Earlier this month, the RRCA announced its Fall 2016 Runner Friendly Communities. To better celebrate the communities that have been selected, and to encourage other communities to apply, we're spotlighting them with profiles of what made them worthy of this designation.
SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA
An extended suburb located 35-miles outside of Los Angeles, Santa Clarita was officially incorporated in 1987. However, the town’s history stretches back considerably further to the gold rush days, and has seen steady population growth since the mid-1800s. Today, the city has a population of over 150,000.
The city of Santa Clarita is surrounded by thousands of acres of preserved open space that not only provides a picturesque background, but the open space also allows for miles of multi-use trails surrounded by nature. Additionally, the city is always looking to improve its trail system, part of a larger and ongoing effort to offer recreational facilities and programs since incorporation. Santa Clarita provides drinking fountains, parking, and restrooms at most city parks and trailheads along the trail system.
RRCA member club, the Santa Clarita Runners Club (SCRC) organizes a number of races throughout the year. These events range from free participation events to 5k's, 10k's, half, and full marathons. For each of these to be successful the SCRC has developed relationships with the city’s Department of Public Works, the Arts & Events Office, the Sheriff’s Office, the California Highway Patrol, and many more organization. Each organization participates as a willing partner in order to ensure a safe and successful event for runners and supporters. Annually, the SCRC gives back to the six local high school track and cross country programs with financial donations totaling $15,000 in 2016.
The City of Santa Clarita partners with the SCRC in the organization of the Santa Clarita Marathon; now in its 21st year. The City also solicits volunteer input from the SCRC relating to local parks and for path and trail planning. City managers attend SCRC board meetings to share ideas and status on events, planning, and future initiatives. Running club members attend city meetings to provide a voice for local runners in relation to local planning.
The businesses of Santa Clarita are also deeply committed to fostering the city’s running community. Runner's Lane sponsors free running/training groups and shoe demonstration days. It is also a center for race information. Santa Clarita Running Company hosts weekly running/training runs and shoe demonstrations and makes their store available for bib pick-up location prior to selected races. Dick's Sporting Goods hosted a club run with former Olympian Ryan Hall and serves as a bib pick-up location prior to a community run and also sponsors many local running and athletic events.
“A healthy Santa Clarita is a happy Santa Clarita,” said Bob Kellar, Mayor of Santa Clarita, in his letter of recommendation. “We strive to serve as the catalyst and provider of efforts that influence healthy lifestyles.”
Community leaders providing support and letters of recommendation include: Bob Kellar - Santa Clarita Mayor, Jim McDonnell - Santa Clarita Sheriff, Kevin Sarkissian - Head Coach Students Off & Running.