The man behind making the Boulder Running Company a popular player on the Front Range running scene is getting back into the shoe game after a four-year absence.
Mark Plaatjes, a physical therapist and former world champion in the marathon who co-founded BRC with Johnny Halberstadt in 1995, has confirmed rumors that he will open a new running store in Boulder this summer. It will be called In Motion Running.
Plaatjes’ PT practice is called In Motion Rehabilitation.
Plaatjes and Halberstadt sold the BRC stores to the Gart Companies in 2013. Plaatjes remained with BRC as an employee for a year after the sale but left the company in 2014. BRC was sold again last year.
Plaatjes this week said he misses selling shoes and the culture of running specialty stores.
“It was part of my life for 18 years,” Plaatjes said in his PT clinic Thursday. “I love the balance between physical therapy and the store. It’s totally different interactions. I miss helping people in a different way than I do here. And it was just a wonderful way for me to be in touch with the whole running community. I miss it a lot.”
Plaatjes, a naturalized American from South Africa, won a gold medal in the marathon at the 1993 world championships. His PT clinic is on the second floor above the original BRC store on Pearl Street in Boulder. His new store will be located in Boulder at 30th and Walnut, and his PT practice will relocate there when the store opens. The target date for opening is Aug. 1.
“I don’t think, since I left Boulder Running Company, that anyone is really focusing on the biomechanical aspects of running in a running store,” Plaatjes said. “People are doing gait analysis, but it’s very rudimentary because most running stores don’t have a PT or a doctor or a podiatrist. My goal is to bring back advanced gait analysis, biomechanical evaluation, liaison with podiatrists and PTs and doctors.”
Plaatjes hopes to recreate the atmosphere that made BRC successful.
“In a running specialty store, community support is vital, community involvement is vital,” Plaatjes said. “People need to feel like it’s their place, that they can come and hang out. Even if they’re not going to buy anything, they can hang out and talk about running.
“When you do it right, you really don’t have to worry about the bottom line because people will support you.”
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