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Columbus, GA Recognized as a Runner Friendly Community

By SONYA SORICH from the Ledger-Enquirer

Alicia Roubicek jogged on relatively new territory Tuesday afternoon.

“We actually just found this. It’s a great place for strollers,” said Roubicek, 28, referring to Columbus’ Fall Line Trace rails-to-trails route.

Her 28-year-old husband, Nathan, and 15-month-old daughter, Stella, joined her on the portion near Hilton Avenue. The military family moved to Columbus in November 2012.

Their discovery of the route highlights a goal uniting many local running enthusiasts: establishing Columbus as place with unique options for runners of all experience levels.

Now, the city has a national distinction supporting that goal.

The Road Runners Club of America has named Columbus a Runner Friendly Community. The honor comes with a plaque and royalty-free use of the RRCA Runner Friendly Community logo for five years, among other benefits.

But its significance goes deeper than signage.

“It makes me proud to see that the community has grown so much. I want to continue the growth of health and fitness,” said Dr. Ed Lopez. The podiatrist is a past president of the Columbus Roadrunners and a current member of the organization’s board of directors.

He spent an estimated 80 hours working on Columbus’ application to become a Runner Friendly Community. His application included a video, letters of community support and more.

How important is the distinction? Lopez estimates two to three communities receive the honor each quarter. Joining Columbus in this round of selections: Peachtree City, Ga., and Eugene, Ore., a city often called “Track Town, USA.”

Lopez remembers seven years ago, when the Columbus Roadrunners had approximately 50 members. Now, the group encompasses nearly 700 people, he said.

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