Colorado’s first trail and ultrarunning shop, Berkeley Park Running Company, recently opened in a restored two-story house on Tennyson Street in Denver. Store founder Chris Sullivan, an ultrarunner and Southwest Flight Attendant, made it his goal to open a unique and incomparable retail and community space for the mountain, ultra, trail (MUT) community, three years ago.
“I felt like the trail and ultra community was underserved in Denver and on the Front Range. It’s hard to find gear that’s specific for trail and ultra events, and as those races become more popular, I wanted to provide for those needs,” says Sullivan—also known as Sully—who became hooked on trail races at his first event, the 2007 Imogene Pass Run. Most Denverites run on sidewalks and roads, due to day-to-day convenience, but having an opportunity to run on trails in the foothills or nearby mountains is a beautiful, refreshing change of pace, Sullivan explains. Following his first ultramarathon in 2010—the 56-mile Comrades Marathon in South Africa, the oldest ultra-race event in the world—Sullivan embarked on the local Leadville Race Series.
For the shop’s research and development, Sullivan visited as many running stores as possible across the country and world—including Chamonix, France, Belfast, Ireland, and South Africa—during his overnights as a flight attendant. “The goal is to make the coolest running shop that can exist. I didn’t want an atmosphere that feels sterile with the same products and displays and no heart. I want this to be a place that runners want to come to and hang out,” says Sullivan, who is putting the finishing touches on the interior decor.
Mission accomplished: The back room is outfitted with a bar top and 8-brew tap (beer license pending; two taps will feature cold brew coffee and Kombucha), a lounge area, and a television for watching races. Adjacent to the backyard’s picnic tables, Sullivan is finishing up a fenced area for runners’ dogs, and he plans to plant hops in the flower bed to contribute to the brew recipes of the shop’s neighbor, Call to Arms Brewing Company.
“I want people to immediately feel and like the vibe when they walk in—not just observe a store,” he says. In addition to Berkeley’s weekly Thursday-night run club (3.5 miles; 6:15-8 p.m.), the shop is involved with races and hosts events such as the gear swap on Saturday, October 7. Berkeley’s products are carefully curated with the goal of delivering trusted goods while also introducing runners to new items. If a company doesn’t feature trail run-centric designs, you won’t find it here. Here are a handful of our top picks.