Our Story

Potomac River Running is a family-owned, locally based running specialty store with 9 locations in Arlington, Burke, Fairfax, Leesburg, One Loudoun (Ashburn), Reston, South Riding, Springfield, and Vienna. We opened in the spring of 2003 in Loudoun County with the goal of sharing our passion for an active lifestyle with the community.

However, we’re not just a running store! =PR= is your starting line for gear, advice, inspiration, community, and friendship. We carry a wide range of footwear, apparel and accessories from the leading manufacturers to meet all of your fitness needs, as well as those days you aren’t working out but still need good equipment. We know that most people don’t call themselves “runners.” You may walk, go to cross-fit, hike, work a job that keeps you on your feet all day, or spend hours chasing after your children. Even though you’re “not a runner”, you probably own a pair of running shoes. You deserve to have comfortable shoes and happy feet. Our goal is to take the guesswork out of the selection process and get you ready to hit the road/path/gym/job in comfort.

All in the Family

=PR= was founded by Cathy and Ray Pugsley and Brendan and Margie Shapiro. All four Potomac River Running founders are related by blood or marriage. Cathy and Margie are sisters who grew up in Fairfax County. Brendan (Margie’s high school sweetheart) is especially proud of his local roots. Though Ray (Cathy’s husband) is originally from New Jersey, we give him a pass because he has lived in the DC area for over 20 years and is known to cheer for the Washington Football Team from time to time.

Prior to opening the stores, the owners were each heavily involved in the local running community in one way or another. All four ran track and cross country through high school. Cathy, Ray and Margie enjoyed successful running careers in college. Cathy and Ray met while running for the same professional post-collegiate racing team, working out at Georgetown University. Although Margie and Brendan have moved on (back to the Fairfax County school system), Cathy and Ray are grateful for all of the years they spent together.

“Local and family-owned” means a lot to us. Not just that we spend all our time at the Pugsley dinner table talking about the DC area running community, but that our stores, races, training programs, and events make you feel at home and like you are sharing time with your extended family. Our team has become our extended family (and we’re honored that =PR= has played a role in several marriages and new families as well). Being small and local also means you’ll get a personal experience – from the staff member who is training for that same event you are, to the coach who donates time at your child’s school, to the owner who responds to your question or concern – no bureaucratic layers here!

Growing a Healthy Community

At Potomac River Running, we are concerned with more than shoes and gear. We are committed to growing the running and walking community around us. Our belief in the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle has inspired us to support countless races and running/walking-related charities throughout the region. Our goal is to stand behind the community that has embraced us and helped us grow over the years.

One critical piece in our effort to spread enthusiasm for running and walking is a real commitment to outreach and education. We know how hard it is to take that first step after a long layoff or to start running for the first time as an adult. We know the challenge of forging a healthy new routine can seem overwhelming and that the world of group runs, running clubs, and races can seem foreign and intimidating at first. Our goal is to provide a welcoming, safe, and fun environment for runners and walkers of all experience levels and to break down the barriers that keep people from taking that critical first step. From our friendly staff (they are great people, we promise) to our free information clinics, informal group runs/walks, and our Running 101 beginner programs, we want to encourage you to join us and have a great time.

We are proud to know an ever-growing list of people who have taken incredible steps toward being fitter, healthier, and happier than ever.  Do you have a story you think might inspire others? Contact us and share it! We’d love to hear from you!