Local marathon runner Futris turns passion into growing business
Marcey Futris knows how to push herself to the finish line whether she's running a marathon or running a business.
She wears a ring with the words "Peaceful Warrior," nike sb free run 2 a gift from her husband, Pete, when she ran her 76th marathon in her 50th state in Hartford, Conn., in 2011.
"We had seen that on a sign while running a marathon in Dallas," Futris said. She's carried that mantra ever since as she motivates herself and others to pursue their passions.
Her love for running compels her to cheer on others and help them celebrate their victories by displaying their hard earned medals. Futris created SportHooks, a metal medal display company, to give running and other sports enthusiasts a personalized place to show off their hardware.
"I built the business from an idea to a prototype to an ever expanding global business," said Futris, who owns the trademarks for SportHooks and HeavyMedalz. "Success is my only option. Let passion drive your profession! Those are my mottos."
Futris knows that medals are earned through miles and miles of training and dedication, something true athletes can understand.
She designed her first SportHooks display in 2006 for a friend. She then tested the market at an expo in Austin, where she sold out. Futris ran her first half marathon and first marathon in 2000 in Austin so her first business milestone there was fitting, she said.
Now she is shipping thousands of orders out of her Waco production studio to 50 retailers nationwide and even a distributor in Norway. Vendors in Guatemala and Mexico are on the radar.
After her first marathon, Futris became a "marathon maniac" determined to run the 26.2 mile stretch in all 50 states. She wanted a functional and stylish way to display her medals and knew other runners like herself were proud of their hard earned bling.
SportHooks is an official licensee of the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series and Iron Man Triathlon, both highly sought after licenses and well respected in the running community.
It is also the only medal display company that has worked with runDisney, ESPN "Wide World of Sports" and "The Biggest Loser" as well as elite runner and Olympian Meb Kefleghi.
Futris made it to Round 2 on "Shark Tank" when the TV show called her three years ago.
"We've kind of been playing with some big dogs," Futris said.
Pete began working with SportHooks full time in July, and they have brought production in house with an on site production facility.
They produce SportHooks for charity races and individuals as well as popular marathons throughout the country. They recently made 100 pieces for the Space Coast Challenge in Florida.
Futris travels to more than 50 expos annually across the country including Boston, Chicago and Disney events.
"I enjoy mentoring the hundreds of people who come to my booth to purchase, but also get some running inspiration and camaraderie," she said. Custom designs can be requested to reflect the personality and special interests of the athlete.
"We use a team of businesses right here in Waco to make it all happen, including our local USPS, Englander, Axiom, Bain Paper Company and Integ. It takes a village," Futris said.
In addition to running, SportHooks also makes medal displays for other sports such as downhill ski racing, rodeo, soccer, swimming, gymnastics, karate, wrestling and equestrian events.
"One of my favorites is for a family who lost their child to cancer, Futris said. "It nike f shoes has his image running and a quote." Another design was done in memory of a son who died on the football field.
A runner since high school, Futris still finds time to "sneak" in some races, most recently the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco and the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Antonio.
The Futrises moved to Waco from Chicago in 1998 when Pete took a position with M Mars. She and Pete have been married for 29 years and have two daughters, Ashley, 26, and Katie, 23.
"Pete had run three Chicago marathons in the 1980s, and I thought he was crazy," Futris said. She began her adult running career with a half marathon and was inspired by former Midway physical education teacher Jean Garner and Pete to run a full marathon in Austin in 2000.
That got Futris "hooked" and she set a goal to run a marathon in all 50 states. She accomplished that feat in 2011 and has run 88 marathons to date on three continents. She ran a marathon in Greece, the site nike shoes tanjun of the first marathon, as well as Berlin and Rio de Janeiro. In May she'll run on her fourth continent at The Great Wall of China Marathon as she works toward being a member of the Seven Continents Club.
Certain races have taken on special meaning for Futris, such as the Nike Women's where she received a Tiffany necklace. Most of the runners were leukemia and lymphoma survivors.
"The song 'I'm Alive' came on, and I thought, 'I'm so lucky to be doing this,' "Futris said.
She and Pete were at the Boston Marathon as vendors in April.
"Flags were flying from every country in Boston," she recalled. "We were on a plane on our way home, when we heard about the bombing. A lot of times we work the finish line, and I've run that marathon twice."