Founder of rnnr Kate Arsenault wants all runs to be fun
Chamblee-born Kate Arsenault developed a passion for running as early as middle school in Roswell. Later, she coached track and taught sixth grade math, science and special education at Ridgeview Charter School in Sandy Springs.
While she loved teaching, the mom to a 1- and 4-year-old needed a new professional outlet that she could work on in her own time. In spring 2019, she and her husband, Justin, launched rnnr (pronounced “runner”), a line of running accessories and apparel. The brand offers several lightweight and sweat-wicking running hats, running socks, Tshirts and water bottles in bold colors and styles. A new visor will launch this month as well. The products are available on rnnr’s website and at all Big Peach Running Company locations, including Brookhaven.
“In 2018, my husband and I were in Colorado doing a marathon, thinking we’d come in dead last since we weren’t used to the altitude coming from Atlanta. But we were out there to have fun, and that’s what running is all about. It doesn’t have to be competitive or this big thing; it’s just something to go and do. We created the idea of rnnr to keep ‘running rad,’” says Arsenault, who has completed three marathons and the Peachtree Road Race several times. Here, Arsenault chats about running, giving back and staying motivated.
How has teaching influenced your work at rnnr?
Teaching is what I went to school for, and I loved it. After launching rnnr, I still wanted to be able to give back and get kids running, so we take a percentage of sales and give it back to running programs for kids. We also partner with local run stores, schools and running professionals to introduce kids to the elements of running to build their passion for the sport.
What’s your biggest pivot story of late?
In 2020, we partnered with vert.run, a website that creates training plans. We had them design a couch to 5K trail-running plan for kids and families— our virtual way to be able to do something this year. We also put on the Atlanta Grand Prix last fall, which was a 12-week event with six race routes, created by Atlanta Snack Club, that were scattered all over Atlanta. The courses were released on a Sunday night, and everyone had two weeks to run them on their own time. We heard from people that it gave them something to look forward to in running with all races canceled. We plan on doing the race again this year from May 31 to August 22.
Why is it important for kids to run?
For several reasons: I think one thing is that kids naturally want to run, and they have tons of energy. We’re so tied down to technology in school and during leisure time, and not moving builds up anxiety. Getting kids running alleviates anxiety, builds self-confidence and introduces them to a lifelong sport. You can run, no matter how fast or good you are, for your entire life.
Do you run with your family?
I met my husband running in the North Georgia mountains. Now I have two toddlers, and my kids go with me. I push my daughter, and my son rides his bike. It’s fun to do together.
What makes rnnr products unique?
Our whole thing is about keeping running rad. Brighter, bolder colors and more fun designs than your typical running colors. Our items stand out.
As a business owner, how do you stay motivated when things get tough?
Determination. Knowing that rnnr is something I wholeheartedly believe in. Running is a passion of mine, and the success of rnnr is also huge.
Managing Editor and Wellness Columnist at Simply Buckhead. Blogger at Badass + Healthy.