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30 Years of Running Bear – Q&A with Geoff Pettengell

We sat down with one of Running Bear’s Founders, Geoff Pettengell to find a bit more about the beginnings of the shop you know today 🐻🛍

How did Running Bear Originally Start?

This idea was formed between myself and Anne Stentiford. We went into partnership and began trading in 1990. The idea was to sell fell running gear as there wasn’t anywhere to buy around here. At the time, I was Head of Science at a High School in Stoke and Anne’s job was the business.

How did you come up with the name?

I was a member of both Congleton Harriers and Macclesfield Harriers. Congleton, as many of you will know, is known as ‘The Beartown’. I was inspired by the Congleton Harriers Newsletter ‘Running Bear’. After receiving permission from the Congleton Harriers’ Chair, the iconic shop name was born.

What did you sell at the start & what was most popualar?

The original range at the shop is very different to what is stocked today with the original stock being much more fell focused. It covered every fell runner’s needs – rucksacks, Walsh’s, Compasses, Waterproofs, Nutrition, Helly Hansens, Gloves – anything you need on the fells. Stock came from Rock & Run, Pete Bland and other suppliers. The most popular product was Walsh ‘PB’ Trainer which had big studs!

What was your favourite memory?

The first Snowdon Race which I also ran in. We sold £1500 worth of goods – which at the time included tea, coffee and cakes which Anne made!

What is your favourite shoe?

Inov8 Mudclaw! I love them for the strength of the uppers, the fit and most importantly the grip!

For a bit of wet rock my favourite is the Roclite Graphene!

How did the business start?

We started originally by selling out of our Blue Transit Van with the Bear logo on it – and we went all over. We went to the Lakes, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Wales, South Lancs and the Peak District. We went to the English Champs, the British Champs and our favourite the Snowdon Mountain Marathon.

When did the business move out of the van?

I sold the business to Tony in around 1991, after two years trading from the van!

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