Logan Brooks, 6, and his 9-year-old brother Brian were headed out on Brian’s bicycle to play some Saturday morning football at an elementary school by their house in Coos Bay, Oregon, with the younger sibling riding on the handlebars.
Nobody really knows what happened next that day in January of 1987.
“There was a stop sign. Somehow, we went out into the street and I got hit and pretty much took the brunt of it. Fractured my skull,” Logan Brooks recalled. “I was told I was millimeters from being brain dead.”
He was left for dead by a nurse who happened on the scene as the boys’ dad rushed to the scene.
“I was laying in a pool of blood. The nurse told him that I was dead, actually gone and we don’t need to focus on him, we need to focus on this one here that’s alive. My brother in the end came out almost completely unscathed.”
Logan was unconscious and teetering on the edge of life, his face and body badly disfigured.
Rescued and stabilized in Coos Bay, he was eventually taken by air ambulance to Portland, where he required months of hospitalization, reconstructive surgeries and rehabilitation.
“I almost felt like I had a superpower instilled in me that day,” he said. “From that day forward, I have never really been afraid of anything. I think that was built through something that occurred in those moments afterwards. I’ve never stepped down from a challenge.”
And there were plenty of them.
Fast forward a decade or so from the accident, and just having graduated from high school, Brooks followed his brothers to Arizona, a little bit directionless, looking for work and something to help shape his future.
“It was either go to school in small town Oregon or take a chance,’ he said.
“Looking back, as I’ve gotten a little older, I wonder ‘what the hell was I thinking and how did I make it through that?’ But I think it’s just part of who I am. From what I remember I never looked back,” he said.
Brooks spent the next decade searching for purpose and dealing with challenges. A severe bout of insomnia cost him a marriage and he began to search for something to make him feel like his life, miraculously spared, had some meaning.
He happened to have grown up in the same town as distance running legend and Olympian Steve Prefontaine.
Even years after Prefontaine’s death, Brooks stumbled on his inspiration. He took up running on a whim, traversing trails in Arizona.
“This is exactly where I was supposed to be; This is exactly the sport I was supposed to find. This is the meditation I was supposed to find,” he said. “I took up trail running when I was about 29 years old and I’ve never looked back. It just became my absolute passion.”
Ironically, Prefontaine died in an auto accident while he was running for the University of Oregon, training for the 1976 Olympics, years before Logan Brooks was born.
“In the running work, he was a god,” Brooks said. “He was the guy who made running cool. He died in a car accident and there were some parallels there. Running went from nobody knew what running in America was to this guy changing the idea of what running even meant to our country.”
Inspired, Brooks took up road racing, continues running competitively to this day, and wanted to help others do the same.
But there was more frustration. More setback. Ready to open a running shop in Prescott, the timing, finances and his personal situation sunk those plans and Brooks found himself living in Queen Creek, making a go at having a family.
After some market research, he transferred his plans south from Prescott and opened Queen Creek Running Company in 2018, a specialty shop devoted to all things running.
Tucked inconspicuously between a doughnut shop and a tanning salon, Brooks aims to help customers who have taken their running to the next level and want to be competitive, focusing on individual service.
“Amazon and all these other institutions and softwares have ruined that handshake between people where they can come in and get physical attention and technical knowledge,” Brooks said.
And there is a lot of technical knowledge wedged into this strip mall store at the corner of Chandler Heights and Power Rd. Brooks and his business partner Karl Neimeister greet customers with a series of questions to help narrow down what it is that the runner is looking for in a pair of shoes.
What are you running for? What’s your weekly mileage target is your goal, and what’s your injury history and basic knowledge of running and how your body reacts to it?
Armed with that knowledge, it’s off to a multi-colored machine with lights and screens … the Aetrex foot scanner.
“It gives us clear dimensions of your foot. Everything from the length of your foot to the width of your foot to the height of your instep to the girth of your arch,” he said.
And it gives us a map of the pressure under your foot so it shows us where you have a tendency to lean and how you pressurize or depressurize your foot. We can literally zoom in and show them a 3-D image of their foot.”
Brooks sends that image electronically to a specialist who can create a shoe insert, or orthotic, for the customer within a few days.
Using the Aetrex image, Brooks helps the customer select a shoe that is best for their foot. Then he puts them on the treadmill over against the wall to test the shoe and see if it really is the best one for the customer’s foot.
“I bought a new pair of Sauconys for an upcoming event that I have. I have two more months of training,” said Alexis Earhart. “I needed a good pair of shoes and I needed someone who knew what they were talking about and would analyze my gait and my foot and give me the appropriate recommendations.”
In a good week, Brooks sells about 150 pairs of shoes.
Because his business is small, he takes his time and focuses on each customer as they come through the door. The business is growing though and, Brooks says, will need more space soon.
Brooks wants Queen Creek Running Co. to be an integral part of the business community.
“We eventually would like to put on a couple of races here in this area. There is no point in being successful and making money without giving back,” he said.