OK. COVID hasn’t gone away yet as an issue for 2021. Since just a month ago we are now facing new viral strains that may be more virulent, a slower pace for vaccine administration than hoped for and questions whether the existing vaccines will cover all subtypes of COVID. Our Freezeroo series fell victim to the ongoing restrictions which still hamper going ahead with any significant sized race events in our area. While we wait hopefully to see how 2021 unfolds, there clearly remain a lot of unknowns.
But………runners and running have NOT gone away. Data nationally shows many runners putting in more miles on the road now than before our forced quarantine. This is reflected locally in the many Facebook posts of virtual running activities and simply in the increase in the number of runners we all see out in our neighborhoods. Even the arrival (finally) of real winter weather has not slowed people down. One should of course run safely in snowy weather with good shoes, awareness of icy conditions, use of reflecting gear and headlamps in the dark and an abundance of caution regarding traffic. But running importantly supports both physical and mental health in this time of enforced isolation. And the GOOD news is that Daylight Savings time is only 8 weeks away! Regardless of COVID, Spring WILL come.
In that regard, the first major race of the Spring season (and traditionally of the RROY series) is the Running of the Green to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. Because of COVID restrictions limiting in person group size, the usual race format cannot take place. However, the Running of the Green WILL proceed this March as a virtual race organized by Rochester Running Company and with the Rochester Area YMCA as the title sponsor. One can run any 5-mile course between 3/13 and 3/20/21, then post times and photos of your run on the web. Signup comes with a long sleeve cotton T-shirt and a neck gaiter. There is also an option for a discount for those who sign up for both 2021 and 2022 races together.
After this long winter of COVID, make your plans to participate in this important virtual event for the Rochester running community which promises to show everyone that we runners are not going to be defeated. For 2022 we are already looking forward to the return of an in-person Running of the Green which is already in the planning stages. Signup: https://www.runninofthegreen.com/.
Meanwhile, all our running stores are still sponsoring “COVID sized” group activities. Rochester Running Company continues hosting their small group weeknight runs and Saturday morning small pace groups capped at 10 people. Check their website for signup data. Fleet Feet has still suspended their Saturday paced runs but still have their “trails and Ales” event in Victor on Thursdays, capped at 20 people.
Medved has also hosted multiple virtual activities. Check out all those pictures on their Facebook page. With all the stores, check their websites and Facebook pages often to see what new and active running offerings are out there. Links to all three stores, as well as much more that is available on the Web, can be found on GRTC’s web page at https://grtconline.org/runners-resources/.
All the stores of course remain open for your purchases and running needs. In this age of Amazon, please remember that purchases from your local stores helps THEM to be around to sponsor the race events YOU enjoy and which we need as a community. I still have yet to see the “Amazon 10 K” advertised!! Likewise, when talking of supporting local groups with your purchases, be sure to check out GRTC’s own new online purchase offerings. This site allows you to select your size, color and logo in a variety of apparel shipped directly to your home at a reasonable and competitive price. Please log in and check out what we have at https://grtc.threadless.com.
As I have said before, 2020 has been an “interesting” year that none of us want to repeat. The COVID pandemic remains ongoing and has challenged all aspects of our society. The running community is not immune to this and still has challenges ahead of it today. But the running community and runners themselves ARE resilient and we WILL all come out of this. I look forward to a robust recovery of our sport in 2021. See you out on the road (still 6 feet apart).
Doug Jones (President GRTC)
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Update: Since Doug’s writing his letter, Fleet Feet is starting back group workouts with Tuesdays and is preparing to add Saturdays.