Hands down the most common question we are asked is “What is Manchester Running Company?” Folks come up to our booth at events or when they see our shirts or banners or jerseys and this is always the first question. When gathered in a group everyone always points to me and says ‘he’s the boss, ask him’, and most often I want to just reply with a good, hearty, “what does it sound like?” Now, of course that would just be rude, and anyone who knows me will tell you I am as gentle as a lamb.
Before we go any further, when referring to the first person I am referring to Patrick Byrne and when I say we (second person?) I mean Patrick Byrne and Tyler Driscoll, co-owners/founders of Manchester Running Company, LLC.
Today, I’ll give you a little insight into what Manchester Running Company is, and I’ll try to be as transparent as possible without getting ahead of the company or myself.
I’ll start by saying it is very ironic that the most common question we get is what is Manchester Running Company, because five years ago when we incorporated we wanted to come up with a name that didn’t beg any questions, we were obviously wrong. The best answer we have come up with for this question is as follows: what isn’t Manchester Running Company? In some way, shape, or form we are everything that is running, we are a store (online), we put on races, we have a club, we coach athletes, and we promote the sport of running in the greater Hartford area. To get specific, here is a little more about us:
We are event managers/promoters!
Manchester Running Company puts on the Finally Spring 5k! each year on the first Saturday of spring at Highland Park School in Manchester. This is a trail race that primarily takes place in the Howard/Porter Reservoir trail system. It’s a great race, you should check it out, if you are one of the first 100 to register you get a free pair of socks, and they are awesome. We had 337 fine folks register for the race in 2013 – about 300 crossed the line – we’re still looking for the other 37.
We also put on an increasingly popular track and field series during the summer at Manchester High School. This is predominately geared toward developing youth runners and getting local youth interested in the sport but the meets are open to all ages and abilities and we’ve seen some fantastic performances since the start of the series in 2009. In 2013 we had 165 different participants in the series. The series is called Thursday Nights Under the Lights, can you guess which night we host the meets?
Additionally we assist in the promotion of many other races in the area including the Life Without Limits 5k Run, Walk & Roll to benefit United Cerebral Palsy of Greater Hartford – this event is in it’s 3rd year with over 300 people running each year. There are other races as well, but these are our big ones!
If you need any assistance growing your event, we are happy to sit down and consult with you on your needs; we don’t charge a whole lot and can help increase the popularity of your events!
We are a running club! And a good one at that!
MRC is one of the most competitive running clubs in the state, our women’s team won the Amica Iron Horse 10k by half an hour, that’s right – 30 minutes. On the men’s side, which is perhaps a little more competitive – we are always in the top three of races within the state of Connecticut and are looking to challenge other New England teams in regional races. We have folks who have run 2:29 for the marathon, 14:40 for 5k and other fast times.
BUT, we’re not just for fast people! We have a club of about 55 members ranging from age 8-62 so it’s not all about a few fast guys and girls in their 20’s; we happily welcome all ages and abilities and love to run with new people. We run together twice a week and we want you to come run with us too. A lot of people think you have to pay to run with us, don’t be ridiculous. Our group runs are open to the public – if you want to officially join the club though there are a lot more perks.
We are supporters of the running community!
We sponsor several events and charities throughout the year that promote health, fitness, and especially running. Over the last five years we have proudly supported Public Allies, Soles4Souls, Winding Trails, United Cerebral Palsy, Community Child Guidance Clinic, MHS Track & Field and XC, the National MS Society, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, the Katie Reid Scholarship Fund, the Manchester Dog Park Foundation (MDAWG), The Pride in Manchester Committee, and many others! We also sponsor the Journal Inquirer Alumni Mile and the JI Summer XC Series.
We do not have a brick and mortar running store, yet…
Yes, we do sell items online, so I guess we are a store, but you can’t walk in to our store – at least not without the alarm to my house going off. We sell Brooks, Inov-8 and Zoot online. We can get you any product on special order from these three companies, and are authorized retailers, but we don’t have a brick and mortar store. We were painfully close (our loan officer told us to expect a commitment letter in the mail) to having a loan approved this summer to open a store, but that loan fell through our grasp – by no fault of our own, lenders are just hesitant with “start-ups” and they felt the market was mature in this area. Technically, we haven’t been told no yet, but we were led to believe we were good to go and doesn’t look like that’s the case right now. Anyone got six figures lying around they want to invest? No. Seriously.
If you’re not a physical store, why are you called Manchester Running Company?
Why not? We’re still a company. Several clubs are called striders, harriers, road runners, well we’re just a company. There is no rule or law on what you can name your company or club so why confuse people more by putting a different name on our running club.
So hopefully we’ve provided a little more information for you on what exactly we are. If you have any questions or are looking for assistance with putting on your next event, need coaching advice or want to join our club just contact us!