Steamboat couple starts website to motivate the unmotivated to exercise |

Steamboat couple starts website to motivate the unmotivated to exercise

Shelley Cox (right) and mother, Winnie Felch (left) walk together after Felch's knee surgery. Shelley and Ian Cox have started a business to help incentivize people to exercise.
Courtesy photo

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A lot of people hate exercising, but wish they did it more.

The incentive: to get fit, be healthy and look fit.

But sometimes, the intangibles aren’t enough motivation. It takes too long to see physical results, so that incentive to keep going can start to dim.

Steamboat Springs residents Ian and Shelley Cox want to change that through their new website

Ian got the idea from his niece, Allison Hawkins, in England. Hawkins started, a website where members enter running, biking or swimming goals and accomplishments then receive a T-shirt or medal each month.

Hawkins only needed 117 members to start her business, now she has 10,000 members in the U.K.

“She’s done really well and we really feel there’s a market for it here in Steamboat,” Ian said.

Ian joined Hawkins’ website when he was returning to running after an accident where he fell 8 feet and broke 12 ribs, a shoulder and crushed two vertebrae.

After a back fusion and two infection operations, Ian spent five months on the couch. He joined Hawkins’ website during his second month of being cleared to exercise. He found that, as he ran, he’d push himself to go the extra mile to engrave on his medal.

“On my third month, I went back to running and I ran a personal best of 204 miles in January 2017.” 

At 66 years old, Ian believes fitness is important at an older age and sometimes people don’t want to put in the effort to start or rehabilitate an injury.

As an avid runner, 59-year-old Shelley has endured a number of foot injuries and cannot always meet her goals in mileage, but she still enjoys seeing the work that she’s able to put in on a medal.

She’s even encouraged her mother, Winnie Felch, to start exercising at 92 years old.

“Coming off a knee replacement, she’s done 21 times 0.18 miles,” Shelley said. “It might only be a little over 3 miles, but for someone rehabbing at 92, that’s an accomplishment.”

The website stays true to what running is about: racing against personal records. There’s no intimidation factor, or even measuring up to others.

That’s what makes it encouraging. Ian loves browsing Hawkins’ website and seeing what people share about their accomplishments.

“It gave me goosebumps because you can see the pride in their faces, wearing their medals in the photos,” Ian said.

While Shelley and Ian hope to expand their site as a social fitness community, where runners can talk about injuries or local races, it’s also meant to provide motivation to get people to work out.

“It’s more for kind of normal people or people rehabbing with physical therapy of all ages,” Shelley said. “We’re not really a race, we’re really about fitness.”

For $15 per month, participants fill out a form at aracef and list their goals on a race entry form. From there, they log their miles at the end of the month on a “Race Evidence” form.

Ian and Shelley send engraving orders to Craft Awards and choose different designs every month to provide for participants.

They hope to gain enough members to fund custom medal orders for more personalized features.

“Most people wish they would exercise more,” Shelley said. “Any way to get people to exercise more, 15 is less than a gym membership you might not use.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

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