Its been a great first 15 years filled with lots of memories...some funny, some sentimental but all filled with sole. There's never a boring day at Charm City Run and that makes for a lot of memorable moments. Thank you for being a part of this amazing community that we have created together. Cheers to the next 15 years!
What stands out the most about CCR for me is being at Pickles Pub on BRF race morning. You will find more than 200 runners waiting with their coaches to run what could be their first race or their tenth race and they all trained with US! You can feel the energy and the excitement of being part of something big.
As coaches we are there to inspire our runners but on race day they definitely inspire us!
- Kelly Maurer, Training Program Director
If I remember the date correctly it was January 1, 2007 around 6:15am. We used to do annual inventory on actual NYD on paper with pens and hatch marks. I know it had to be early because I had a full time job that required me to be downtown before 9:00am. The Timonium store was a third of it's current size and Josh L, Katie (then Czech now Heyl), Tom, and Brian, and I were all counting away while drinking our weight in Dunkin coffee. At that time, the few years between Katie + Me (mid-late twenties) and Brian + Tom (early 20s, maybe still in College??) seemed big, Tom had beat us to the stereo and he and Brian were happily jamming to something loud and punky and far off from our taste. When Brian disappeared into the back to count and Tom went to the bathroom, Katie and I wordlessly agreed to a music takeover which we found both hilarious and a relief. Tom and Brian both emerged shortly after and Katie and I were laughing so hard we were crying (I guess that's what early work on new years will do to your sense of humor). Josh told us we were being mean and to put Tom's music back on-- like we were all kids riding in the back of his minivan. We rolled our eyes and obeyed.
I'm not sure why this memory sticks out, but I think it's poignant to how Josh "raised" us in some ways, and it's now 10 years later and those 2 "kids" are two of my mentors who have been nothing but supportive friends and role models since I came over to CCR full-time over 5 years ago.
- Deirdre Weadock, Locust Point Store Manager
My favorite memory from Charm City Run was launching store number 2. We had tremendous support from Harford County before we even opened, and it just made sense to bring the Sole of the City to Bel Air. A few more shoes and stores later, there's been no looking back. So proud of the community and team we've built around our brand and cannot wait for the next 15 years. From the bottom of my heart thank you for all who have made this 'run' possible.
- Brian Nasuta, "The Shoe Guy"
My favorite memory of CCR has to be in 2015, when I completed my first (and only!) Full Marathon. I trained with the CCR Timonium – Fall Marathon group and was one of the slowest by far…I like to call myself a “back-of-the-pack” runner! I would consistently start my training runs early and finish still an hour or so after everyone else! But my awesome coaches were always there waiting…giving me encouragement and advice! I conquered the Baltimore Marathon that year…. along the way I saw several familiar faces from past training groups cheering me on….friends I have made over the years after hours and miles of long runs! Some ran parts of the race with me…others cheered on from the sidelines with a large “fat-head” of me (complete with my signature pigtails!) Finally, as I approached the finish line with less than a mile to go…my coach jumped in, and along with one of my best “running” friends, ran me in while a group off CCR friends cheered us on. It took me 6 ½ hours to finish….I was one of the last 100 people to cross the finish line….and they were already breaking down the race celebration village….but I did it!!! Once I was done, I planned to go straight to my car and go home….that was until I received a call that a bunch of friends were waiting at Pickles Pub for me to come celebrate! I couldn’t believe they all waited that long and still wanted to continue the celebration with me! I always tell people, that third to my father passing away and the day I got married….I have never felt so much love and support as I did that day….the day I became a marathoner! And I have Charm City Run to thank for that!!!
- Michelle Mueller, Training Group Coach
The Year was 2012... I randomly walked into CCR Timonium one afternoon to check it out. I had only ever been in the then Clarksville store one time so this was new and exciting. I think I was looking for Newtons, which I had read about and wanted to see them. Anyway I walked in and Marie greeted me. I actually knew Marie from BWC training we did together in Columbia a few years earlier. We chatted a bit and when I was getting ready to leave she stopped me and said "if ever your looking for a part time job let me know". Right away I responded with "Hey, I'm looking for a part time job." So she hired me.
About a month later I attended my first staff meeting. I had heard talk of the "the Levinson's" but no idea who they were because I had not met them. And at this particular meeting I still would not meet them because I found out they were wrapping up a grand world traveling adventure. But something that was said during this meeting told me I was in the exact right place. Tom had just finished talking and Kelly Dees was going to update everyone on events. Before she began she hesitated and then said that she had to take a moment to be in awe of the staff and the passion and commitment of everyone working there. She began to tear up. She continued to explain that having the business owners (the at this time mysterious Levinson's) leave for a year and TRUST the state of things to the staff was unheard of but look at how successful and dedicated everyone was. To me, her emotions were full of pride and respect. Her words highlighted the team's dedication and passion for being there. That resonated with me and I knew this place was special.
Five years later it continues to be my home, my family and keeps me in awe of all the good people that are out there.
- Kathy Logsdon, Fells Point Store Manager
I honestly think the most fun I have ever had in my life was running the Charles Street 12 in 2014. It was the furthest distance I had ever raced at that point and I loved the supportive and positive atmopshere from start to finish. I was running by myself the entire time but it never felt like I was alone - everyone's cheers and the uplifting vibe from the other runners around me carried me through. I wish I could have a few thousand people join me for every weekend long run! To continue the day of fun, I raced back to Timonium afterwards to work a full day in the store with tired legs...luckily I was working on a total runner's high.
