By Joe Ainsworth

In light of this birthday I reached out to a few people who have strong ties to the store and the Asheville community to discuss how running and the Asheville running community has evolved over the years. A few trends emerged, which I found very interesting:

1)  Now more than ever is the best time to support your local running store. In the age of internet shopping at your fingertips it has become ever more important to experience what local running stores mean for a community. Jus’ Running is like the library of health and wellness when it comes to running activities in the community. Although we’re in business, our primary motive with customers is to build that relationship and trust so people feel like we are a valuable resource as they embark on their active lifestyle. Sure we’ll sell you a pair of shoes, but we are also here to help give training advice, offer physical therapy recommendations, or empathize and support you through your rehabilitation efforts. Come in to purchase a new handheld water bottle or to just say “hi”! We want our community to feel encouraged to adopt a healthy active lifestyle and have fun while doing it!

Jus' Running runners and staff inside store

2)  Running technology has advanced rapidly in the 21 years of our existence. Active apparel has become lighter and allowed for more advanced wicking technology when it comes to sweating. Footwear popularity has gone through phases such as the barefoot fad made famous by Christopher McDougall’s “Born To Run”. We even thought those classic “shape-ups” would rock our glutes to chiseled perfection. Now, it seems as though the pendulum has swung the opposite direction where everyone (and their grandma) are at least trying on maximum cushioned shoes (Hoka being the primary temptress). Finally, nutrition for active lifestyles has vastly expanded where runners in 1998 (when we first opened) were given a few options to choose from whereas now, we are immediately inundated with numerous options with each brand touting its prowess over the next. At Jus’ Running we have 11 brands of nutrition alone that come in bar, gummy, gel, powder, and liquid forms.

3)  Community engagement continues to keep alive any running store brand. On a weekly basis we have between 30-50 local runners who join us at the UNCA track on Tuesday nights at 7:00 p.m. to participate in our interval workout. This summer Jus’ Running manager, Luke Paulson, established a relationship with One World Brewing West to organize a casual 4 mile run at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Every week this run culminates in 20+ runners enjoying a pint together. Occasionally we’ll even invite different running brands (Saucony, New Balance, Hoka, Altra, etc.) to our workouts so that runners can demo their new products! In addition, we partner with local race directors, offer a rewards program to all customers, and host the biggest race in Western North Carolina with the Asheville Turkey Trot 5k downtown on Thanksgiving. Having an active role in our community (pun intended) empowers all of us to retain healthy lifestyles.

Photo of runners at race

As we celebrate 21 years we want to thank those who have ever stepped into our store and supported our business and community endeavors. Local runners provide the heartbeat of our mission here and we cannot provide our good work and services without your support. Happy running to you all and may you enjoy continued success and happiness through your active pursuits!