On any Sunday, in any weather condition, you can find an intrepid group of runners meeting at the Running Room. Starting at 8:30 a.m. sharp, this group of passionate—or crazy, depending on your definition—people meet to start hitting the pavement. The spirit in the room is not unlike your friendly neighbourhood bar or coffee shop. Most people know each other, either by name or by their running gait. If they don’t know you yet, it doesn’t matter, they’ll still act as though they do. This tight-knit community meets every Sunday and Wednesday. There’s no charge, all you need is a pair of sneakers and a willing attitude. The only form of separation between each person is the distance that each group is running. The groups represent every ability, from full marathon to beginner 5 km groups.
The running community has flourished in our winter city over the past few years largely due to the strong, hearty pioneering spirit of Running Room founder, John Stanton.
Stanton, like so many other runners, picked up the sport to improve his health. He was challenged to participate in a two kilometre race with his youngest son. Initially, Stanton was intimidated by the sport and often ran under the cover of early morning darkness for fear of being spotted by his neighbours. Slowly, but with drive and ambition, Stanton worked his way up to longer distances, eventually becoming an accomplished marathoner and triathlete. Like any runner, his enthusiasm for the sport could not be contained. People around him took notice. Eventually, training alone under the guise of the dark mornings alone no longer mattered to him, and he formed a running group. Unlike the other running groups in the city, Stanton’s group was largely made up of everyday people, with varying abilities who just wanted to run. No pretensions, no bells and whistles. Just running. The group met every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in a rented room in a house on 110th street near the Running Room’s flagship 109th street location. This is how the store earned its name. Stanton’s no muss, no fuss attitude towards running stripped the sport of its pretentions and encouraged people to get involved without having to worry about being at the back of the pack and prevented people from not running because they didn’t look the part.