Meeting my childhood hero and future CRC co-owner Jim Jurcevich was also a key component to my running development. We started training together after racing against one another a couple of times, and he not only showed me what it was like to train and race competitively, but also took me to races with him and opened up his home to me when needed. 

Eventually a small group of us started group runs from the Dublin store (since that was the only store that existed at the time!) and began having informal social gatherings. This was huge, as it mirrored that addictive college running atmosphere that lends itself to fast times and lifelong relationships. 

Without all of the gear, wisdom, and support of the CRC, I never would have qualified for an Olympic marathon trials, let alone two. I wish medical school hadn't taken me away from Columbus, but I'll always be a part of the CRC and will forever be grateful for their hand in my post-collegiate success. 

 

EUGENE LEE

COMMUNITY.  IT’S ABOUT SUPPORTING ONE ANOTHER THROUGH THE GOOD DAYS - AND THE TOUGHEST OF DAYS.
EUGENE BEGAN RUNNING WITH US IN THE EARLIEST DAYS OF THE CRC, APPEARING AT THE FIRST ANNIVERSARY PARTY (WHERE HE EARNED THE NICKNAME PROJECT A, WHICH YOU'LL JUST HAVE TO GUESS AT) AND STICKING AROUND TO LOG COUNTLESS MILES WITH US.  FROM THE HIGHS OF HIS IRONMAN FINISH TO THE LOWS OF PERSONAL LOSS, THE CRC COMMUNITY HAS BEEN THERE TO SHARE IN ALL OF IT WITH OUR FRIEND.  THANK YOU FOR RUNNING WITH US AND MORE, EUGENE. 

In Eugene’s own words:

I discovered the Columbus Running Company when it was just the one store and a box truck that mostly worked. I knew early on that the CRC was a profoundly special group. Over the past 15 years, I’ve celebrated countless Mile Dashes, weddings, and graduations with the community that has formed around the CRC. Visiting runners from out of town would always comment how close the running group was, but it took a tragedy to demonstrate how important the community was to each other.

I lost my wife, Lanlin, due to a traumatic brain injury sustained while competing in the Musselman triathlon. It was a huge shock, but the outpouring of affection and kindness from the CRC was not. They checked up on me and looked after me. I’m fairly certain at least 4 people independently took it upon themselves to mow my lawn while I was at the hospital with my wife. 

The following year, over a dozen runners from the running group and even more supporters made their way to Musselman. They raced in her memory, nearly all of them racing in a triathlon for the first time. My wife would have loved her friends and family coming to support each other in such a loving way. 

I relocated to Boston a few years ago, but I still visit the CRC every time I come to visit family. They are an important part of my life and I look forward to another 15 years and celebrating their 30th anniversary.

 

TIM MITCHELL

THERE’S A LEGEND AMONGST US.  HIS NAME IS TIM MITCHELL. 
TIM HAS BEEN RUNNING WITH THE CRC FOR CLOSE TO A DECADE, AND HE’S BEEN THROUGH THE HIGHS OF BIG MARATHON FINISHES - AND THE LOWS OF BIG INJURY.  AFTER FALLING OFF A LADDER AT HOME, THINGS LOOKED BLEAK.  SEE THAT X-RAY?  THAT’S HIS FOOT, COMPLETE WITH PLENTY OF ADDED HARDWARE.  BUT WITH THE GRIT OF A TRUE RUNNER, TIM DIDN’T TAKE NO FOR AN ANSWER WHEN IT LOOKED LIKE HE WOULD NEVER RUN AGAIN.  HE CONTINUES TO LOG THE MILES AND INSPIRE US ALL TO THIS DAY.  THANKS FOR THE MILES, TIM - AND THANKS FOR ALL THE STORIES.

In Tim’s own words, excerpted from a feature he wrote for the old CBUS Pacers club newsletter years ago:

In December of 2010, I decided to take up running again. On one cold December night, I tore out of the house, wearing a winter coat, determined to knock out a couple of miles. I couldn't even get to the end of the block (8 houses). I decided to exercise patience and just worked on a walk/run routine for the winter. Eventually, I could run (slowly, as is my style) 2 miles. After that, I was on my way.

I caught the bug and trained for a few half marathons. That led to marathons, which have been more of a struggle than I had thought. Throughout the whole ordeal, the kindness and cheerfulness and acceptance of other runners (all of whom are faster than I am) has been a sustaining presence.

