Celebrating 29 years of serving the Saskatoon running community

Today marks 29 years since Brainsport started serving Saskatoon’s running community.

While we never imagined a situation like this, where staff are having to keep a physical distance from customers, we are proud to remain a source of quality running gear and advice and to be giving back to the community when we can.

To recognize Brainsport’s 29th anniversary, the Brainsport Times reached out to 29 people to ask them what the store has meant to them over the years.

Thank you for sharing your memories with us.

“Brainsport, we need…………”and they answer. Immediately. With a solution. And ideas on how to get it done. Brainsport is an essential partner of the Saskatchewan Marathon. Big thanks to Brian, Jamie, Lisette, Colin, Martha, and ALL the others who help us make it happen year after year.
— Kim Ali, Saskatchewan Marathon Race Director

Brainsport and Brian have taught me a lot about how to run an ethical and community-minded business. There is a reason employees stay with the company for so long because it’s a place people want to be. You can also see this in customer loyalty, with their humbling support of the store.
— Tyler Babiy, Social Media Manager at Brainsport

Debbie Harksen, Susan Michasiw (Brian’s mom), Brian Michasiw and Julia Michasiw (Brian’s grandmother) on Brainsport’s opening day.

Brainsport is perfecting the art of building community and building a business at the same time
From thousands of friendships created at running club, to thousands of running shoes gathered for Kenya and communities in need right here
To Brian and the whole team, thank you for an awesome 29 years.
— Saskatoon Mayor Charlie Clark

I began running with Brainsport in December 1991, I had so much fun that in 2001 I asked if I could work part time. Thursday night and Saturdays I got to spend more time at my favourite store. In 2005 I accepted an offer to work full time and I retired for the first time sometime around 2007. I proposed a weekly email to our customers which I called the Brainsport Times, I always signed off with one of Brian’s phrases “Gotta Run.” I still have Times dating back to 2008 and I am happy to see how it has progressed to what it is now. I had the pleasure of working at Brainsport and meeting so many fabulous people in our community, many who continue to be friends on Facebook. In 2015 I retired again to be closer to family in Alberta. I treasure my years with Brainsport, they were truly fun and life changing. All the best on your 29th birthday.
— Ian Colvine, Former run club member, former employee and Brainsport Times founder

When I was in rehab and started to run again after 10 years of not running, I could not afford shoes. Brainsport gifted me a gently used pair and I haven’t stopped running since. Brainsport is not only about shoes that fit, Brainsport is about community.
— Tarrant Cross Child, Customer, former run academy coach

Jim Davis (left) receives a pair of full beaded moccasins at Brainsport in 2018.

It was impressive to witness the care, detail and dedication that Brian, and the team at Brainsport provide. They change people’s lives, and we are thrilled to partner with them on so many initiatives that keep people healthy and active. Congratulations on your first 29 years!
— Jim Davis, Chairman of New Balance Athletics Inc.

I have been shopping at and running with Brainsport for over 20 of its 29 year existence. Brainsport is a reliable source of advice that has the footwear I require is stock or they will order it. But more important Brainsport, its Wednesday Run Club and those who participate are my friends and my community.. I look forward to a day when we can get together and go for a run….and a beer.
— Murray Gross, Aging runner, customer, Wednesday Run Club participant, Wednesday supper captain and former Learn to Run coach

Debbie Harksen and Susan Michasiw (Brian’s mom) on Brainsport’s opening day.

When I started with triathlon, I knew very little about what was “required” and what was “nice to have” for each sport, I knew if I went to Brainsport the staff would be patient with me and knowledgeable about their products. The staff give the customers the proper attention to make sure they feel comfortable with their purchases before leaving the store. Their commitment to the community is unparalleled to most companies. Without their continued sponsorship to Saskatoon Triathlon Club’s Just Tri-it program, the program fees would be unmanageable and the program would fail, likely! Thank you Brainsport for supporting the community for 29 years.
— Susan Hamilton, Coordinator Just Tri-It Saskatoon, Saskatoon Triathlon Club Board Member

Brainsport gives so much to the Saskatoon running community and asks for so little. As a member of Saskatoon Track and Field Club (STFC) and the Huskies track and field and cross country teams, I feel grateful to be supported by such an awesome local business!
— Courtney Hufsmith, client

Brian and the Brainsport family are wonderful people. The general public sees a great running store that helps you live a healthy, active lifestyle. But what many don’t see is Brainsport helping the less fortunate. Brainsport has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars through Cameco’s Step Up for Mental Health run and walk. We are lucky to have Brainsport in our community.
— Jonathan Huntington, Cameco Corporation

Brian Michasiw and Debbie Harksen.

