More than a day job

Identical twins Jane Huggins and Julie Hudson run a successful business by day and marathons by night.

Julie Hudson and Jane Huggins have competed in multiple running events, including 14 marathons, and are training for this month’s Route 66 Marathon.

Identical twins Jane Huggins and Julie Hudson know what it takes to run a business — and a marathon. The co-owners of iidentity Salon on Brookside apply their business principles while hitting the pavement, training for the upcoming Route 66 Marathon, which takes place Nov. 20.

“Running is like building a business,” Hudson says. “It takes persistence, dedication and hard work. As a stylist, your clientele isn’t built overnight, and training for a marathon doesn’t happen that way either.”

Competitive by nature, Hudson and Huggins ran track in high school, followed by sporadic running before resuming their passion for the sport. Somewhere in between — spring/prom season of 2000, to be exact — they opened iidentity Salon.

“We were inspired to open our own salon because we wanted a comfortable environment with excellent customer service, all while providing the most modern, new looks from magazines and runway shows to our clients right here in Tulsa,” Huggins says.

While they worked on their business, their families grew as well. After giving birth to her daughter in 1998, Hudson decided to start running again to get back in shape and found that entering races was a great motivator.

“I realized if I didn’t set a goal, like a 5K run or the Tulsa Run, I was not as motivated to get out and run,” she says. “My running accomplishments came from setting a goal to run a marathon and actually getting to the start months later.”

Huggins began running with her sister to get in shape. Amid the demands of life, the two have found psychological benefits to running, in addition to the physical benefits.

“As our business has grown, the stress of a growing, thriving business and families has led us to the road more and more often,” Huggins says. “Running is a huge stress reliever for us.”

Both have competed in numerous 5K runs and half-marathons, as well as 14 full marathons.

“One marathon I quit and rode the bus at mile 16,” Hudson says. “I learned a lot from this; quitting doesn’t feel good.”

One way to ensure that she doesn’t hitch any more bus rides to the finish line is through proper preparation. Huggins and Hudson have been training with Fleet Feet Sports Tulsa, an athletic shoe store and group training program for walkers and runners of all levels, for the past four years.

“We first ran onto the knowledge of Fleet Feet — literally,” Huggins says. “ … We had been training on our own and had participated in about three marathons when we were running the OKC (Memorial) Marathon for the second time.

“Their pace coaches and groups of runners would pass us on the course. Being friendly, they would ask us to join them or come by the store to find out about running with them.

“After the embarrassment of being passed by them twice, we decided to check them out. We joined the marathon program, which consists of weekly group runs and Saturday group long runs. The support and knowledge of their friendly staff and coaches make this a no-brainer.”

Hudson says she’s looking forward to the Route 66 Marathon because she can actually train on the course on which she will compete, alongside her regular running partners.

“Fleet Feet has built an amazing running community to help all meet their running goals, from 5Ks to marathons,” Hudson says. “Just like a small business of hairdressers, my sister and I think working as a creative team helps inspire. You get better results and everyone ends up learning. It’s so much easier to accomplish your goals if you are with like-minded people with goals.”

In the spirit of inspiration, the twins encourage their stylists to participate in running events by paying their entry fees (usually a donation to a charity) and by providing iidentity Salon team running jerseys.

Their passion for running even crosses over into serving the community. From 2000 to 2008, when the Tulsa Run route passed in front of their salon, and now for the current Route 66 Marathon route, Hudson and Huggins provided, and still provide, a water station for participants. Stylists at iidentity volunteer their time by manning the water station.

“The benefits are endless for us, our employees and the community,” Huggins says. “Running our local races means everything to us. The Route 66 Marathon is one spectacular event. It involves our local community, our running groups, our clients and also gives back to Tulsa.

“Just volunteering for the Tulsa Run for so many years, as a group event for our salon, has introduced the sport of running, the feel-good benefits of giving back and the community of teamwork to all who participate.”

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