So why do I do it? The reasons are complex and varied. I will try to explain the hardest (and best) reason. Here goes: When you are young, you have a minimal impression of the gift of youth. After all, what is your frame of reference? You've always been young. When you get old, you miss being young. But truly, the thing you miss about being young is not physical. It's the spirit, the optimism, the fearlessness, happiness, and sheer joy of life. Sometimes, when I run, especially with my Ipod, it's 1970 again. As God is my witness, I get just a taste of youth again. It's wonderful, uplifting, and worth every bit of pain, even if I have to use that cane someday.

 

STEPHANIE HILLMAN

THE STAFF WHO HAVE WORKED ALONGSIDE US AT THE CRC OVER THE YEARS HAVE MADE A MASSIVE STAMP BOTH ON THE CRC ITSELF AND ON OUR RUN & WALK COMMUNITY.  ONE OF THE DEEPEST IMPRESSIONS WAS LEFT BY A RUNNER WHO LED THE CRC AS A MANAGER, RACED WITH CRC ELITE, FUNDRAISED WITH L2R, SPOKE AT OUR XC CAMPS, AND FOUND WAYS TO INVOLVE HERSELF IN EVERY ASPECT OF OUR COMMUNITY.  WE’RE TALKING, OF COURSE, ABOUT STEPHANIE HILLMAN.
TODAY, STEPH CONTINUES TO CLIMB THE LADDER WITHIN THE RUNNING INDUSTRY, WORKING AT HOKA ONE ONE CORPORATE HQ IN CALIFORNIA.  THOUGH FAR AWAY NOW, HER PRESENCE AND HARD WORK STILL MAKE CRC WHAT IT IS TODAY.  TO STEPH - AND ALL OF OUR FORMER STAFFERS WHO BUILT CRC INTO WHAT IT IS TODAY - THANK YOU.

In Steph’s own words:

CRC has been a special place to me since I was first introduced through the CRC Elite racing team upon coming out of college and moving back to Columbus. I felt a bit anxious and unsure of what running would be for me after college running, where I had been spending so much time thinking only about races, workouts, school and training. I heard about how welcoming CRC staff was from folks around the city, and got my first real community experience at Columbus 10k right off the bat - still one of my favorite road races to date!

I began joining weekly runs and Saturday long runs in Dublin immediately after the race. Running with a great group of guys and gals quickly led to me even finding my way into a job at CRC and essentially an entire family I never knew I needed. The support and friendships have made a big mark on who I am as a person to this day. Even though I live in California now, CRC has a very special place on my heart!

Thanks :)

 

TAYLOR GLEAVES

SINCE TAYLOR GLEAVES MOVED TO COLUMBUS, HE’S BEEN A REGULAR AT THE SHORT NORTH GROUP RUNS - AND THAT TRAINING CONSISTENCY HAS BEEN PAYING OFF. 
ALONG WITH A CORE GROUP OF RUNNERS IN THE SHORT NORTH, HE’S SEEN THOSE TIMES DROP.  JUST AS REWARDING, HE’S FOUND A COMMUNITY THAT HE CAN RELY ON DAY-IN AND DAY-OUT.  THANKS FOR RUNNING WITH US, TAYLOR.

In Taylor’s own words:

Before moving to Columbus and finding CRC I did almost all of my training alone. Today I can find someone to run with just about any day of the week.  To me, CRC means camaraderie and a competitive atmosphere where we all improve together.  A rising tide lifts all boats!

I am lucky to have found CRC.  I'm a little injured at the moment but I still have my eye on a potential CRC elite spot after some more hard training going forward!

 

ALYSSA & JAMIE HART

WHEN CRC OPENED IN 2004, WE WERE EXCITED ABOUT THE POSSIBILITIES FOR BUILDING UP THE LOCAL RUNNING & WALKING COMMUNITY.  ONE THING WE DIDN’T EXPECT?  ALL THE WEDDINGS. 
CLOSE FRIENDSHIPS ARE BUILT ON THE RUN, AND SOMETIMES THOSE FRIENDSHIPS HAVE BLOSSOMED INTO SOMETHING EVEN GREATER.  ALYSSA & JAMIE MET AT A SUMMER RUN YEARS AGO.  WHEN THEY JOIN US FOR RUNS NOWADAYS, THEY’RE OFTEN PUSHING THEIR BABYJOGGER.  THANKS FOR BEING PART OF OUR FAMILY YOU TWO - AND THANKS FOR SHARING YOURS WITH US.

In Alyssa & Jamie’s own words

In 2013, Jamie rediscovered running, and Alyssa started running after moving to Columbus, and both quickly found CRC’s Saturday morning group runs. We met the following summer at a CRC run at Highbanks.

Besides being the reason our family exists, CRC has given us the opportunity to share miles with other runners that we now consider part of our family. There are no words to describe the connections we’ve made through CRC, from our everyday miles, to important life events; CRC friends made the trip to Disney for our wedding (even our officiant was someone we met at Saturday morning group runs!), and had a baby shower for us when I was pregnant with our daughter.

