On the Run with Pacers
November 22, 2022 @ 2:00pm
For approximately 30 years, Pacers Running has been helping those in the communities its stores are in, get the right footwear and stay active.
Starting with its first store in Alexandria, Va., over the years, the company has changed hands, opened more storefronts and expanded into races.
“We are a community based, specialty running store,” says co-owner Chris Farley. “We are an evangelist for runners and walkers, and really all fitness enthusiasts. Our mantra is ‘For every run.’ We are an accessible, inviting, inclusive business and anyone is welcome to come in and be a part of what we’re doing.”
Today, five Pacers Running retail stores are in the D.C. region, with stores in Clarendon (3100 Clarendon Blvd.); Alexandria (1301 King St.); the Navy Yard (300 Tingey St. SE); 14th Street (2104 14th St. NW); and Georgetown.
Pacers Running first opened in Georgetown at 3273 M St. NW in August of 2020 during the pandemic, because it had been searching for an opportunity in the neighborhood for a while.
“The lease ran its course and this August, we were able to move to a different location in Georgetown at 1079 Wisconsin Ave. NW, which we are really excited about,” Farley says. “We offer advice on injuries, where to run, who to run with—running groups are a big part of our stores, and we just look to build a community of those interested in fitness.”
The new space is three levels, comprising 2,500 square feet, and the store is a haven for anyone interested in running.
“We’re going to give you advice on footwear first and foremost, so you can come in and get fit for a pair of shoes, whether you are a beginning runner or experienced runner,” Farley says. “We’re able to help anyone who is trying to move and get active.”
It starts simply with an associate looking at one’s feet with recommendations coming from the foot’s shape and gape, so a custom fit that works best can be found. The diagnosis also includes watching someone walk, stand, walk on a treadmill and addressing any supination or pronation with a footwear solution.
The associate will curate at least three different options from different brands that will work best.
“The No. 1 reason we see people not being able to complete a fitness regimen that they started, is because they get injured, and the No. 1 reason they do is because they have the wrong footwear,” Farley says. “Our goal is to recommend the correct footwear so people can get out there and not have to worry about their feet or injuries.”
Running has defined Farley for most of his life. He ran in high school and at the University of Virginia, and ran marathons at a semi-competitive level.
“Running centers my day, my week, my life—I run a marathon a year,” he says, with his next one being the Philadelphia Marathon later this month. “I’ve run the Marine Corps a number of times, and I’m going after my 24th sub 3-hour marathon in a row. It’s something I am super passionate about.”
His partner, Kathy Dalby, was a cross-country runner in high school who was a member of the track team at Michigan State, runs marathons, and has transitioned into someone who Farley describes as “a real fitness enthusiast.”
The two teamed up after Farley took ownership of his first store in 2003 in Alexandria, and Dalby was working part-time in the store at the time. He convinced her to leave her job as a paralegal to come partner with him in 2005, serving as the majority partner in the event segment of the business.
Both Farley and Dalby are firm believers that there isn’t anything more productive that someone can do to change their life than go for a run.
“There are few things you can do work-wise that you really feel like you did something that has a direct impact on people,” Farley says. “We see that direct impact on our communities and customer base every single day.”
Pacers Running: runpacers.com // @runpacers
Arlington Road Runners Club
Runners of all abilities are invited to take part in the Arlington chapter of the Road Runners Club, which offers a gradual 24-week training program to help anyone achieve their running goals. arlingtonroadrunners.com
DC Capital Striders
Comprised of hundreds of runners from around the D.C. Metro, the Capital Striders offer weekly group runs around the region led by knowledgeable group hosts. They also host two charity running events each year. dccapitalstriders.com
DC Front Runners
A running, walking,and social club for D.C.’s LGBTQ+ community and their friends. For more than 40 years, the DC Front Runners has been one of the most inclusive running clubs in the area, hosting runs and walks for its members. dcfrontrunners.org // @dccapitalstriders
DC Road Runners
For more than 50 years, the DC Road Runner Club has provided a year-round schedule of running events for its membership. There are weekly training runs, monthly social events and plenty of races to get involved in. dcroadrunners.org
District Running Collective
Since 2013, District Running Collective has been club utilizing running to promote wellness, culture, and community. districtrunningcollective.com // @districtrunningcollective
Georgetown Running Club
Designed for the more elite runner, the Georgetown Running Club has both a men’s and women’s team, who compete in races around the D.C. region. grcrunning.com // @grc_running
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Northern Virginia Running Club
A fixture in the running community for more than 50 years, the club is a diverse group made up of local elite athletes, former collegiate competitors, top Masters runners, long time members, and new runners training for their first race. novarunningclub.com // @novarunningclub
Washington Running Club
The WRCs meets for distance runs and coffee in Georgetown every Sunday morning. Members exchange advice and tips on running, participate in races, and enjoy being a part of the running community. washrun.org
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