Missoula, Montana is one of the best trail running hubs in the country. It’s difficult to imagine that in the early 2000s there wasn’t a huge running scene. Seeing the need and potential growth within the active outdoors community in western Montana, 20-year-old Anders Brooker opened Runner’s Edge in 2001 and has seen the running community grow in turn.
The spark of Anders’ interest in the sport came from his family. His father, who can also be found working in the store, started and coached a cross country team at Anders’ high school when it didn’t have one. The Brooker family regularly traveled around for races and young Anders could also be found following his dad out the door when he left for a run. This community-minded initiative certainly has been passed down.
Since opening Runner’s Edge, Missoula’s running community has grown exponentially, and the hundreds of miles of trails accessible from town (and more in the surrounding high country) provide an ample and diverse playground for the sport to flourish. Brookers points to key events that the store puts on, like The Rut Mountain Runs, 11 Miles to Paradise, and the in-store uphill Treadmill Challenge as helping to build a community around the store. Paired with the store’s welcoming, friendly atmosphere and deep focus on quality interactions with each customer, the staff loves what they do.
“We believe we have some of the best jobs and there isn't a place where we would rather be. We try hard to make sure not only are our customers happy when they leave our building, but our employees as well. When employees are happy, customers are happy and when customers are happy, I know we have a good thing going,” says Brooker.