Pacers: Clarendon's Starting Line
Fun Runs and free injury screenings attract men and women on the move.
Pacers, a DC-area running supplies retailer, has positioned itself as a hub for those who pound the pavement in Clarendon. Thursday nights bring a slew of activity to the store with packs of five-mile fun runners as well as some walking wounded looking for advice.
With the Marine Corps Marathon just around the bend, many Arlingtoners have been pushing themselves in anticipation -- some who've been around the block a couple times and some who are looking for a new challenge.
When the would-be marathoners first decided to gear up for the race last month, Dr. Kevin Maggs of Active Spine and Sport saw a spike in running-related injuries. Maggs offers free screenings and diagnoses every Thursday evening by an examining table near the front of the store.
"In the last few weeks I've come in here and there's literally line-ups of people waiting for me because they've been hitting their 18-milers, 20-milers...and when you do that volume, a lot of people aren't used to it so their bodies start to break down a little," Maggs said.
Maggs can assess their problems and recommend either a better pair of shoes, some easy at-home tricks or a more intensive diagnosis and treatment at his Arlington practice, which serves a clientele composed mainly of runners. Sometimes new sneaks serve as a quick and effective fix, but graver maladies such as stress fractures and and knee problems can leave runners on the sidelines.
For runners with functioning lower halves, the Pacers five mile fun-run offers a relaxed, social atmosphere combined with a thorough and hilly five-mile workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Reza Mahbod, who leads the runs, loves them for the people he's befriended in the neighborhood. "If you want to come out and do something healthy, meet some people, this is a great place to be," Mahbod said. The financial management worker lives around the corner and often brings his flock over to hang out or herds them to local bars after cool-downs. As an added perk, shoe company representatives often set up shop by the store on fun run nights, offering gear demonstrations and raffles.
Though the hilly Arlington terrain makes for a challenging workout, runners of all skill levels show up for the meet-ups, and Mahbod enjoys watching how quickly they progress. "A lot of the people who come here started out as very recreational, light runners and now they're running marathons," he said, "That's fun to watch."