The brightly colored exterior of Asheville Running Company, complete with racks of candy-colored shoes and bold print leggings, is your first clue into the nature of this upbeat and welcoming running store. Located in the quirky and vibrant River Arts District, Asheville Running Company offers far more than apparel, shoe fitting, and trail guides.
Store owners Judy and Dan Foy opened ARC in September 2014, eager to fill a niche they felt was lacking in Asheville's running culture. “Running stores can be very intimidating—especially if you’re brand new,” says Judy. “We wanted to create an encouraging space for everyone. No matter what your goals are—from running around the block to running a marathon—it's cool! We're happy to work with you.”
From sponsoring community races such as Race to the Taps, to organizing free weekly runs, exercise classes, and Training Programs, this smart, small, and locally owned business will help you reach your running and fitness potential. With craft beer and group dinners thrown into the mix, you might find yourself a dedicated member of Asheville’s running community before spring is up.
Tuesday Group Run and Free Abs
Whether you’ve just laced up your first pair of shoes or you’re a seasoned marathoner, all are welcome to participate in one of ARC’s weekly group runs. “All paces are welcome,” Judy says. “And no runner is left behind. The whole point of these runs is to have fun, get moving, and encourage the local community. That's what Asheville responds to.”
Tuesday evening “RAD-ass Runs” begin at 6:3o p.m. at the RAC storefront. The 3-5 mile route will wind through the eclectic neighborhood of art galleries and murals and alongside the French Broad River. Because these runs are designed to be as social as they are invigorating, the pace is breathable and the atmosphere relaxed. One ARC ambassador will lead the group, and another will take up the rear to ensure that all runners are supported.
RAD-ass runs are followed by a free hard-core abs workout, led by retail manager Cierra Winters. After that, runners head over to the West Asheville Lounge and Kitchen, White Duck Taco Shop, or Asheville Pizza to reward themselves with a dinner out. “It's just a great, social time,” says running ambassador Melissa Allen. “Getting out with people who are willing to run and walk with you, having that companionship and support, that's how you become a runner.”
Thirsty Thursday Group Runs
Celebrate Asheville’s proud tradition of blending exercise with craft beer by joining ARC for a Thirsty Thursday group run. Until April 23, meet at the storefront at 5:30 p.m. for a West Asheville neighborhood run and hard-core abs class. After you have sweated out the stress of the workweek, enjoy an ice cold beer on the house. That's right—ARC provides free beer from one of the many phenomenal local breweries to provide you with that extra push to make it to the weekend. If you're on the fence about hitting the trail after a long day of work, let this be the frothy motivation you need to get you up and running.
On April 23, Thirsty Thursday will take a sour turn—in the most delicious way possible. The runs will begin meeting at the Funkatorium, Wicked Weed’s barrel and sour brewery in the South Slope neighborhood, the “capitol” of Beer City's brewing culture, followed by core strengthening in the barrel room. Extra perks such as dollar-off beers and specially designed discounted menu options will be available exclusively for runners.
There is more to achieving your running goals then simply putting one foot in front of the other. For that reason, ARC offers a selection of fitness classes throughout the week. High-intensity interval training and bootcamp style workouts emphasize cardiovascular conditioning, core strength, and fat burning. A foot fitness workshop, focusing on tuning and strengthening the feet, is particularly helpful for any runner struggling with plantar fasciitis or related injuries.
These classes cost money, but at a reduced rate, due in part to the fact that ARC opens their facility to local trainers free of charge. “It's a win win,” Judy says. “The trainers build their business, we get great exposure, and people love these classes. We have a group of new moms who show up religiously at 5:45 a.m.”
On March 21, ARC will begin their free “I'm only half crazy” training program to prepare you for Asheville's Half Marathon and 10k race on June 6. This program was designed by new mom and eight-time marathon runner Trish Hauptmann. These Sunday group runs will progressively build mileage through city streets and on Bent Creek’s wooded trails. Beginning runners and seasoned racers alike will benefit from the support and camaraderie of these workouts, as well as weekly training tips from marathoners and certified personal trainers.
You can stay up to date with Asheville Running Company's weekly runs, sponsored races, spring sales and more by following their Facebook Page .