Grady Anderson is relatively new to the Missoula running scene, but is quickly making his mark. As a former standout runner at North Dakota State (don’t hold that against him), he can be easily spotted at the front of most races in town and just finished 5th overall in the Treasure State Trail Series. Grady recently tested the wind and water resistant New Balance Reflective Lite Jacket

Elk Ramble 15k

By Grady Anderson

The first signs of winter have finally hit Missoula. It’s time to curl up around the fire, drink some hot chocolate, read a good book, and of course…RUN! Last week was a wild day up on Mt. Jumbo for everyone who got to experience the Elk Ramble 15K. Snowy, slippery, hilly terrain with a beautiful view of wintery Missoula to top it all off. With the cold weather approaching and the relentless rain and snow I was relieved to demo New Balance’s Running Jacket which blends simplicity, reliability, weight, and style all in one. I have hardly taken it off in the last month. It’s great in almost any temperature and strong enough to take on the rain, wind, snow, or just the wintery chill that comes through town this time of year. In the running world, New Balance is stepping up their game across the board. As a young buck, I remember my coach wearing New Balance shoes that looked like this…

Nowadays, New Balance is the coolest of the cool. They’re the only large shoe company that has an American-made shoe, they sponsor some of the greatest athletes in the sport, and their gear just keeps getting better and better. This renovation shines through in their new Reflective Lite Running Jacket, and this month I was lucky enough to zip it up and give it a go!

As I said earlier, I’ve worn this jacket almost every day since the beginning of October, so let’s just say it’s been really good to me. First of all, I look great in blue, so I was beyond excited to have a new blue piece to add to my wardrobe. The jacket is nice fitting. I wear a medium for pretty much everything, and this jacket was true to fit. It’s not too small or too large. I can throw a long-sleeve on underneath for the colder days or just bring it along as an extra layer for those classic Montana weather days that can’t seem to make up their mind. I think the ease and versatility of this jacket is what makes it such a vital for any runner. I’ve honestly never had such a light jacket that provides so much warmth. Honestly, that may be my biggest complaint about it…I get too hot. Most rain jackets are known for their lack of breathability, and this one is no exception, it gets hot in there! But, when you need that added wind block it’s as solid as they come. And, if you do get hot I have another piece of advice for you…take it off! It rolls up into a tiny ball that weighs approximately as much as a leaf. An awesome piece of gear for those weight-conscious runners, or just someone who looks good in blue.


As I mentioned before, the force of versatility is strong with this jacket. I’ve worn it hiking, running, mountain biking, and grocery shopping (it gets cold in the frozen isle). I will remind you that it’s thin, so it may not be the best in bushwhacking scenarios as I feel it could tear easily on branches or god-forsaken prickers. All in all, it’s a sound jacket that just does the job, and looks good doing it!

Talking about looks, I need to reiterate the statement that this jacket is just plain cool. I’m not one to wear running stuff around in public, but I’ve succumbed recently thanks to this awesome layer. The hood is a great bonus for those nasty rain days, or just a little added warmth. As someone who’s never owned a running jacket with hood, I have to say, it’s wonderful! With this section of praise, I need to mention what a great piece of reflective gear this is. I remember a girl in college making the whole team wear fluorescent construction vests on morning runs in Fargo (This is a true story). I hope she’s realized that New Balance has her covered now, as I was blown away at how fluorescent this jacket is. It literally glows! Because of this amazing technology (I’m guessing it’s made of fireflies), it’s become my jacket of choice with the days getting shorter and the runs getting darker. It’s relieving to know that cars, and Missoula deer, can see you coming from a ways away!

Overall, I really have enjoyed the New Balance Lite Running Jacket. It’s great for the all-weather runner, the city cruiser, the ultra-running fiend, or an athletic grocery shopper. The balance of good looks, lightweight, and reflectivity makes it one of the most versatile jackets I’ve ever worn with the ability to keep you warm when you really need it. But don’t take my word for it. Stop in the store to check it out yourself, and be happy you’re not wearing those terrible shoes!

Until next time. Happy Trails!