- Lizzy Peper, Marketing Manager
My most surreal memory has got to be when the car drove through the window in Timonium. The alarm call in the middle of the night has always been a horrible shock, but when the person on the line said a car was in the store and police were on the scene, I didn't know what to think. Josh went to meet the police at around 2am to assess the situation. I joined Josh at the store around 5am when it was late enough for me to wake a kid and say where we were going. When I arrived, he was shivering cold - it was one of those spring nights when the temperatures dropped to around 30 degrees. There was glass everywhere, the car was gone, but there was a gaping hole facing York Road. As the wee hours of the morning arrived, training groups and coaches started showing up, and in true CCR fashion they all started chipping in to help clean up the mess! Luckily, the glass was replaced within the week and the overnight watchdog shifts were short lived. That is just one of many crazy memories of 15 years in small business.
- Kara Levinson, Co-Founder
I will never forget one of my very first days of as a full time manager of the Timonium store in August 2009. I was helping our first customer of the day when instead of asking him to take off his shoes and roll up his pants I confidently asked him to take off his pants and roll up his socks. I was mortified, turned bright red and tried to roll with it like it never happened. That plan didn't work because the second I said it Josh busted out laughing and practically fell out of his chair in the office. Here I was a new nervous employee totally mortified that i had messed up in my first week of my new job and my boss was hysterically laughing. I don't really know what to do but figured since he was laughing I could laugh as well and it took the pressure off. Thankfully the customer was great and laughed right there with us, I think he even stuck around to purchase shoes. That afternoon when the next staff person came rolling in Josh ran out of the office before she even got through to door to tell her what happened. We could not stop laughing and the story is now a legend at Charm City Run. I think the thing that makes it such a great memory is that I knew at that very moment i wanted to be a part of this wonderful place. We work really hard, care deeply about what we do but also don't take ourselves too serious. There has not been a day since that I have not laughed and loved my job.
- Marie Bolton, VITA Store Manager
I will never forget the day I waited on Katie Heyl (formerly Katie Czech). She came in the store, which was half the size of the current store, and said she had never run in her life. She was a swimmer and was looking to do something new. I fitted her in Mizunos, I believe, and the rest is history. The woman has managed the store, coached hundreds of our runners, including myself, and qualified for Boston on numerous occasions. Not to mention had 3 kids along the way. And it all began in 2004 when she bought her first pair of shoes at CCR. Amazing how it comes full circle.
- Caroline Pinkin, HR
It must have been about 2005 or 2006 because the Bel Air store had just opened. Timonium was my home base but I was working there one day a week-- usually Mondays-- until it was on it's feet. A few weeks prior I had been talking with Josh about swimming and triathlon and mentioned how there were not a whole lot of pools in the area where adults could really train for swimming or even learn to swim better with coaching and instruction. Not the way you can at Charm City Run for running. Josh seemed interested and agreed. So I proposed...wait for it...Charm City Swim! I still don't know how serious he was about this and I don't think he was merely appeasing me but he replied, "sky's the limit kiddo. Write me a business plan. Let's consider it." I was shocked and psyched!
Flash back to Bel Air...since it was a little slower, Josh allowed me to spend about an hour out of the day (when there were no customers and other work that needed to be done, of course) working on my business plan. So there I was working away, reading and researching when the phone rings...
Me: Charm City Swim, this is Katie
Person on the other end: [hystical laughter]
Then it dawned on me what I had said and that it was Josh because I knew that laugh. I was SOOOOOOO embarrassed but relieved at the same time that it was just him and no one else. Then I started laughing hysterically. We were both laughing so hard we could hardly catch a breath.
I still think about that moment a lot. Sure, it was pretty funny that I answered the phone "Charm City Swim", but the thing that sticks it my head and I will never forget was his answer to my proposal. It meant a lot to me that he didn't shoot me down or make 25-year-old me feel silly for suggesting a new idea. Most new small businesses are struggling to stay afloat in their first five years. He very easily could have said, "kiddo, we have SO much work to do just getting Charm City Run right". Instead he heard me out and said do the work. I had never really worked with anyone with this great attitude. This confirmed what I already knew...that the Levinson crew was a special crew and this was going to be a fun job!
Needless to say, I got pretty wrapped up in the day-to-day operations of the store. I didn't have time to work on Charm City Swim. I never crossed those waters and I am fine with that because I spent the best years working to build Charm City Run to what it is today with the best bosses, the best colleagues and the best friends.
- Katie Heyl, Training Group Coach
I think one of my favorite memories is being downtown at 7:30am on Wednesday September 11, 2002. 2,200 runners and walkers decided to start their day together as one city, one expression of strength, support and thanks. I have been reminded many times over the years the power of the human spirit but that morning is one I will never forget.
- Josh Levinson, Co-Founder & President
Last year, we learned that we were in the top 4 running stores in the country and that a videographer was coming out to shoot an event at the store. We only had a few days to prepare, sent out the call and HUNDREDS of runners showed up with about 80% in Charm City Run gear. I couldn't get them all in one picture and I just thought... wow regardless of whether or not we win, this place is really something special. (We won!)
- Ashley Lines, Marketing Director
I will never forget watching Kara as Josh accepted our Running Store of the Year award this past fall. She was so proud of him. Josh couldn't even find words to say during his acceptance speech and later that evening he was tearing up just talking to other people about Charm City Run.
- Dawn Litrenta, Timonium Store Manager
What is your favorite Charm City Run memory? Share with us in the comments below!