One would expect Paul Morrison to be a little winded by now, if not too weary to consume his favorite, energizing treat from Starbucks. This is because the spry co-owner of the Tacoma City Marathon has been running for the past 31 years and cheering on peers through his company's eight endurance events since 2007. His affinity for the sport was fully developed by age 12, when he had a bout of early onset entrepreneurship that caused a fever dream of owning a running store. The dream came to fruition when he opened Fleet Feet Sports in Bonney Lake, but his appetite for adrenaline and sweat-bonded companionship remained, unsatisfied by regular sprints through the woods with fellow ultramarathoners and chats with customers about their pronation.
The missing piece was Tony Phillipi, the founder of the world's largest running club, Marathon Maniacs. The company's name accurately reflects Phillipi's zeal for running, which was ignited on a high-school track when the burning rubber footing accidentally set his soul on fire. When the two sportsmen crossed paths, they immediately commiserated over the lack of distance races in Tacoma and set out to fill the void with the sound of steady, strong footfalls.