In the midst of the pandemic, for the nurses and doctors putting in long hours and mileage in the hospital hallways, it takes a good pair of shoes
to make things bearable. That’s where Pacers Running and Potomac River Running Store jumped in, showing up on the loading dock at the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington on May 6, with boxes of shoes. That was one of the stops on delivery day.
Ray Pugsley, who owns Potomac River Running with his wife Cathy, called the medical staff “local heroes,” in the fight against COVID-19, and was glad to pitch in. “They were certainly excited,” he said of the recipients at Virginia Hospital Center.
ON shipped approximately 2,500 shoes (10 pallets) to each retailer which employees sorted, sized, and categorized for each site. Organizations and individuals on their list range from fire and rescue, nurses, restaurant workers, local delivery personnel, grocery store workers, veterinary hospitals, and community centers.
The ideal shoe Potomac River Running Store in the collection was their “Cloud X,” a model of the “On Running” brand that dominates the shelves at Potomac River Running. “Those of us in the running community know them well,” Pugsley said.
Gina DeGaetano is the marketing and outreach representative for Potomac River Running and she took part in some of the deliveries last week, as did Phil Le, the manager for their store in the Ballston Corridor in Arlington. “If we could provide a pair of shoes to make it more comfortable, we’re happy to do so,” she said. “We worked with a lot of deserving people,” she said.
According to ON, a Swiss shoe company, ON’s CloudTec technology is engineered to deliver a soft landing followed by an explosive take-off. The result? An unbelievably light running sensation, their literature stated. And no compromise on cushioning and impact protection. In other words, it’s like running on clouds.
Potomac River Running has eight stores in the Northern Virginia area, including stores in Burke and Springfield, and one store in Washington, D.C. Pacers has six stores. At the Burke location, Potomac River Running employees are still selling shoes but they have a curbside delivery program going.
"We are grateful to have the opportunity to work together with ON Running and our friends at Pacers Running to support our front-line workers and many other charitable organizations struggling during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Potomac Running Company owners Cathy and Ray Pugsley. “We know there are physical and mental health benefits to walking, running, and staying active and are so appreciative of the great community we serve."
Even though Pacers and Potomac River Running are competitors in the running shoe marketplace, they rose above it when it came to the pandemic. “We partnered together,” said Ray Pugsley.