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RRCA Announces Third Quarter Selections for Runner Friendly Community Designation

ARLINGTON, Virginia – June 27, 2012 – The Road Runners Club of America, the oldest and largest distance running organization in the United States, is pleased to announce the second round of 2012 selections for the Runner Friendly Community designation: Brambleton, VA; Des Moines, IA; Portland, OR; and Grapevine, TX. 

These communities have shown that they meet the program’s criteria, which includes community infrastructure, community support, and local government support for running. Each community has an infrastructure that can foster 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 there are positive relationships between the running community and local government.

“A lifelong Portland resident, I have run Portland streets, path, and trails for decades and have completed the Portland Marathon more than 25 times,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-OR-3.  “My extensive travels to communities throughout the country have convinced me that Portland’s runner-friendliness is far ahead of that in many other communities.”

The goals of the Runner Friendly Community program are to shine a national spotlight on communities that standout as runner-friendly and provide incentives and ideas for communities to work towards becoming runner friendly communities. Runner friendly communities can increase the quality of life, improve physical activity for residents as outlined in the National Physical Activity Plan, and provide for increased economic impact for the community.

“Grapevine has over 24 miles of hike and bike trails and many miles of park roads and sidewalks,” said Grapevine Mayor William D. Tate.  “We are very proud of the Grapevine Runners & Walkers Club in Grapevine as they promote an active and healthy lifestyle to our residents and also assist with trail maintenance in our city.”

While runners do not require a lot of expensive equipment, there are several ways that local communities can invest to ensure that running is safe, affordable, accessible, and enjoyable for anyone that wants to run.

“Des Moines is truly a Runner Friendly Community,” said Iowa Governor Terry Branstad.  “I cannot think of a place more deserving of such an official designation. Des Moines maintains 72 parks, encompassing 3,225 acres of parkland with 40 miles of trails.”

RRCA RUNNER FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES:

Brambleton, VA – The Step Sisters Road Runners Club (SSRRC) call Brambleton home.  Brambleton, designed with physical activity in mind, has a network of trails and sidewalks where you can complete six to 10 miles on a single run.  If a track is your preference, the community tracks are well lit and open to the public.

The infrastructure contained within Brambleton’s paths and sidewalks extend throughout the entire community, providing runners and walkers with a safe place to exercise and avoid running in the streets.  Along these paths are rock formations, waterfalls, trees, and pet waste disposal areas.  Several runner friendly businesses have dog water bowls in front of their store.

The SSRRC works closely with the Homeowners Association developer and local businesses to produce a 5K/10K Family Fun Run/Walk in the community.  This event drew 2,000 participants and spectators in its fifth year.  The SSRRC introduced Brambleton Kids Run the Nation and the Fall and Spring season had over 100 students in grades 1-8 participate. 

The energy in Brambleton has been deemed contagious with many “non-runners” volunteering and cheering at various events within the community.  Many have even trained and completed their very first race in Brambleton. 

Community leaders who provided support and letters of recommendation include Ashley Campolattaro, President of the Step Sisters Running Club; Kim Adams, Marketing Director of The Brambleton Group/Brambleton Town Center; Christine Elansary, Communications Coordinator, Brambleton Community Association; Jeff Strahan, Owner, FIResults; and Sandy Brown, RRCA Coach and Brambleton resident. 

Des Moines, IA – Des Moines is home to the Capital Striders and IMT Des Moines Marathon Running Club, which will also host the IMT Des Moines Marathon, which is a part of the 2012 State Championship Event Series.  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 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.

Des Moines hosts gender neutral, youth running programs.  Des Moines schools have a track and cross country program and the Capital Striders host events for the youth.  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. There is a 5K of some sort every weekend in Des Moines.

The YMCA has been host to Run@Work Day in Des Moines for the past five years and hosts the Red Flannel Run each year in February.  The local government has a clear physical activity plan for residents of Des Moines.

