Welcome to the tenth in our series of articles showcasing specialty run and outdoor retail stores where we focus on their commitment to trail running through in-store programs, brand inclusion, events and more. Spotlight on Specialty is presented by Saucony. As of this writing, the Colorado Running Company has been closed since March 19 but does plan to reopen on Monday, May 4th.
The Colorado Running Company, affectionately known by locals as CRC, is located in ‘The Springs’ with access to paved and rocky trails just a few hundred meters away from the store. The famed Pikes Peak, elevation 14,115 feet, and the Manitou Incline are in CRC’s backyard in nearby Manitou Springs, as are a multitude of open spaces and parks – city, county, and state – in Colorado Springs offering an abundance of trails.
Our executive director Nancy Hobbs spoke with store manager John O’Neill to learn more about Colorado Running Company and the local trail running community.
[Nancy] Share three featured trail running-related programs you promote at Colorado Running Company.
[John] We offer trail running clinics, talks and presentations by elite trail runners and coaches, and personal trail running programs. One recent highlight was having Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run winner and former Appalachian Trail record holder Scott Jurek talk to our community.
[Nancy] How have you showcased trail-running brands and products in your store?
[John] CRC is known for being “trail central’ in Colorado Springs. We estimate about 90% of all trail races host packet pickup in our store. We also host demo runs with shoes and packs and offer a variety of products designed for trail runners.
[Nancy] What is one positive lesson you have learned from integrating trail running programs into your store?
[John] I’ve been running on trails since 1968 and learned early on that you can’t fake being a trail runner. You need to know how to get around on your local trails and what products work best for weather and trail conditions your area. Trails found in New York City’s Central Park are quite a bit different from those found in the Colorado Springs region. A good example is the Barr Trail up nearby Pikes Peak (pictured below). This is a popular high elevation trail running route where runners need to ensure they are properly prepared and equipped prior to heading out. We love helping trail runners make this route the run of a lifetime!
[Nancy] Do you have any advice to other store owners who have yet to feature trail running products?
[John] You can’t just dabble in trail. You’ve got to embrace the whole lifestyle. This means having store staff educated about trail running products and carrying not just trail shoes but also hydration gear, nutrition products and clothing designed for trail runners.
[Nancy] Can you share three tips for individuals considering getting into trail running?
[John] The big one that it’s okay to walk if the trail gets too steep to run comfortably. Make the goal of your trail runs elapsed time rather than hitting a certain milage. Finally, have fun out there and take the time to enjoy the views!
[Nancy] What percentage of sales does your store generate from trail running shoes/gear/products?
[John] About 18% of our sales come from trail running shoes and gear. Trail has always been a big part of our business so we expect it to hold its percentage sales as store revenue increases.
[Nancy] What are some trail running races or other events that are supported by the CRC?
[John] We are very active in supporting local events throughout the year including:
- Search and Rescue Run – held annually on January 1.
- Mad Moose Events (ATRA member) – over a dozen events throughout the year in Colorado & Utah.
- Bash the Bluffs – held annually in April at University of Colorado Colorado Springs.
- Palmer Lake July 4th Fun Run – held each July 4 in Palmer Lake, CO.
- Barr Trail Mountain Race – held every July since 2000.
- Cheyenne Mountain Run (ATRA member) – held each October since 2006.
In addition we support non-racing programs including the Incline Club Runs, Sole Sisters Running Club and Buds & Brews. We were also proud to support the American Trail Running Association’s 2017 Pikes Peak Trekker expedition that captured Google Street-view imagery of the Pikes Peak Marathon course, Manitou Incline and Garden of the Gods.
Colorado Running Company Contact Information:
Facebook page: facebook.com/coloradorunningcompany
Owner: Jeff Tarbert
Manager: John O’Neill
Store Location: 5262 N. Nevada Ave. Ste 140 Colorado Springs, CO 80918
Years in Business: 20 years
Editor’s Note: Be safe as we continue to navigate the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to follow the recommendations and updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including proper hygiene practices. Also consider reading iRunFar’s COVID-19: A Trail Running and Ultrarunning Community Guide.