I have been a Brainsport customer since I started running, and suspect that becoming a part of the run club community has helped me stick with the sport. The store has been a valuable partner to the SRRA over the past 29 years as well — from sponsoring the marathon to contributing to many of our smaller events. Regardless of the context for my visit, it always makes my day when I have an excuse to pop into the store and visit with the amazing staff!
— Shona Iverson, customer, run clubber, and Saskatoon Road Runners Association president

Wow — 29 years of being in business through serving the running community is such a tremendous milestone! This achievement truly speaks to Brian’ s passion, dedication and loyalty towards his customers, the sport and the community. I personally admire Brian for the strong leadership he demonstrates through his efforts in giving back to the community.
— Ted Jaleta

Walter Michasiw (Brian’s dad) stands behind Brian Michasiw on Brainsport’s opening day.

Brainsport…it’s not just about the shoes. My life would not be the same if it weren’t for Brainsport. Because of Brainsport, I have made lifelong friendships including many of my dearest running compadres! Because of Brainsport, I met my husband and have two amazing daughters that I am forever grateful for! Because of Brainsport, I have completed marathons, 1/2 marathons, participated in running streaks and running camps; my life would not be the same without running and these numerous opportunities. Thank you Brian and Brainsport, and Happy Anniversary! I have no doubt your people, programs and gear will continue to have a positive and lasting impact on people’s lives and our community as a whole for many years to come.
— Jackie Kivol, Running clinic participant/Friend/Life long supporter

Brainsport – the hub of opportunity, friends, runs, and coffee! Thank you Brainsport for your invaluable service to our community.
— Hannah Marple, customer

About 10 years ago I was introduced to Brainsport while working on a fundraiser with Brian and Lissette. The fundraiser turned out to be a huge success and it got me a job interview with the Brainsport management. Looking back over the past 10 years as an employee I see Brainsport as a mentor to beginner and veteran runners. A pillar of help and support in the community, creating a bond of trust, friendship and training that has built a strong and faithful customer base to runners and walkers alike. Brainsport you are the best.
— Harvey Mathies, former employee

Kudos to Brainsport for being an institution in the Broadway District for almost three decades! Behind the scenes Brainsport has contributed so much to our community by supporting and mentoring other businesses, and through ongoing philanthropy. They model the highest standard of customer service in all they do and we are proud they call Broadway home!
— DeeAnn Mercier, executive director of the Broadway Business Improvement District

Brian Michasiw recommends a product of the week for the Brainsport Times.

As a young kid in school I spent most of my time drawing pictures of running shoes when I was supposed to be learning math and science. Owning Brainsport for the last 29 years has without a doubt been a roller coaster of emotions, but thinking back to being that kid I feel like the luckiest person on the planet.
— Brian Michasiw, Brainsport owner

Brainsport has been my shoe store since it started as a tiny shop on Broadway, 29 years ago. I think of Brian and the staff as friends. Because of their special customer attention, I look forward to buying shoes at Brainsport the way that some people look forward a hair cut.
— Greg McKee, customer

Over the past five years living in Saskatoon, not only have I experienced the wonderful staff and expertise at Brainsport through their partnership in the Saskatoon Symphony’s Beat Beethoven event this year (and also having bought shoes there myself), but I’ve also had the great pleasure of living right next door to Brian Michasiw and his family for that whole time!
— Eric Paetkau, Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra conductor

We are honored to be partnered with the Brainsport family in the spirit of doing our best to add value to all the incredible customers they serve. Thank you for bringing us into your world. Congratulations on 29 years. And here is to 29 more!
— Billy Price, CoFounder of BILLY Footwear

