Rebecca Kiss/Assistant Photo Editor Holly Swimm, an undeclared freshman, goes for a run on campus. Confluence Running, a store on the South Side of Binghamton, provides free running groups for the greater Binghamton community.

For some, running may seem like an exhausting feat, but for Matthew Gawors, ‘12, the exercise energizes him. As a result, he has made it his career to encourage people to get active, starting with his store, Confluence Running.

Confluence Running, located at 46 S. Washington St. on the South Side of Binghamton, aims to be more than just a shoe store. Instead, its mission is to improve the physical, emotional and financial wellness of the community.

Gawors has been competing in races all over the United States since 1996, but decided to put down roots in the Binghamton area as a student here, where he earned a bachelor’s degree from the Binghamton University School of Management, followed by a master of business administration in 2012. At BU, Gawors was involved with Harpur Chorale, as well as the Running Club.

He brings his expertise, earned from a life spent in the sport, to Confluence Running. The store facilitates trail runs, road runs and tourism events to create an inclusive community. Their mission is to “educate athletes, promote health, and create a protected and inclusive community for athletes to thrive and improve in.”

The store provides shoe fittings and sells specialized running attire, hydration and nutrition solutions, as well as injury prevention and treatment products. This last facet of the business makes up most of the sales at the store; eighty percent of its work is done based on referrals from the medical community, including podiatrists and physical therapists.

Beyond simply selling sneakers, Confluence Running organizes training and group runs, too. These running programs include a Couch to 5K Program, a half-marathon program, a 3-Person Relay Program and a marathon program. Popular recurring runs organized by the store include beginner group runs, Binghamton area trail runs, First Friday pub runs and Sunday long runs.

In addition to his responsibilities at the store, Gawors is also an adjunct lecturer of health and wellness at BU and the director of Broome County Parks, Recreation and Youth Services. He initially came to Confluence Running as the manager — before it was even built — and eventually became the owner.

“It’s a weird sense of relaxation and chaos owning the shop,” Gawors said.

Gawors said he takes pride in his shop and in the inclusive environment it has created.

“We have a no-runner-left-behind policy during our Saturday-morning beginner group runs,” he said.

The no-runner-left-behind policy is strongly enforced during this run, as it is a slower-paced social run — perfect for those just starting out.