Columbus Running Company is so much more than just a running store; it has been our friend, our sanity, our accountability, and most importantly the place where all are our family.

 

ABBY WELLS

THE GRASSHOPPERS IS CRC’S YOUTH RUNNING CLUB, AND IT'S BEEN A THRILL TO WATCH THE NEXT GENERATION OF RUNNERS COME THROUGH THE RANKS OF THE PROGRAM. 
HUNDREDS OF YOUNG RUNNERS TAKE PART EACH YEAR.  ONE RUNNER WHO HAS ALWAYS STOOD OUT IN OUR MIND, THOUGH, IS ABBY WELLS.  ABBY SHOWED US THAT GRIT, HARD WORK, AND DETERMINATION ARE THE KEYS TO IMPROVING AS A RUNNER - BUT SHE KEPT IT FUN TOO.  AT ONE MOMENT, ABBY COULD BE RACING FURIOUSLY DOWN THE BACKSTRETCH OF THE TRACK.  IN THE NEXT, SHE COULD BE MAKING RIDICULOUS FACES AT THE CAMERA AS SHE POSED WITH HER TEAMMATES AT THE FINISH LINE.
A MULTI-TIME TEAM MVP, ABBY LED THE GRASSHOPPERS THROUGH 5TH AND 6TH GRADE BEFORE GRADUATING UP TO MIDDLE SCHOOL XC.  AFTER STINTS WITH THE CRCXC CAMP AND THE MYERS RUNNING CAMP, SHE’S NOW SET TO BEGIN HER FRESHMAN YEAR ON THE OLENTANGY ORANGE XC TEAM.  WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE WHERE HER RUNNING GOES OVER THE NEXT FOUR YEARS - AND MORE.
GOOD LUCK, ABBY!

In Abby's own words: 

Columbus Running Company’s Grasshoppers has made such an impact on my life and my career in running. I started in fifth grade where I learned so many things to help me become a stronger runner, and met so many friends along the way. Now as a freshman, I can say how impactful being a part of that team was. Grasshoppers built a sense of community within running for me, so now when I go to running events I almost always know people that I have met through the program and become great friends with.

I met some of my very best friends while being on the team and they are still my closest friends to this day. Not only have my teammates been amazing but the coaches were just as great. I knew that they would be there for me whenever I needed it and that they would give me advice I could bring with me for years into the future. I have grown so much stronger as a runner and a person from being a part of CRC Grasshoppers, and I couldn’t imagine where I would be without them today.

 

KATIE MELTON

EVERY RUNNING & WALKING GROUP NEEDS THAT EXCITED NEWCOMER WHO BRINGS THE ENERGY & EXCITEMENT OF A FIRST-TIMER.  KATIE MELTON BROUGHT THAT HYPE WHEN SHE JOINED UP WITH CRC’S PICKERINGTON GROUP RUN AND WITH MRTT.  SINCE 2017, SHE’S GONE FROM AN ASPIRING FIRST-TIME 5KER TO A HALF MARATHON FINISHER TO A MARATHONER-ON-THE-CUSP.  IT’S BEEN AMAZING TO WATCH THAT PROGRESSION, AND HER ENTHUSIASM HAS BEEN CONTAGIOUS. 
THANKS FOR SHARING THE MILES WITH US, KATIE.

In Katie's own words: 

I started training for my first 5k in 2017 and since I was new to running, the training was tough. So, with my father-in-law taking me to my first trip to Pickerington's CRC, I got fitted for new shoes, and I haven't stopped running since then!

In the past two years, I have met so many people in the running community including Columbus MRTT members (especially my east-side girls), the Saturday morning CRC group runners and walkers who won't let you get lost, and those I have volunteered at races with. All of these people have inspired me and have kept me moving forward.

From my first 5k's to my first half marathon last year to my first full Columbus Marathon this year, I wouldn't feel as strong and confident without everyone I have met along the way. The Columbus running community is, by far, the most supportive, encouraging, and loving group of athletes I have ever met and I cannot wait to continue my training and meet even more amazing people!

 

MACLIN WILLIAMS

YOU WANT TO TALK ABOUT SOMEONE WHO IS AT THE CENTER OF THE LOCAL RUNNING & WALKING COMMUNITY?  MACLIN WILLIAMS FOUNDED THE COLUMBUS CHAPTER OF THE BLACK MEN RUN CLUB.  HE SITS ON THE BOARD OF LET ME RUN, A YOUTH-BASED CLUB THAT INSPIRES BOYS THROUGH THE POWER OF RUNNING TO BE COURAGEOUS ENOUGH TO BE THEMSELVES, TO BUILD HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS, AND TO LIVE AN ACTIVE LIFESTYLE.  HE’S A MEMBER OF THE COLUMBUS WESTSIDE RUNNING CLUB. 
IN SHORT, HE’S EVERYWHERE - AND ON THE RUN THE ENTIRE TIME.  THANK YOU, MACLIN, FOR ALL THAT YOU DO TO BOOST OUR COMMUNITY.

