“I always like to think that when you have all the freedom in the world, creativity maybe doesn’t come so easily. But when you have constraints placed upon you, that’s when you have to get creative. And that’s what I think happened to the world, to much of the world, in 2020.”

Joel Gaff, Jr., dad of two, triathlete, and race director, small business owner

Like everybody else this past year, Joel Gaff and his team at race management and timing services company Endurance Evolution were faced with tough decisions about keeping the business going strong. “We were wondering, what can we do? How can we pivot? The whole world was trying to pivot at the same time, which just spawned so many cool new things.”

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Joel, Laura, and their sweet daughters Penelope and Hazel.

As tough as things were at times, opportunities began presenting themselves — and Joel decided the time was right to take some leaps. 

Within the past couple of months, he made big changes with Endurance Evolution: the company’s timing services and racing events, including the Traverse City Trail Running Festival, Glen Arbor Solstice Half Marathon and 5K, Traverse City Triathlon, and Sleeping Bear Marathon, were acquired Race Day Events, an event production company in Madison, Wis. “I’m more confident than ever in the long-term success that these events will have, as well as being able to continue to provide first-class timing services to our clients in northwest lower Michigan and beyond,” Joel says.

Joel also launched Traverse City Run Co. a running brand that “celebrates the sun, snow, hills, water, community, and all that makes running in Northern Michigan so special.” 

“I had been wanting to start Traverse City Run Co. for about five or six years, but the time was never ‘right’ to make it happen. I was always putting it on the back burner, and never giving the idea the attention it needed … the creative flow was in overdrive and I knew the time was finally right.” 

Along with offering “fresh running goods,” Traverse City Run Co. is seeking content ambassadors and eventually will have a run team — Joel is excited to build a community of like-minded individuals. As the website shares, “We are runners of all shapes, sizes, speeds, and abilities. We love to run.  We love Traverse City. We love Michigan.” 


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