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Mom and Pop: Potomac River Running

Reston is a runner or walkers paradise — with miles and miles of trails, you can go pretty much anywhere by foot. And if you’re going to use the trails, you need a good pair of running or walking shoes. Potomac River Running is not only the best place around to find them, it’s a locally owned shop, and I love that.

 

Just because they’re a mom-and-pop shop doesn’t mean they aren’t insanely successful—they have eight locations throughout Northern Virginia, with the Reston shop located at Reston Town Center. All that since opening their first store in 2003! In that short time they have also been voted one of the 50 Best Running Stores in America for the past eight years. Each year, Competitor magazine and Running Insight® identify the 50 Best Running Stores in America®.

A True Family Affair

The stores have four owners, all of who are related somehow. Cathy and Margie are sisters who grew up in Fairfax County. Their husbands Ray and Brendan joined them in making this dream a reality. No surprise, before opening the store, they were each heavily involved in the local running community in one way or another. They all ran track and cross country through high school. Cathy, Ray and Margie enjoyed successful running careers in college. Cathy and Ray met while running for the same professional post-collegiate racing team. Margie continues to race triathlons professionally. Brendan is proof that being a “middle of the packer” is okay too.

One of the things I most admire about Potomac River Running is their commitment to the community. It’s not just about selling running gear to them. They want people to walk and run together, to feel the joy of being surrounded by people who will always root for you. The offer training programs and fun runs from the store, and their races are a blast. Not only do they support charities throughout the region, the participants eagerly await each race simply because they are so much fun (costumes play a major roll in this).

As our world gets bigger, finding connection in community is so important. And Potomac River Running is a model of how to do that in a small specialty store. No, not every person in Reston has a reason to shop there. But the people who do are very loyal. If you run or walk, I suggest wandering over to Potomac River Running and saying hi. The staff will love to spend some time chatting with you.

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