In Maclin's own words:

I first picked up distance running when I was in Miami, FL in order to recover from a heart procedure I went through to fix a defect with which I was born. There was a running store called the Florida Running Company within walking distance to my house that got me started and showed me the ropes. That store couldn't have been a better introduction to the running community, from the workers at the store to the people that participated in the group runs. I made lifetime friends there. When I moved to Columbus for work in 2012, I looked up a running store and came across the Columbus Running Company, which struck my eye for obvious reasons. Even though I found out there was no true connection between the two stores, when I went on my first group run at the Pickerington store, I was welcomed with open arms. 

The Columbus Running Company has been my store of choice ever since those first group runs. The knowledge and professionalism of the staff, no matter which store, has been a great benefit for my running career. From the shoes, to the apparel, to the running clinics they are always putting on, they are there to support all phases of your running journey.

I started the Columbus Chapter of Black Men Run in 2016 and the Columbus Running Company has been right there for us since before day one. They understand the mission of health and wellness that local running clubs like ours bring to the area. Just like the store where my running career started, the Columbus Running Company has been a place where I've made lifelong friends, who have been instrumental to me not only in my running journey but in my life in general. You couldn't ask for anything more from a running store. They put on some of the best races in the city, support clubs from the Westside to the Eastside, and do their part in adding to the diversity of the local running community. When a running store can go from treating you like a customer to treating you like family, you know you've found a home for life. 

Thank you CRC.

 

KRISTA SEIBERT

KRISTA STEPPED INTO THE CRC BACK IN 2004, SHORTLY AFTER THE SHOP OPENED.  AT THE TIME, WE HAD NO IDEA THE IMPACT THAT SHE WOULD HAVE.  KRISTA HAS GONE ON TO RUN FOR CRC ELITE, RACING IN THE 2:40S FOR THE MARATHON AND QUALIFYING FOR THE WOMEN'S ELITE FIELD AT THE BOSTON MARATHON.  SHE CO-COACHES THE WESTERVILLE CRC SPEED WORKOUTS, HELPING OTHERS CHASE THOSE FAST TIMES FOR THEMSELVES.
THERE'S MORE TO HER THAN SHEER SPEED THOUGH.  KRISTA CO-FOUNDED CRC'S CHARITY TRAINING PROGRAM, LOVE2REACH, AND SHE HAS BEEN CENTRAL TO SO MANY OF THE CHARITABLE ASPECTS OF CRC'S GIVING OVER THE YEARS.  IT'S ONLY FITTING THAT WE KICK OFF THIS CELEBRATORY MONTH BY SHINING A SPOTLIGHT ON KRISTA, ONE OF OUR FAVORITE RUNNERS OF ALL TIME. 
In Krista's own words
 
3 x P = CRC
 
It was 16 years ago when I heard a new running store was coming to town.  I "dialed onto" my internet to search for more information.  The website still said "more information coming soon."  Little did I know, CRC would fill me with life changing information over the next 15 years!  
When I was a younger runner, my PASSION was running.  CRC helped me with my PASSION, since that is their PASSION.  The support they showed made me a better runner. BUT.....
It wasn't until later, when my legs were a bit worn, and miles weren't as easy, that I was humbled by CRC's PURPOSE.  They taught me how to be less selfish with running.  Seeing running in the bigger picture by being a part of Love2Reach, Grasshoppers, Tuesday night track and Saturday morning runs to all different abilities, showed me that supporting others with CRC's PASSION gave running more PURPOSE. It made running much more meaningful!!! These opportunities would never had happened without CRC offering them for the community. 
 
When I got to the point where I knew I needed to spend less time on the roads, I wondered "what could an old short lady do in the running world anymore?" It was then that CRC taught me that running can be a PLATFORM.  CRC provides a platform of serving the running community with PASSION and PURPOSE by caring and serving each individual. They are proof that we can  help others discover the deep rooted joy found by running.  CRC has taught me that no matter your history, background, education, lifestyle, pace, or mileage, running can bring us all together to share a great PASSION, giving us great PURPOSE, and a PLATFORM to influence others around us :) We are supposed to love our neighbors. CRC has done just that for the past 15 years. 
 
Happy 15 years and thank you CRC!