Splashes of color dot the floor around Gabrielle Holt’s feet.
Each one tells its own story.
Pale tangerine signifies countless hours spent in the Florida sunshine.
A vibrant Tiffany blue depicts Holt’s passion for color.
And the newest addition — gray with streaks of blue and purple — shows the importance of comfort and durability.
Each color offers its own unique glimpse into Holt’s personality, but it’s what holds the color together on the inside — the biomechanics — that captures Holt’s attention.
To most people, they are simply running shoes — Nike running shoes, to be exact. The telltale swoosh says it all. But, for the former Riverview High cross-country and track runner, they are sources of inspiration and motivation.
Holt is hoping to turn her passion for running and her love of shoes into a lifelong career.
Holt has aspirations of working for the Nike Sport Research Lab, putting athletes through scientific testing and training drills to help determine product development. That information is then turned over to the design lab, which creates the actual shoe.
“The Nike Sport Research Lab is at the forefront of the process,” Holt says. “I’m interested in the scientific part of it.”
Holt first became inspired to work for Nike after reading an article in Running Times magazine during her sophomore year of high school. The article was about a runner who had the same perpetual injury and how Nike was using biomechanics to assist her.
Holt, who always has worn Nike shoes because of her narrow foot, was immediately enthralled with the idea.
“It just clicked,” Holt says. “It would definitely be a dream come true to be there. I’m really passionate about health, in general, and anything to get people active on a fitness level is really important to me.”
An avid runner, Holt was first exposed to running after talking to her aunt, Regina Morris. Morris, an avid marathon runner, showed Holt all of her running medals and told her the benefits of running long term.
Holt first took to the track in eighth grade, focusing on the 200- and 400-meter runs. But Holt soon found that sprinting wasn’t for her and transitioned to distance running before the start of her freshman year at Riverview.
“I like the end of the race, and the fact that you can keep going when you know other people can’t is really (exciting),” Holt says. “My aunt is definitely my inspiration.”
Holt spent the next four years running cross-country and track for the Lady Rams until graduating in May.
Over the summer, Holt enrolled at Florida State University where she plans to major in exercise science. She also hopes to land an internship with Nike next summer to gain more experience and move one step closer to fulfilling her dream.
In addition to preparing for her future, Holt also plans to join some type of running club at FSU as a way to meet new people and maintain an active lifestyle.
“The thing I definitely miss the most about cross-country is the family atmosphere,” Holt says. “Saying goodbye to them was really hard.”
Gabrielle Holt owns about 30 pairs of shoes, ranging in color from basic black to bright orange and vibrant blue. And she always makes sure to have at least three pairs of running shoes available at any given time. Although, she admits she would have more if she could.
“I love shoes,” Holt says. “Going into Fit2Run is like a little kid going into a candy store. I have snapshots of the walls of sneakers. When I get a new pair of running shoes, it’s like Christmas — and color definitely makes a difference.”