 5 years ago and fell in LOVE. I race mostly in the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin but make the trip down to Traverse City every year to compete in the Iceman Cometh challenge. Although this style race is not my favorite, it is pretty exciting lining up next to Olympians and world class athletes. My favorite races have mostly technical single track trail, and living in Marquette, I am fortunate enough to have miles and miles of single track right out my back door!

I have made drinking a glass of cherry juice part of my after ride routine, and it is not only refreshing but helps my body feel better quicker after tough workouts. One of my favorite things to make is carbonated water, add cherry juice concentrate, and a squeeze of lime.

Follow me on Instagram and twitter: @cooperdendel

Cooper Dendel mountain bike racer that drink montmorency tart cherry juice concentrate

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