Running Enthusiasts, Entrepreneurs Bring Fun Run Racing Series to Prince William County

| May 27, 2014 | 0 Comments | Bristow Biz

Ian Connor, owner of The Running Store in Gainesville, and Rob Dulin, former owner of The Running Store and current Patriot physical education teacher, have teamed up to offer a series of fun races in Prince William County under the name Fun Run Racing.

The Running Store has been the resource for runners from Prince William, Fauquier and Manassas to find competitive and festive races. As such, Connor was acutely aware of the great number of local runners regularly trekking east to D.C., Arlington, Alexandria and Fairfax to compete in large-scale races.

But the hassle of entering into a race out near D.C. was also inconvenient and off-putting to many people.

“You have to worry about parking. You have to worry about the Metro, and you don’t get to take your family,” he explained.

Plus, his customers were requesting that The Running Store hold their own races.

Connor thought, why shouldn’t we bring racing to them? Why not hold large regional races here in western Prince William County? There would be various advantages. People could wake up later, park closer to the course and bring their families along to cheer them on or run along with them.

Connor, a former All-American Track and Cross Country runner, Olympic hopeful and exercise science major, decided to team up Rob Dulin of Bristow who coached 14 State Championship cross country teams.

The two men talked about the opportunity to create premier races in Prince William. They decided if they were going to do this, they would have to create the kind of races they know local runners want to participate in: high-energy, entertaining races that provide a fun atmosphere without sacrificing the competitive nature of the race itself.

Fun Run Racing is especially careful to cater to every type of runner. They know many people love to run for exercise; some love to race for the thrill of it; some see it as a hobby, others an activity they share with friends and family, and others just enjoy a race as a family outing. They designed the race to satisfy all these different types of runners.

“[The races will be] very family, very festive. [They are] tailored to the front, the back and the middle of the packer. Everyone has an opportunity to win a prize,” Connor said.

While still offering top-tier gift certificates to The Running Store to the top racers, he also wants to offer an array of other ways people can compete through spirited costumes. Fun Run Racing wants to make the races fun and entertaining without sacrificing the aspect in which runners are challenged to achieve their personal bests.

To make this a reality, Fun Run Racing has partnered with George Mason University’s Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center in Manassas to hold the first few runs on their grounds and on surrounding streets. Connor said it is an ideal location because it offers plenty of parking.

Another idea the two men had was to combine their first few races with the celebration of popular holidays. Fun Run Racing thought it would be a fun, non-traditional way to celebrate with friends and family.

“Most families are together on holidays,” said Connor.

Freedom Firecracker 5K

Plus, he knows health conscious people enjoy running over the holidays. They often take the attitude of, “‘let’s do something healthy before we sit and eat the rest of the day,’” he said jokingly.

The first few series of races include the Freedom Firecracker 5K on July 4, Prince William Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving and Resolution Run on New Year’s Day. Each offers a unique draw, whether it is to enjoy nature, burn off calories, or start the year off on the right foot.

Connor said everyone is invited to register for the first race, Freedom Firecracker 5K, and come wearing red, white and blue. Patriotic-themed costumes are also encouraged. In addition, those who sign up for the 5K race will receive a soft, high-quality tech t-shirt.

Fun Run Racing invites runners to include their families. For that reason, they are including a 1-mile youth run. Children are invited to run or walk the course with their parents. However, children in strollers, toddlers, babies and dogs are not permitted to race as they may pose a safety hazard to themselves or others.

Fun Run Racing will have entertainment, but Connor said he does not want to spoil the surprise by revealing what it will be. He prefers runners to be wowed upon arrival and while running the course.

Connor hopes the Fun Run Racing series will continue to grow in size and popularity. As it does, he hopes to add more distances up to a half marathon, which he wants to be a regional draw.

“We already have a very large customer base of runners here,” he said, so he believes he can mobilize those clients plus many others who have participated in smaller community runs.

Plus, he is looking ahead to what Fun Run Racing could become for Prince William County, including looking forward to the day when city-dwellers head west to participate in Fun Run Racing. Until then, he hopes to get Prince William and Manassas runners and their families to embrace these races that are meant primarily for them.

“Our customers have dictated this,” he said. Throughout his seven years in business, they have asked him, “Why don’t you guys put on races?”

Now Connor asks them to take part in the very first Fun Run Racing 5K.  He expects it will be a memorable event.

Readers can register at the Fun Run Racing website for the Freedom Firecracker 5K or 1-mile youth run that will be held at the Freedom Aquatic & Fitness Center in Manassas on July 4, 2014.


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