Boulder Running Company x Fleet Feet Hosts Fundraising Run for Marshall Fire Victims

A large group of runners stand outside the Fleet Feet store in Boulder, Colorado.

Let’s face it, one of the best things about running is the way it builds connections and camaraderie.

No matter how fit, fast or experienced we might be as runners, the thing we share in common when we lace up a pair of shoes and go for a group run together is a genuine interest in what’s happening in our local community.

That’s been evident recently in Boulder, Colorado, where a devastating wildfire tore through the neighboring towns of Marshall, Louisville and Superior on Dec. 30 and destroyed more than 1,000 homes.

Since the fire, the local running community and national running brands have helped answer the call to help those in need with financial contributions and donations of running shoes, apparel and household items.

A group of runners gather inside the Fleet Feet Boulder Running Company store.

As a bright, shining example of that, more than 200 runners signed up for the Marshall Fire Community Support Run organized by the Boulder Running Company. The run was held as an in-person event from the store on the morning of Jan. 22, but also offered as a virtual event for people interested in contributing if they couldn’t join the run.

“It was awesome,” says Keaton Reece, a Boulder Running Company store manager. “The community turned up in a big way. It was so cool to be a part of it.”

The $5,000 proceeds from the $25 sign-up fee went directly to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund, while donated shoes and gear were donated to the Marshall Fire Free Store and Boulder Voices for Children.

“As runners, we’re obviously people who like to run, but we’re also people from the community who live here and work here and have kids in school here,” says Boulder-area runner Lis Wright. “We’ve all been impacted by the fires. I have two friends who lost their homes and I’ve donated clothes and shoes to them, but this is something I am happy to do to help the greater community. This is a great show of force of the running community giving back to the community as a whole.”

The 5K run followed a portion of the store’s typical Thursday night fun run course along Goose Creek bike path. Afterward, there was a chance to hang out, eat snacks and mingle, all in the name of a good cause.

“People are gung-ho to try to do something and looking for a way to help,” says Boulder Running Company customer service staffer Hank Church. “A lot of people have said, ‘I don’t know what I can give or do, but I like running, so how can I help out?’ Essentially that’s what every community fund is all about and that was the essence of our run. It was a lot of people showing up and meeting each other for the first time and trying to create even more community out of that, which is really cool.”

Runners and shoppers gather inside the Fleet Feet Boulder Running Company store.

In addition to many local residents — including a few who were directly impacted by the fire — Marshall Fire Community Support Run also attracted local sales reps from many national brands.

Plus, Saucony donated 1,000 pairs of shoes and New Balance donated 500 pairs. Feetures and Balega gave a combined 1,800 of pairs of socks, while numerous other store vendors — including On, Altra and ASICS — contributed significant financial donations, as did Fleet Feet (on behalf of Boulder Running Company).

Boulder Running Company has been a staple of the Boulder County running community since it opened in 1997. Fleet Feet acquired in December as part of its purchase of the JackRabbit collection of running stores.

“Running is about fitness, but at the end of the day, the social connections we make, the personal connections we make, go so much deeper than just fitness,” Reece says. “It really impacts who we are as people, and it contributes to the impact we can have on others as well.”

Make a tax-free donation to the Boulder County Wildfire Fund.

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