The Company & The Owner
Commonwealth Running Company is a community-first running company that will take what local running stores do best and utilize technology to enhance that experience by offering everything a runner needs in a seamless and comprehensive way. Founded by a distance runner from Chicago, this grassroots running company will look to outfit and supply runners with gear that enhances their running experience, and in doing so, will look to grow the sport and expand a market. The sport of running has greatly benefited from a societal drive to be healthier and people are staying active longer into their lives and we want to help those who are staying active while encouraging more people to find where fitness fits into their life so they can share in a bright and healthy future. Our mission is to expand the sport to more people, making it less intimidating and to reach more people.
The company is founded and owned by Matthew Abitbol.
Matthew Abitbol was born and raised in Chicago. Matt first began running in 2008 shortly after losing 100 pounds. To date, Matt has participated in over 240 races, 82 of them marathons. He has 4 career wins and just ran his 10th consecutive Boston Marathon. Having started out as an inexperienced, unknowledgeable and overweight runner, Matt always felt that the run specialty experience could be made to be more inclusive and less overwhelming to an average athlete or someone new to running. It has been his dream to bring that experience to his hometown since 2010. For nearly 4 years Matt worked within the run specialty industry in a wide variety of roles at multiple stores. In order to understand the industry and marketplace, Matt experienced everything from shoe fittings, leading fun runs, meeting with brands, on-boarding new employees, and coaching training programs.
After nearly 15 years of helping small and medium-sized businesses manage their cashflows, credit, assets and growth, Matt has left the financial services industry to live his dream of owning a running store.
Commonwealth Running Company is the embodiment of that dream. It is a locally owned, independent, full-service running store. We sell footwear, apparel and accessories for running and walking. Our team is committed to enhancing the local running and walking communities through our offering of specialty products, educational resources and training opportunities to help you achieve your goals. We, ourselves, are runners, so we draw on our own experiences as well as our extensive knowledge of footwear and other running gear, in providing you with the best service.
Our mission is to expand the sport of running through our local communities every day. Through our inclusive culture, Commonwealth Running Company will knockdown the perceived walls and barriers for a new participant/runner to live a healthier and happier life through the sport of running.
One of the things I really liked about “Commonwealth” was how welcoming and open it feels. The term commonwealth is a traditional English term for “community for the common good.” That’s exactly what I want to build.
I want to create an environment where all runners feel welcome. I also like that it has a loose tie to the Boston Marathon. Boston represents a goal or a dream for most marathoners. While I didn’t want to make non-marathoners or non-Boston-Marathoners feel excluded I did like the idea of having, essentially an Easter egg in the name, for those who have run it. One of the final streets you run on before the finish is Commonwealth Ave. So, the name “Commonwealth Running Company” tied together my personal running journey with what is now my adventure of owning my own run specialty store.
Why a tiger?
A tiger, as a spirit animal, as well as through the Chinese definition, represents...fierce, determination, ambition, strength and courage. Those are all attributes of people who are starting to run. It is having the courage to take that first step and get out there.
What’s with the Colors?
With the color scheme, one of the reasons I like the red, orange and yellow is that it represents a loose tie to Chicago. I like the idea that no matter where Commonwealth may expand or grow to, it will always have its roots in Chicago. Chicago is known as The Second City since the Great Chicago Fire burned the city to the ground and the city that’s here today arose from the ashes. I think of someone who’s just starting to run in a very similar way, with a Phoenix-like new beginning. They’re beginning a new journey and becoming a runner. Sometimes you have to destroy who you are to become who you want to be. So, I wanted a color scheme that is a reminder of where the company originated.