Community leaders who provided support and letters of recommendation include Greg Edwards, Des Moines Convention and Visitors Bureau; Mark Kostek, Director, Des Moines Sports Commission; Kandi Reindel, Assistant City Manager; Steve Bobenhouse, Owner, Fitness Sports; Teva Dawson, Facilities Manager, Des Moines Park and Recreation; Mike McGinn, President, Capital Striders; and Cindy Elsbernd, See Us Run Des Moines. 

Portland, OR – With three different networks, runners and walkers of Portland can have their pick of distance and terrain on any given day.  Leif Erickson Drive is an 11 mile dirt road that is closed to traffic and marked every quarter mile. It is contained within the 5,171 acre Forest Park, which includes 30 miles of trails to run.  Springwater Corridor is a rails-to-trails, 20-mile long path that begins in Portland and stretches to Boring, Oregon.  Eastside Esplanade/Tom McCall Waterfront Loop is a 3-mile long bike trail along the east and west sides of the Willamette River in downtown Portland.

The Portland trails network includes water fountains, community bathrooms or portable toilets, available parking, signs linking pedestrian networks, mile markers, walk lights at busy intersections, stop signs at residential intersections, and painted crosswalks.

The Oregon Road Runners Club (ORRC) provides funds for both youth and community organizations that promote running and fitness. For example, they provide funding to seven school programs, elementary to high school, and one program that promotes running for the homeless, One Step Closer.  Run Portland is a competitive running club for youth that promotes the “My Miles” running program for children in elementary through high school at all levels of ability.  The Portland Track Festival includes a youth meet in conjunction with the main event.

Nike and Adidas both have stores and their headquarters in and around Portland.  They provide support to the local running community and events by sponsoring events and promoting youth running like the annual Oregon/Washington Border Dual in cross-country and national high school team cross country championships each fall.

Community leaders who provided support and letters of recommendation include Mayor Sam Adams; Congressman Earl Blumenauer; Daniel Field, Kaiser Permanente; Sean Rivers, Foot Traffic Running Store; Drew Mahalic, Executive Director, Oregon Sports Authority Foundation; and Tracy Reisinger, President, Oregon Road Runners Club.

Grapevine, TX – Grapevine has approximately 24 miles of hike and bike trails that link parks, schools, and businesses.  The hike and bike trails have mileage markers that also have GPS coordinates for location identification in case of emergencies.  The city also has an indoor 1/8 mile walking/jogging track and several outdoor tracks that belong to the local school district.  The city has joint-use agreement with the school district for the use of school facilities.

The hike and bike trails in Grapevine include water fountains, community bathrooms or portable toilets, available parking, signs linking pedestrian networks, mile markers, walk lights at busy intersections, stop signs at residential intersections, and painted crosswalks.  One trail in Grapevine links with four other communities, creating an additional 11-mile trail.

The City Parks & Recreation Board has worked with the running club, Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers (LGRAW), over the last 15 years to make the city’s trails runner friendly.  The City of Grapevine invites LGRAW club to city sponsored health events to promote running, walking a healthy lifestyle.  The City also promotes LGRAW in their semi-annual “Playbook” activities brochure and has our link on the parks and recreation website.  The City of Grapevine allows LGRAW to use their meeting rooms free of charge.  The city allows LGRAW free entrance to their Rockledge Park for our annual Thanksgiving morning trail run.

Youth in the community that participate in track and field and cross country utilize the hike and bike trails and city sidewalks for training.  Grapevine and other surrounding communities have hosted the Texas Amateur Athletic Federation Games of Texas that includes track and field events for youth and adults.  Grapevine has been host to a Run@Work Day event as well.

Community leaders who provided support and letters of recommendation include Lori Cerami, Office Manager, Foot and Ankle Associates of North Texas; Mayor Wiliam D. Tate; John Dalri, Advisory Board, Chairperson, Grapevine Parks and Recreation; RaDonna Hessel, President, Grapevine Chamber of Commerce; Bruno Rumbelow, Grapevine City Manager; and Kathryn Gleghorn, President, Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers.

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