Many runners know Pat and Dennis Lunsford as the owners of The Runner’s Shop, but they have ties to the local running community that go back even further. They both started running in 1977 during the running boom, not to follow the trend but as a way to get in shape for skiing. Their love of running soon took over and along with a few other runners including Don and Cindy Walker and Doyle and Karen Nehl, formed the Black Hills Runners Club in 1979.
The couple had an interest in opening a running related store in Rapid City, sold their house, started accumulating inventory and searched for a store location. In 1979 The Runner’s Shop was started by Dennis and Pat in a small (600 sq. ft.) store at 615 Mt. Rushmore Rd. in Rapid City. After 5 years, they expanded the store to 1200 square feet, and 5 years later expanded to 1800 square feet. After 25 1/2 years in that location, early in 2005 they moved to their current location with 3200 square feet at 41 East Omaha Street.
Dennis and Pat have been instrumental in organizing and supporting local races. For several years they helped with the Black Hills Marathon. They have helped with and now are race directors for the Mystic Mountain Run which just celebrated 45 years, and the Heart of the Hills run going for 35 years.
Dennis’s first race was the Mystic Mountain Run. He ran his first marathon, the Black Hills Marathon in 1980 and has run a total of three marathons. His favorite race is the Mystic Mountain Run and favorite race distance memories are from the marathon.
Pat ran the Black Hills Marathon in 1986 and her favorite distance is 5K and 10K, however she says it is all related to the amount of time available for training. Both Pat and Dennis completed this year’s Deadwood Mickelson Trail half marathon and Crazy Horse half and look forward to participating again next year.