For Runners, By Runners

In 1986, Forerunners founders Peter and Karen Butler saw a niche to be filled in the Vancouver running community. Peter, a world class runner, and Karen, an accomplished runner in her own right, saw a need for a full-service, high-expertise running store not only to supply Vancouver runners, but to foster and educate them as well. Forerunners became the the first store to offer running clinics to educate clients about training, technique and all things related.

August 1986

Karen and Peter Butler open the first Forerunners store at 3502 West 4th Avenue in Vancouver. This original location is still in full operation today – you can still go in for a shoe fitting by Peter himself.

Pictured: Peter Butler winning the Toronto Marathon (Sept 1985). This was 11 months before him and Karen Butler opened the store.


Forerunners sponsors the very first First Half ½ Marathon (which we’ve continued to sponsor ever since).  Forerunners’ founder Peter Butler wins the inaugural event. Much like their store, this race was designed from the beginning to be for runners, by runners, raising money for local charities as they go.

Pictured: Carey Nelson at the Canadian Championships – 10000 meters


Forerunners begins sponsoring the Canadian Running Series Scotiabank Vancouver Half Marathon & 8K. Today this charity run  has over 6,000 participants, and is known as “Canada’s most scenic half-marathon” because of it’s breathtaking route through Vancouver’s Stanley Park.


Forerunners North Vancouver opens in August. It’s our largest store to date, and has served the active community on the North Shore proudly ever since. Need a new pair of kicks to get you up the Grouse Grind in (uh, relative) comfort? Visit these guys first; they’ll get you set up right.


Forerunners is named Canadian Store of the Year (2010) by the IRRC (Independent Running Retailers of Canada) at the annual convention “the Running Event” in Austin, Texas. Check out the award!


Forerunners begins sponsoring the Fall Classic ½ Marathon and 10K at UBC. This awesome Fall race calls itself “the last great run of the year.” While we contend that you can enjoy a great run any time of the year, we sure have a good time on this fun, fast course.


The launch of the new Forerunners brand. We’re excited to put forward a new look (and new website) that pays homage to everything Forerunners has done over the past three decades. We’re proud of our history, and we’re excited to see how the next chapter in the Forerunners’ story unfolds!

August 2016

Forerunners West 4th celebrates 30 years supporting the run community.

October 2016

Forerunners North Shore transitions to ownership of the Foretrails Trail Series (formerly Mountain Madness)

April 2017

Forerunners opens its latest member of the family, Forerunners Main Street in the BC Firefighters Burn Fund Charity Building.

August 2018

Forerunners North Shore celebrates 15 years serving the North Shore run community.

December 2018

Forerunners wins IIRC Canadian Store of the Year

Meet the Team


Join Our Team

Consider a career with us. Are you an upbeat, energetic team player who enjoys working with people? We’d love to chat with you. Whether you’re looking for full time or part time, submit an application with us.