Happy New Year! I think we can honestly say 2021 looks like it should be a better year than 2020. When COVID first appeared last March, no one thought it would last this long and shut down large in person races for 9 months now. But it still holds us back and we have been as yet unable to host any of the Freezeroo series. Admittedly our region is better than some areas and some have argued that we should therefore open up events. But our region’s success is BECAUSE we have maintained restrictions, masking and social distance, arguing to continue this approach till the pandemic is controlled. On the positive side however, although the short-term problems have been worse than we planned, the long-term outlook may be as good as we could hope for. Effective vaccines rolling out into the community combined with continued social distancing promise to bring this illness under control in 2021. We may though have to wait till at least Spring (and possibly summer) to see the end of this dark tunnel. 

Meanwhile, running in Rochester is not dead! Far from it. It is just different, as evidenced by the level of participation in local virtual events and smaller “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. Their annual Winter Warrior series has morphed into a virtual ½ or ¼ marathon to be completed individually between 1/2/21 and 1/10/21 (comes with hat, medal and certificate). Medved just hosted the Virtual Merrier Games on 12/18 with strong participation (and donations raised for the pirate toy fund). Check out all the pictures on their Facebook page. With all the stores, check their websites and Facebook pages often about their new and active offerings, as the COVID guidelines situation is in daily flux.  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 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. The club has redesigned its long standing GRTC logo to bring it “up to date”. The new logo comes in two versions, one of which incorporates the Rochester Skyline! Both are now available on shirts, tank tops, hoodies, masks and other articles for purchase from Threadless.com. 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.  

Your support for us at GRTC will also help us as we reboot in person racing in 2021. A modest $20 yearly membership goes a long way to keeping our sport vibrant and maintaining running events and opportunities for all. AND from now till 1/31/21, sign up or renew your GRTC membership at a DISCOUNT ($5 off yearly and $10 off 3year memberships). You can also get a discount till 1/31/21 on all purchases through our Threadless supplier. Our way of supporting our members by celebrating and “kick starting” the new year ahead. With optimism for 2021 (and details to be determined) we are still planning as this pandemic winds down for the following events:  

1.     GRTC Ultra Series (Mind the Ducks, Candlelight 12, CanLakes50)

2.     GRTC Annual Running Clinic

3.     RROY series 

4.     Freezeroo 2021/22

5.     Membership picnic in summer  

In the meantime, we hope you ARE all still out there on the road. Running remains one sport that CAN be done outside in any season with adequate COVID precautions. Solo running or running with those in your personal “bubble” can be a way to mentally and physically survive these unprecedented times. It is also important for maintaining your fitness level, so you are ready when in person competition re opens. 

As I have said before, 2020 has been an “interesting” year that none of us want to repeat. The running community still has challenges ahead of it today, but we WILL 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) 

GRTC Membership: https://runsignup.com/Club/NY/Rochester/GreaterRochesterTrackClub

GRTC purchases:  https://grtc.threadless.com