For 29 years Brainsport has been a hub within our local running community. It’s positive impact on the community and on those who have pursued health and fitness all the way to high performance levels has been well recorded and something that I, myself, have benefited from. Today, Brainsport is one of the strongest supporters of the Huskie Track and Field Cross Country program and I am immensely proud of this connection and support. Congratulations Brainsport on your 29 years!
— Jason Reindl, Head Coach UofS Huskies Track and Field Cross Country, Client & Community Partner

Over the years I have witnessed and taken part in many great community events Brainsport has led or supported. I witnessed or have come to learn about beautiful acts of kindness and generosity that uplift community and people because it’s the right thing to do. Brainsport has been instrumental in the development of Saskatchewan Aboriginal Track & Field (SaskATF) and the promotion of athletics, a true passion of our board of directors, coaches, parents and athletes. I say cheers to Brian and the Brainsport family for the genuine and caring hospitality you continue to share with your patrons and the people in our community. Happy 29th Brainsport, you’re a beauty!
— Derek Rope, Business Owner and Track and Field builder

Jim Siemens, left, is served by Brainsport co-founder Debbie Harksen in 1991.

Brainsport is simply the epitome of excellence in a local business. They don’t just give back to the community — they build community. They model excellence for our youth and all those that visit the shop or take part in Brainsport events. I remember watching Brian make it look easy in high school as he ran away from the rest of us on the track and he and his team are still leading the way in so many innovative ways. Thanks for continuing to help us see what’s possible.
— Jim Siemens, customer

Brainsport means three things to me:
Firstly COMMUNITY Brainsport is an encouraging , supportive community for runners at all levels.
Secondly SERVICE
Brainsport is knowledgeable about their products and provide excellent service
Brainsport is very generous in supporting local charities and the global running community.
Three reasons why Brian and Brainsport is an outstandingly day essential hub for the Saskatoon running community.
— Jan Stirling – Brainsport Running club member , client and volunteer leader.

As an organizer of large team events, we had the opportunity to work with Brainsport on outfitting our athletes with all the gear! We were blessed to have the employees at Brainsport go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure everything was perfect for our athletes. Nice to be treated like family!
— Mike Tanton, Chef de Mission, Team Saskatchewan, North American Indigenous Games

I got a late start in my running, at about age 35, and have probably run in the neighbourhood of about 50,000 km since. I started running at Brainsport the second year the store opened and have been going ever since. I have had many good memories of the store providing high quality products and a place to build lifetime friendships. I know Brian has a great business, and a great place for people to get together and run and walk at their own level. I would like to give honorable mention to the late Ric Hanna who gave so much inspiration to so many with his dedicated desire for running and is now honored by Brainsport each year in its award to the person showing the most loyalty and dedication to the running community.
— Ed Tomlinson

Jason Warick, left, and Brian Michasiw

I’ve seen first hand how Brainsport has changed the lives of thousands of runners in Kenya, Niger, Guatemala and here at home with the shoe donation program that started when Brian and I partnered with Olympic champion Kip Keino. Those used or new shoes are continuing to help people enjoy healthier, more active lives, but it’s also allowed many athletes to train harder and healthier, win races (including 3 Olympic golds) and then earn a living for their families.
— Jason Warick, Sask. marathon record holder, Former Brainsport clinic coach

Randy and Judy Warick with Brian Michasiw and Kip Keino. Randy and Judy joined Brian to bring hundreds of pairs of running shoes to disadvantaged athletes in Kenya and Guatemala.

Brian and Brainsport contribute generously not only to the Saskatoon Community, but also to places in other countries.
We previously accompanied Brian and Jason to Kenya and Guatemala bringing hundreds of pairs of shoes to their upcoming disadvantaged athletes. (Pictured above with Kip Keino)
In my 56 years of racing I can not count the shoes gone through and therefore, really appreciate how Great they are at fitting you just right!
— Judy Warick, Member of the Saskatoon Sports Hall of Fame and Brainsport customer

Brainsport fits in 3 categories for me…
Personally: I grew up working in Brainsport over 15 years, and it made me a better person for a lifetime.
Professionally: I got to be a part of Saskatoon’s best independent business, and it taught me so much that will stay with me for a lifetime of whatever work I do.
Community: The city, province and country where I live are better for what Brainsport has done and continues to do, the example it sets and the relationships it fosters.
— Kirby Wirchenko, former employee