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Racing Into New Markets

By Tom Leary, posted May 9, 2014
Since its founding in 2007, Without Limits has expanded into one of the fastest-growing coaching services in southeastern North Carolina.

With only nine employees under contract, the company provides both running and swimming coaching services to all levels of local athletes, whether they are triathlon runners or just beginners.

The Wilmington-based company has an apparel line it hopes to soon get into retail stores nationwide, as well as a developing new market in Greenville, South Carolina.

Without Limits also directs the annual Quintiles Wrightsville Beach Marathon weekend, which draws thousands of participants and provides an economic boost to the area from visiting runners, company officials said.

“We’re committed to starting a lifestyle of setting goals, not limits,” said Tom Clifford, president and founder of Without Limits.

Clifford started the company in 2007 when several local athletes approached him about helping them improve their running. Clifford, a former competitive runner, welcomed the idea of getting back into the competitive nature of the sport he missed.

“It definitely kick-started my passion again and since [then], I’ve never looked back,” Clifford said.

His idea of combining personal training with track workouts helped generate interest in Wilmington’s running community.

“The involvement from the city was strong, and it enabled us to hire more coaches and create our own sportswear apparel line,” Clifford said. “We promoted the company through newsletters and whatnot, but what was most crucial was social media. It really helped us grow our presence here in Wilmington and let the public know about what we were doing.
“From there, we developed contacts through organized races and Facebook, and most importantly, the athletes we were training at the time really started to excel.”

Without Limits now offers both on-site running and swimming training, along with email and Internet coaching, accessible for people who live elsewhere.

The company organizes running groups around New Hanover County throughout the week and encourages the team atmosphere in each.

“When people are setting personal records, that’s our goal. And when the rest of the group sees that, it begins to really inspire people,” Clifford said.

Now, the company is hoping to expand its training regime to new markets, starting with Greenville.

“Hopefully, the idea will expand in each market,” Clifford said. “For the future, we’ll continue to explore and tinker with coaching models to see what gets the best results for our runners.

“Kind of like Livestrong, this idea grew out of a passion of helping people improve their fitness. I think the start we’ve gotten here in Wilmington is promising for our new market in Greenville and hopefully for other markets down the road.”
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