The Fourth of July has traditionally been known as a holiday to celebrate American independence, and a day off of work.
But for runners Ryan Morgan and Molly Mikita, the Fourth presented a opportunity to spend the day on the job and celebrate the official opening of their new business.
Immediately following the Breckenridge Fourth of July parade Morgan and Mikita will host the grand opening of the Vertical Runner, a specialty running shop located at 301 N. Main St. It’s a venture more than six years in the making for the Minnesota and Indiana natives.
“I think it’s a dream come true for both of us because it’s something we have wanted to do for a while,” Mikita said. “We’re hoping to fill a community need because there are no specialty running stores between Glenwood Springs and Golden.”
In addition to carrying well-known product lines, such as Brooks, Saucony and New Balance, the Vertical Runner will feature shoes and apparel from specialty companies like Newton Running and Hoka not found in big box stores.
But the pair also wants to be much more than simply a retail business and plan to host fun runs, 5Ks and half marathons, in addition to clinics, such as yoga for runners. The shop also will feature a treadmill for trying out products and lactate threshold testing.
“Specialty running stores act as the hub for every running community,” Morgan said. “They serve as a gathering place for athletes and we hope to foster that culture here because Breckenridge already has a well-developed running community.”
In staying true to that culture, Morgan and Mikita deliberately chose a location that features a back patio, where they envision members of running clubs will meet before and after runs.
“The goal is to be a place for athletes to hang out,” Mikita said. “We want to create an atmosphere we’re everyone can feel comfortable and welcome, including people who are just trying to get in shape to the elite runners.”
The grand opening of Vertical Runner is scheduled to take place Thursday immediately following the Fourth of July parade. Instead of the standard ribbon cutting, Morgan and Mikita plan on doing a ribbon running.
The new business owners also encourage members of the running community to join them and invite anyone interested in participating in the ribbon running to meet at the store, 301 N. Main St. in Breckenridge, at 11 a.m.
The grand opening also will feature a barbecue, beverages, prizes and product demos by Boulder-based Newton Running.
For more information, call Mikita at 333-8050.