Combine running and stand-up paddleboarding and what do you get? RUN/SUP®, outdoor sports entrepreneur Tom Losee's increasingly popular training program that fuses his two favorite recreational fitness activities. For more than 10 years, Losee '84 has worked in the stand-up paddleboard business in South Walton, Florida, a beautiful region on the state's northwestern Gulf Coast.
But "work" is the wrong word to describe how Losee spends his days. While spearheading RUN/SUP is indeed his career, the business is a by-product of his passion, created through his entrepreneurial spirit. Losee, who claims he "caught the entrepreneurial bug at a young age," got his start in the paddleboard industry when he cofounded YOLO (You Only Live Once), a line of paddleboards, in 2007 with his friend Jeff Archer.
Over the past few years, Losee has stepped away from the day-to-day operations of YOLO to focus on RUN/SUP.
"I started RUN/SUP because I would consistently find myself torn between choosing to run or stand-up paddle for my workout," Losee explains. "With this program, I've married my two loves."
Running and stand-up paddleboarding are extremely popular in the scenic Panhandle area. In addition to providing great exercise, both activities offer breathtaking views of the region's pristine coastal dune lakes, lush green acres, and, of course, majestic blue ocean.
RUN/SUP is ideal for fitness enthusiasts of all levels, including beginners. Losee offers RUN/SUP programs at the Boathouse Paddle Club at the WaterColor Inn on Western Lake, including classes in SUP Yoga and TRX.
"It's a great way to cross-train," Losee explains of the workout, which typically involves a one-mile group run followed by an interval-style workout on the stand-up paddleboards, including bodyweight squats, push-ups, and core exercises. The entire program is finished in less than an hour.
Born and bred in Long Island, New York, Losee grew up loving the water and was a natural athlete from a young age.
"It was actually at Taft that I first started running," he recalls. "There was a legendary Latin teacher named Donald Oscarson '47 (known as 'Oscie'), who was dean of students for two decades. He had a training program called Jumpers, kind of like Crossfit, that athletes did to stay in shape between seasons, and we had to run a lot. I like to pay homage to that when I think about the role running has played in my life and in my work."
RUN/SUP's tagline is simple but impactful: Let your workout take you somewhere. Part of the beauty of the program is the idea that it can truly be done anywhere there's a body of water, and participants are never in the exact same spot twice. RUN/SUP uses and sells its own line of inflatable paddleboards, which are just as durable as non-inflatable boards.
"The beauty of inflatables is that they come in their own travel bag," Losee says. "We went to Patagonia recently. All you need are your sneakers and your board, and you can take the RUN/SUP experience with you. I like the natural simplicity of it."
As the program gains popularity, RUN/SUP is becoming more than just a workout; it's evolving into a true fitness and lifestyle brand. The company has a small retail store that carries gear and activewear, and RUN/SUP now offers retreats, training certification programs, kids' classes, and a variety of race events.
"The races aren't anything too crazy, but they're very popular," Losee says. "Typically it's a mile run followed by a mile paddle. They're a lot of fun."
What's next for stand-up paddleboarding? Losee, whose daughter, Ella '20, is a Taft middler, would love to see SUP become an intermural at his alma mater someday.
"I just want people to get out and try SUP and enjoy it," he says. "At the end of the day, that's my goal."
—Carola Lovering '07