Coach Barrett Lee Hopper opened Rockwall Running Center, or RRC, in 2009. An award-winning runner who raced for 31 consecutive years in 43 states and 6 countries, he has trained more than 30 All-American athletes, and over the past eight years, helped the Rockwall community earn a reputation as a “running town.”
Coach Barrett’s training began in the 1980s when he was in college helping high school athletes, and by 1996, his works snowballed into a training club, which eventually expanded into a business. In his home state of North Carolina, he organized several community group runs. He moved to Rockwall eight years ago for work and started the first of now 10 daily running groups.
Barrett wants to bring runners to one place and help them bond with the community. He calls it “action with passion.” He formed a separate team to run marathons nationwide, which quickly grew to 300 members. His Patriot Half Marathon held every year on Memorial Day continues to sell out with 1,500 runners annually competing for the grand prize.
An Liftfund loan helped his business remain competitive, he said. He used it to purchase nutritional snacks, first aid items and name-brand running shoes to sell at the center’s store. The loan helped sustain eight RRC jobs, as well. Without LiftFund’s help, Coach Barrett said, “We would have to close shop.”