No slowing down for independent retailer founded in Yorkshire

Up & Running, a retailer established in Yorkshire which specialises in offering products for runners, is set to open its 29th branch as it marks its 30th anniversary.

The business, set up by Gillian Macfarlane and her husband, launched its first shop in Harrogate in 1992.

It now has 28 stores nationwide including a further four stores across Yorkshire as well as operating an online business.

It is the UK’s largest independent running shop and is due to open its 29th store in Edinburgh in June. Macfarlane said the business should also have a 30th outlet by the end of this year.

Sporting legend Sally Gunnell is due to visit the company’s York store to hold a Q&A session before leading a run through York on 21 May.

This is part of the anniversary celebrations, as well as designed to mark the opening of the newly relocated York branch.

Up & Running offers running shoes, clothing and running accessories. Commenting on the company’s beginnings, Macfarlane said it had looked to capitalise on a boom in enthusiasm for running which began in the 1980s.

The business had one store for eight years, then opened its second branch in Headingley, Leeds, followed by a third store in York the following year.

Up & Running also now has a franchise operation, with seven of its bases currently run by franchisees.

Macfarlane said: “It’s been a bumpy ride, we had our fair share of ups and downs – the Foot and Mouth outbreak, two recessions and a pandemic.

“But we’ve kept our heads down, worked hard and kept going. I never expected the business would grow like this – we began it on an absolute shoestring.

“We work in a wonderful industry with great customers. We always employ keen runners or people who are into fitness and who want to share their love of the sport with other people.

“Sally is such an inspiration and we’re inviting fellow runners to don their trainers for a chance to come and run with such a sporting legend.

“Up & Running was born out of a passion for running and it’s a privilege to have connected with so many other likeminded people over the years.

“Whether it’s embarking on their running journey or helping them to continue it in comfort, we strive to provide exceptional service and look forward to welcoming new and existing runners through our doors for many more years to come.”