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Des Moines to Receive Outstanding Runner Friendly Community Award

ARLINGTON, Virginia –The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA), the oldest and largest distance running organization in the United States, is pleased to announce that Des Moines, IA has been designated the 2012 Outstanding Runner Friendly Community®.  The RRCA will honor Des Moines, IA with a commemorative award at the upcoming 55th Annual RRCA National Convention, which will be held May 2-5, 2013 in Albuquerque, NM.

Des Moines has shown that it meets, and exceeds, the program’s criteria, which includes community infrastructure, civic backing, and local business support for the sport of running. Their infrastructure fosters physical activity in a safe environment; a proven track record that organizations and businesses work together to promote running as a healthy exercise and sport; and they create and maintain positive relationships between the running community and local government.

“The City of Des Moines is honored to be recognized as a 2012 Runner Friendly Community,” said Frank Cownie, Mayor of Des Moines. “In recent years, the City has gone to great lengths to improve the connectivity of the over 40 miles of city maintained trails, in order to provide our citizens the opportunity to lead and maintain healthy lifestyles.”

Des Moines is home to the Capital Striders, and The Drake Relays, Dam to Dam, IMT Des Moines Marathon, and Living History Farm Cross Country Race are the cornerstones of a busy racing calendar.  Gray’s Lake, located in downtown Des Moines, has a 1.9 mile loop trial that connects at four different locations to the Meredith Trail, Water Works Park, and Principal Riverwalk trails. The local government has a clear physical activity plan for residents of Des Moines.

“We are pleased to announce this award for Des Moines, IA during what is a busy running week for their community,” said Jean Knaack, RRCA executive director.  “Des Moines started the week of April 22 with the Grand Blue Mile,  which is the USA Men’s & Women’s 1 Mile Championships for 2013 and 2014.  The 104th Drake Relays kicked off on April 24 and will run through April 28. Des Moines will conclude their running calendar for the week with the Hy Vee Road Races 6k, 10k and Half Marathon.”

“We are honored to hear this news,” said Greg Edwards, President & CEO of the Greater Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau/Des Moines Area Sports Commission. “Our city leaders and community partners have worked hard to ensure our region provides runners with a pleasant experience. From hosting competitive track and field events and region-wide marathons to the extensive trails systems for the casual runner to explore, there’s no question that Greater Des Moines is a runner-friendly city. This is why we continue to promote our city as Track Central USA.”

The City of Des Moines has gone to great lengths in recent years to connect portions of trails and trail heads with one another that are of benefit to not only the running community but also biking community.  Most recently, the city has installed signs that link these pedestrian networks that show mileage and distance to other trail connectors.  You can complete over 20 miles on the Des Moines pedestrian network.

Chris Coleman, Des Moines City Councilman said, “Des Moines prides itself on the beauty of its streets and trails. There is no better place than Des Moines to enjoy a run. Amazing trails in nature, friendly tree-lined streets, and fans always there to cheer on the competitors.”

Learn more about the Runner Friendly Community program.

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