FrontRunner was founded in 1986 as a partnership between Richie Cohen-Smith, and Kevin O'Grady.
Front Runner Inc., and its original location at 1344 W. Lane Ave., attracts and keeps its loyal customers in a market crowded with national competitors by offering qualified guidance toward the best purchases through an educated staff that walks - or runs - the talk, its owners say, because every employee is an experienced running enthusiast.
Kevin O'Grady is a graduate of Columbus DeSales High School and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Natural Resources from The Ohio State University. He is a prolific marathoner, having run 111 marathons with a PR of 2:35. He has run a marathon every year since 1979. Kevin also has run 95 ultra-marathons, including the Badwater 146, which leaves from Badwater in Death Valley, elevation minus 282 feet, and finishes at the summit of Mt. Whitney, elevation 14,497’! Kevin has run in excess of 101,000 lifetime miles.
Richi Cohen Smith, a collegiate competitor at Ohio University, served as a longtime coach of multiple state and national champions and U.S. Olympic Trials qualifiers, founding and operating the Nike-sponsored Columbus Olympic Club between 1978 and 1980. Now 54, Cohen-Smith has traded in running for cycling following a hip replacement. Co-owner Kevin O'Grady, now 47, has run 90 marathons and 70 ultra-marathons, including races in excess of 100 miles. Richie retired on December 31, 2009.
In June of 2015, Kevin O'Grady retired and passed the FrontRunner torch on to Tim Flahaven, owner of Fleet Feet Sports. Collectively FrontRunner and Fleet Feet Sports help thousands of runners and walkers achieve their fitness goals each year with one simple goal, make Columbus a FITTER city.