Run n Fun – A Twin Cities Specialty Running Store
I will always remember the first time I stepped into the Run n Fun store in St. Paul Minnesota. Coming from a small town, it was my first specialty running store experience.
I was in awe. Walls covered in rows and rows of shoes blew my mind to smithereens.
Until then, I ordered running shoes exclusively from Eastbay. With no other available options, I would make my best guess based on what they looked like, and hope for the best. You could not send shoes back without paying the shipping so, often I was stuck with them for the season.
When my college cross country coach took us down there, I didn’t know where to begin. He said,
Relax, they will come help you!
They will what? Help me? Find shoes that fit? Is this heaven?
No, it’s just Run n Fun.
Indeed they did help. In what I could only describe as wizardry, they looked at how I ran, my foot type, and asked a bunch of other questions. They brought out several pairs to try, and found one I loved.
This seems crazy to think about now. OF COURSE a specialty running store is going to do that. OF COURSE you will get to try on, and run in, a few pairs of shoes to see what works best for your foot. OF COURSE they will let you return shoes that feel weird after running in them for a week.
No matter where life takes me, Run n Fun will always have a special place in my heart. They were the first specialty running store that helped me understand the finding the right shoe is important. It was a place to not only buy gear, but get advice and inspiration about running in general.
They continued to do this for me for years down the road.
A Brief History of Run n Fun
Run N Fun began 25 years ago by Perry and Kari Bach. To raise the necessary capital, Perry sold his massive baseball card collection and borrowed five thousand dollars from a friend. This $10k seed money gave birth to what we all know as Run n Fun.
I had the chance to talk with Kari recently, who told me that their business model was fairly simple in the early days. She said,
Nobody was really working with the high school and college kids back then. We wanted to cater to them, and the shoe companies liked that.
They opened up the store on Randolph Ave in St. Paul, and have since added stores in Burnsville and most recently Calhoun Village in Minneapolis.
What is fascinating to me about Run n Fun, is they appear to be somewhat of the mother ship when it comes to specialty running stores in the Twin Cities. Mill City Running, TCRC and Marathon Sports all have ties back to Run n Fun.
A Few Things You Should know about Run n Fun
Like many specialty running stores in the Twin Cities, Run n Fun has a knowledgeable staff. They have lots of experience, and are able help you find the shoes and apparel that works best.
They have a HUGE selection. If you’ve ever been to the St. Paul location, you have perhaps gotten lost in the back from from time to time. Regardless of the season, you can find just about anything you are looking for.
Listing all the brands they carry would require a very long list. Visit their newly designed website for details.
They also carry track and cross country spikes for every sport. If you are an athlete looking for those (perhaps cross country), Run n Fun seems to be the go to place.
The Run n Fun Race Team
Run n Fun has a long established race team. What makes it unique is how competitive it is.
Because of their size, Run n Fun is able to provide eligible team member access to gear and other amenities. Kari said the team was started because;
We wanted to give athletes a place to train, run and compete after college. For the runner who didn’t have a professional career in their future, but were still really talented and wanted to compete…. we wanted to offer a place for them to do that after college.
To join the team, you must meet one of the time standards. Those fluctuate a bit, so contact the store directly to learn more.
Run n Fun also hosts group runs a few days a week at each location.
- On Tuesdays at 6:30 pm, join them at the St. Paul store. All abilities are welcome with arms wide open, but this group tends to be a tad on the fast side.
- On Thursday at 5:45 pm, you can meetup at the newly opened location in Minneapolis. Although new, this group run has a much wider variety of ability levels.
Both runs tend to be around five miles, but you can always make your own distance.
While the Burnsville store doesn’t have regular group runs, they often host groups or other events. There is some “incentive” for participating, be that shoe testing or just free food.
Have you been to a Run n Fun location? What was Your Experience?
The next time you’re in the market for shoes, running accessories, or group run in St. Paul or the north end of Lake Calhoun, checkout Run n Fun.