Running shoes, water jugs on RunTex auction block

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by SHANNON MURRAY / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @ShannonM_KVUE

kvue.com

Posted on May 7, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Updated Tuesday, May 7 at 7:30 PM

AUSTIN -- Hundreds of people filled the well-known RunTex store on South 1st and Riverside, the same corner it's been on for 25 years.

RunTex owed nearly $80,000 in rent and more than $17,000 in back taxes to Travis County. Within a few hours the county was paid back. They estimate the auction brought in more than $60,000.

"I was actually sad," said bidder and local gym owner David DeLeon. "It is a local landmark. They brought so much to the Austin community and especially the fitness world. It's sad to see them go."

"I really wanted to come down and show our support and thank the owner for what he's done for all these years and just be a part of it," said runner and bidder Gail Frye.

Boxes of T-shirts, stacks of running shoes, even several RunTex vehicles -- all of it went to the highest bidder.

Some of the items were personal to owner Paul Carrozza, including running shoes that belonged to President George W. Bush. They sold for $1,450.

"I knew exactly what shoe he wanted, so when he made president I called up Mizuno, and they specially made these shoes for him," Carrozza said.

Carrozza sat on President Bush's council on sports and fitness for two years.

"He sent back those shoes with that nice note saying that these shoes had carried him through an eventful year, which was 9/11, so they're pretty historic," he said.

Another special item is the torch Carrozza carried in the 2002 Olympics, which sold for $1,200.

"I didn't realize how special it was going to be until they handed me that torch, and the flame was there. It was really emotional," he remembered.

"A lot of historic items, a lot of culturally significant items for Austin," said Travis County Tax Assessor and Collector Bruce Elfant.

Elfant says unfortunately auctions like this are common.

"It's very sad. Such a well-known, beloved company in this city, and they've been very good to the community," Elfant said.

Carrozza said he won't give up on RunTex, and the auction Tuesday was another reminder of why.

"I'm rarely speechless, but I don't think I can capture it in words. It's just feeling like your life's work meant something to the community," Carrozza said. "I'm hoping it's just half time."

Carrozza hopes to open another RunTex store in the future, and there are still more fundraisers planned, including a Run for RunTex so they can make that happen. Details of the event are still being figured out.

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