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Running is one of the most popular and affordable forms of exercise to get and keep people fit and healthy.  Running with a group can also be a positive social experience.  Running can generate significant economic impact dollars for communities that host events and support the running community.  Pedestrian networks that include sidewalks, trails, paths, and share lanes often increase property values and overall quality of living in a community. 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. 

Many communities support a variety of sports and sporting facilities and at the heart of almost every sport is running.  Being a Runner Friendly Community® not only supports the running community, but running as the foundation for many other community-based sports (soccer, football, tennis, basketball, etc.). 

The goal of this program is to shine a national spotlight on communities that standout as runner friendly and to provide incentive and ideas for communities to work towards becoming runner friendly communities. 

“Runner friendly communities can increase the quality of life, can improve physical activity for residents as outlined in the National Physical Activity Plan, and can provide for increased economic impact for the community,” explained Jean Knaack, RRCA executive director.

The RRCA will review three primary segments: (1) community infrastructure, (2) community support, and (3) local government support.  Each segment includes important criteria as part of the designation process.  The goal is for applicants to prove that their community works together to promote running as healthy exercise for their community while ensuring runners safety.  All applications will be reviewed and scored by a selection panel, and the panel will determine the number of communities that will receive the designation throughout the year.  One top city will be selected annually by the review panel and awarded as the Outstanding Runner Friendly Community for the year.

As part of the Runner Friendly Community Program, the RRCA has defined what is a Runner Friendly Business.  Runner friendly businesses support the running community and are safe places for runners in times of need.  Businesses are encouraged to purchase the RRCA Runner Friendly Business static window decals to hang in their places of business.

There are many benefits for communities that earn the Runner Friendly Community designation.  Learn more about the Runner Friendly Community designation program today.   

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