Born to run: Snoqualmie store owner welcomes all runners

Taryn Graham opened her new shop, Snoqualmie Running, on June 24.

Even with most of her boxes now unpacked and bright floral wallpaper brightening up the store’s interior, Taryn Graham cannot quite explain how she ended up owning her own running store.

The idea for Snoqualmie Running — her shop along Railroad Avenue — came to her five months ago, only after an idea for an alcohol-infused ice cream food truck didn’t pan out.

And within a week of having the idea, Graham, a self-described impulsive person, was already calling vendors and looking for a storefront in Snoqualmie or North Bend.

“It weirds me out,” she said behind the register of her store less than a week after opening, with her old running dog, Dexter, waddling by her side.

“I’m not a religious person or super spiritual, but I totally believe I was guided toward this,” she said. “After the last year of my life, I’ve just trusted everything’s going to work out.”

If there’s one thing that makes sense, it’s that Graham — a video editor by trade who hasn’t worked retail in over a decade — opened a running store.

Raised by runner parents in Spokane, a city with a history of producing state high school cross country champions, Graham said she never had a chance of doing anything else. On her store’s website, there’s a baby photo of her in a “born to run” onesie.

Her childhood was spent on race courses and around runners. She would get dragged along when her mom and grandfather would run ultra-marathons, sitting in their support van “crewing” their races.

“To us that was normal,” she said.

Her mom still runs to this day, she said, recently running down the West Coast from her house to climb Mt. Whitney to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s.

Graham’s own running career began at 5 years old. She went on to run competitively at cross country powerhouse North Central High School in Spokane before graduating from a high school in Chattaroy.

Graham said she tried to walk away from the sport after high school, but it’s not something she could ever go through with. It kept pulling her back.

She moved to the Seattle area in her 20s. Alone and knowing no one, she started running again. Eventually it wasn’t just running, but volunteering at races and snapping race photos. And after years of swearing she would never try ultra-running like her mom, she even checked off her first 100-miler.

“You have to go somewhere mentally where it’s just so freeing,” she said of ultra-running. “You’re not responsible for anything or anyone expect getting your body forward.”

It’s the community, she said, that drove her to continue running. After a tough few years, including a recent bout with cancer, the running community continued to rally around her, she said.

After living in North Bend and Snoqualmie for over a decade, she hopes her store can be a space for the Valley’s running community — filling a long missing void.

For years, Graham had been driving all the way to Bellevue to shop at a local running store. The Valley, with its hundreds of miles of trails, beautiful scenery and active running community, has (to her knowledge) never had a store of its own.

Now she wants her store to be a space and a home base for running groups, high school athletes and anyone looking to catch the running bug.

“I keep telling everyone I want you to feel like you can have space for anything,” she said. “I want everyone to feel like they can come here. Runners of all shapes and sizes.”