When Colin Peddie graduated from the University of Virginia in 1986, the all-American cross-country runner had his sights set on becoming a successful post-collegiate runner. In his mind, the way to do that was to move to Boston and train with some of the best distance runners in America.
He quickly learned that running wouldn’t quite cover the bills, so he picked up shifts at the local running shop, Marathon Sports, on the weekends. Not long after, Peddie and his wife had the opportunity to purchase the store. Peddie became official owner of Marathon Sports in 1992.
Founded in 1975 in a renovated first-floor apartment near Harvard Square, Marathon Sports has been at the epicenter of running in Boston for decades.. The store has since grown to 19 locations throughout the Bay State and neighboring Connecticut and New Hampshire.
“We exist to inspire people to meet and exceed their fitness goals,” Peddie said. “And what that really means is that when a customer comes in here, regardless of their ability, size or shape, we can influence them in a positive way through the goods and knowledge we have from years of experience.”
Each store location has a varying demographic, so no two stores can be treated the same way. Peddie works closely with his staff to customize the product selections available at each of the locations so that they can best serve their community.
With that comes making sure the right staff runs each store, and Peddie takes pride in everyone who is a part of the Marathon Sports family.
“I think that everyone involved in our company has a unique story about how running helped them get through a difficult time, or an event that they aspired to,” he said. “Whether they’re running to something or from something, we all have a story of how running helped us work through a particular opportunity or challenge.”
At its core, Marathon Sports strives to stay operationally efficient so they can continue to adapt to the ever-changing customer shopping habits, all while staying true to their mission.
“You need to ask yourself, ‘what is your why?’” he said. “Once you figure out your ‘why’ you never waiver or deviate from it. The idea that we can hopefully positively influence someone’s ability to run and to meet their goals is very powerful.”