the art of running: Runstreet
running + art, two things that are at the very core of honeygrow — from our monthly run clubs in Philadelphia, DC, Hoboken + Delaware, to the custom, local artwork which is featured throughout each location. When we discovered that there was a Brooklyn-based running group that combined our two passions, we had to learn more. Enter Marnie Kunz, Founder, Owner, Operator + Runner behind Runstreet — the street-art-fueled running program, which takes attendees through some of New York’s most decorated streets, alleys + neighborhoods. We partnered with Marnie + Runstreet for an hgAthletics run in April of 2017, showcasing the beautiful work found throughout Downtown Brooklyn (including our very own space, which features a mural by Rubin415). After we caught our breath a bit, we chatted with Marnie to learn more about the group + what inspired her to pursue this initiative…
hg: tell us a bit about your fitness + art background and what inspired you to merge the two to create the Runstreet program?
marnie: I’ve been a runner most of my life, since running cross country and track in junior high and throughout college. I became a running coach in 2010 + I’ve always loved running for the chance to explore and see new places. I’ve also moved quite a bit and everywhere I’ve lived — from Ireland to Chicago — I’ve run and learned so much about the cities. I’m also a writer and have always loved creative endeavors, from words to art. My mom is an artist, so we grew up going to museums and art fairs regularly.
hg: how would you classify an “Art Run”? Tell us a bit about the Runstreet experience…
marnie: an Art Run is a guided running tour of local street art. For our runs, we take runners on a relaxed pace run to see the city’s most amazing murals. We talk about the artists along the way and take fun photos. Our photographer, Marques Jackson, captures everything beautifully and everyone has access to the photos following the event.
hg: you mention on your website that you consider running itself a form of art…could you explain a bit more about your approachable running methods, as well as your overall mission for the group?
marnie: running is a form of meditation, stress release and also a chance to socialize.
“It is art in motion…”
…as each run is a unique experience, from the first steps to the final ones. My mission with Runstreet is to spread the joyful and artistic side of running to as many people as possible, and to help those people connect to themselves, each other + the world around them through our art running experiences. People often come up to me after runs saying they pass the area all the time, but never saw those murals, or they say thank you for showing them a whole new neighborhood or city. I love to help people appreciate the beauty around them and learn about the artists who make our cities so beautiful.
hg: how inclusive are your runs? Is anyone at any running level able to join in? Why is it important to you to keep these accessible to everyone?
marnie: my runs are very inclusive, as we go at a 10-minute mile pace + take several breaks for photos. We post the distance in each event description, and usually the runs are 3 to 4 miles. We also have pacers to make sure no one gets left behind. We get all levels of runners, from beginners to ultra marathoners, at our runs. I like to keep the runs accessible to all levels so everyone can enjoy the experience + meet new people they otherwise wouldn’t meet.
hg: how do you go about plotting the routes + discovering the art you want to feature on the runs?
marnie: I do a lot of wandering and researching on social media to look up the tags on murals, etc. As I mentioned, I have also moved + traveled a lot, so I am familiar with running in lots of cities, which gives me a baseline to start from.
hg: do you ever collaborate with or feature particular artists on these runs? If so, who are some recent features?
marnie: yes! We love to feature artists on our runs. Most recently, we have collaborated with Renee Xors, who has designed shirts for us + helped lead women’s art runs with us.
hg: if you had to pick your top three artists or murals in NYC, who/what would they be?
hg: what neighborhoods in New York do you run through? Any favorite spots?
marnie: I love running in the Lower East Side because it’s packed with street art, as well as Welling Court in Queens, and so many parts of Brooklyn. Brooklyn is beautiful, with all the art and brownstones, and there are so many areas to explore.
hg: do you partner with other local running and/or art groups for the runs? How else do you engage the community in each area you run through?
marnie: yes, we partner with a lot of organizations. We do runs to benefit Back on My Feet NYC, a nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness literally get back on their feet using the power of running. We have also done runs to benefit Red Hook Art Project and led a run for Run4AllWomen, which is a running movement that empowers women and is currently raising funds for Planned Parenthood. Runstreet partners with local businesses in the communities + brings people into their businesses. From breweries to art galleries to food venues, we have collaborated with many local businesses to help raise awareness of their business + mission.
hg: you recently partnered with honeygrow + hgAthletics on a run through Downtown Brooklyn, featuring a trip to our new location on Joralemon which features a mural by Rubin415. Tell us a bit about this route + some of the artists whose work we discovered along the way…
marnie: the Rubin415 mural is beautiful + served as a perfect setting to start our run. I love how honeygrow integrates art + healthy, active living into their mission. I’m also a huge fan of food and I have to say, honeygrow is delicious — the fresh ingredients + menu options go perfectly with our advocacy of healthy living. On our art run with honeygrow, we ran through downtown Brooklyn and Dumbo, passing murals by artists Danielle Mastrion, Yuko Shimizu, Crisp + more. We also ran by the breathtaking Dumbo waterfront on our route.
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join us for the next installment of our hgAthletics run alongside Runstreet on July 23rd — grab tickets now!