RunBase Offers a Store, Marathon Museum, Lockeroom, Community


(Video by Katherine Noel)

By Ryan Provencher
BU News Service

Just one day after the two-year anniversary of 2013’s Boston Marathon bombings, Adidas opened its first United States RunBase store to the public.

There are a handful of athletic retail stores that line Boylston Street, but the new RunBase at 855 Boylston is unlike any other.

“It’s an interactive museum, retail experience,” said store manager Rusty Tolliver. “It’s the first place like this in the United States where you can come here, rent out a locker, go for a run, come back, take a shower and continue on with your day.”

Along with brand new locker rooms and showers, the store features a centerpiece of a three-dimensional, topographic map of the entire Boston Marathon route, including facts about each town that the course crosses through. The map shows that from the start of the race in Hopkinton to the climb of Heartbreak Hill in Newton, each town brings something to the historic marathon.

Artifacts and pictures from past marathons hang on the walls, from pictures and awards from the very first race in 1897 to last year’s One Fund running bibs and shirts. Inspirational quotes are etched into various structures throughout the store, illustrating how the marathon has motivated runners and has left a lasting impression on the city.

The Boston Athletic Association (BAA), which oversees the race and is a partner in the new venture, is featured in the text on the store walls and in displays.

Mayor Walsh comments on the new store and museum. (Video by Yizi Dong)

“I think that a lot of people don’t know the history of the Boston Athletic Association, and that’s part of the reason why this store came to fruition,” Tolliver said. “It’s such a great organization and between the BAA, Adidas, and Marathon Sports. They all share the same vision of this store as one based around the community it’s in.”

Bostonians rally around the role the area plays in history, but the sense of community that the store has elicited in its opening stems from recent events. Being able to learn the history of the Boston Marathon is one thing, but allowing runners throughout the city to come together after the tragedy two years ago is one of the main objectives of the store.

“It’s a good way to celebrate the resilience of the city and the people of Boston and everyone coming together and celebrating. That is bigger than the negativity of the tragedy itself,” said Plymouth, Massachusetts, resident Will Lapsley about RunBase’s opening. With the store less than a quarter mile away from the marathon’s finish line, runners and other members of the Boston community have a space to look upon with joy instead of sorrow.

“I think it’s great. It’s a really unique resource to have here right by the finish line, and I like how they have facilities for showers and other things to encourage runners to come in and utilize the space as much as possible,” Lapsley said.

With the 119th Boston Marathon quickly approaching, the community will once again come together to cheer on those who have put so much time and hard work into the running of the historic race. And now they have a new place to gather that showcases the history and welcomes the community.

“It’s not just ours, it’s not just yours, it’s everyone’s and that’s what we want to accomplish here,” said Tom Grilk of the BAA.

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