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30 years running

On the run since '91. The story of Pacers through the eyes of owner, Chris Farley.

a community for every run

I want to thank you for being part of our journey. Your passion and dedication have helped us grow from humble beginnings to a vibrant community built on our shared love of running and movement. Our mantra, "For Every Run," is about honoring the unique individuals that are united in their drive to do something bigger than themselves.  Whether you walk, run, stroll, or simply need a good pair of shoes for the day-to-day, we celebrate you wherever you are in your journey.

Our story began in 1991, when the first Pacers Running store opened in Alexandria, Virginia. The original owner established a space where runners could find quality products, expert advice, and a sense of community.  I started working the floor at Pacers in the late '90s and, after years of managing the store, convinced my parents, Chris and Adrian Farley, to take a second mortgage on their home and purchase the business in 2003 beginning a new chapter in the store's history.  Since then, we have expanded beyond the confines of that humble first location (though we are still in the same building in Alexandria that we’ve been in since 1991).  In 2014, right before my father passed away, I purchased Pacers from my parents and became the sole owner. I will forever champion the values my parents helped instill in the company and will never lose sight of the community that has given this place its sense of purpose.  It is those values, and that community (you!) that has made Pacers the best running store in the nation.

Our journey of community engagement began with our first official Pacers race, the Gulf Coast Relief 5K, alongside now CEO Kathy Dalby and James Carville, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. This event marked the beginning of our events business and our shared commitment to use running to bring people together and support important causes.  Over the years we expanded to as many as 18 races in addition to providing timing and support services to many other races in the greater Washington DC area.  We have raised over $1M for our charity partners over the years and are privileged to be part of their efforts in improving and supporting our local communities.

In 2023, Kathy and I merged Pacers Events, which she founded and owned, and Pacers Running Stores into one company, Pacers Running, and she officially became an owner of our combined business. Kathy, who has been with us since the early 2000s, brings invaluable passion and vision to our mission and continues to challenge our organization and industry to improve, evolve, and inspire.  

That brings us to today…

Over 30 years since we sold our first pair of shoes at the corner of King Street, we remain steadfast in our mission to welcome more individuals and communities into the run and to celebrate the joy and transformative power of running.  We can’t wait to open our doors to you and help you get ready for whatever you’re preparing for in this phase of your journey.  Whether you are visiting us at one of our DC or Virginia shops, shopping our extensive online store, joining us for a social run, or meeting us at the finish line of one of our races, welcome!

We can’t wait to see you out there!

For Every Run,

Chris Farley
Chief Running Enthusiast, Pacers Running