In late November, Almonte resident Brett Rivers won the Quad Dipsea, besting the second-place finisher by nearly 11 minutes in a brutal, 28.4-mile event that even some longtime Dipsea runners find daunting.
But Rivers, 31, didn’t have a lot of time to celebrate his victory in the race that traverses the famed Dipsea Race course four times, as he was in the midst of an entirely different sprint to the finish line. The Stockton native had quit his job at social gaming giant Zynga in October, hoping to launch a business he’d been sketching out for a year with his close friend and fellow elite runner Jorge Maravilla.
The result, San Francisco Running Company, is a specialty running shop that opened this week at 247 Shoreline Hwy. in the former Studio Velo space in Tam Junction, with a grand opening set for Saturday. Rivers and Maravilla will lead short fun runs from the shop at 8:30 a.m. before opening the shop at 10:30 a.m.
Rivers says he hopes the store and its regular events and outings – they’ll host a weekly Wednesday group runs at 6 p.m. – will strengthen his already deep ties to the local running community. He moved to San Francisco six years ago and immediately “fell in love” with the trails in Marin, connecting with the famed Tamalpa Runners club and a less official group known as the Endurables.
“The trails in Marin have been a playground for my passion and an amazing place to explore,” Rivers says.
He met his wife Larissa, who finished finished 25th in the 2012 Quad Dipsea and fourth place among women, through local trail running as well. Larissa Rivers now works at a tech startup called Strava, which makes a GPS-based app for endurance athletes.
Maravilla, who is the store's general manager and who Rivers calls a “true elite runner,” races professionally for Salomon. He recently returned from a series of pro races in South America and raced in the North Face 50-mile Endurance Challenge in the Marin Headlands in December.
Rivers calls the store a “fresh authentic concept on what a running store should be,” emphasizing deep ties to the local running community and a dedication to carrying high-quality products, including top-shelf boutique brands like Hoka and Altra. The shoes don’t come cheap – they range from $90 to $170 a pair but Rivers says that’s by design.
“We don’t sell cheap shoes because cheap shoes aren’t going to last,” he says. “We’re a place where we we’re out testing all of the stuff we sell. We know if it’s all hype or if there is substance behind it.”
As for the name, Rivers admits he wanted to first open a shop in the city, but grew impatient with how long it was taking there and liked the idea of starting close to home. He hopes to expand to San Francisco one day if the stire is successful.
Rivers said he hopes to become part of the fabric of the local running community, and longs for the day when he’ll be considered a Dipsea old-timer like those he admires.
“They’re a beautiful gut check,” he says of the Dipsea Race and its various iterations. “It’s a brutal course, and that’s what’s great about it. It’s one of the classic races in the sport. I’m going to be a lifer.”
The 411: San Francisco Running Company is located at 247 Shoreline Hwy. in Tam Junction. The store is open 7 days: 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays, 10:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. 415.450.7031; www.sanfranciscorunning.com; http://www.facebook.com/SanFranciscoRunningCompany.
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