Dear RRCA Members:
I would like to express my gratitude to the members of the RRCA for electing me as the President of the Board of Directors for the RRCA. While being elected to serve in this important role brings me joy and excitement, the pandemic crisis has understandably created much anxiety and stress in our running community, which I will address shortly.
First, I wish to thank outgoing President Mitch Garner for his mentoring and, more importantly, for his dedication over the years to the RRCA. Moreover, I wish to thank outgoing Treasurer Craig Minyard and At-Large Director Jean Arthur for their loyal service and their invaluable contributions to the organization. I welcome incoming Treasurer Barb Jewell and At-Large Director Samantha Collmar. I look forward to working with wonderful group of people that make up the RRCA Board of Directors.
Coming back to this unprecedented crisis: “These are rough times.” But in our nation’s history during difficult times, such World War II and 9/11, we have risen up to help each other. I believe that the most unique and blessed thing about our sport is how runners come together in positive ways. At races, we may not know most of the runners, but we do cheer them on to finish that race. At running clubs, volunteers give up their time, and expend their efforts, to ensure that fellow members have positive experiences at activities and help members achieve their goals.
With the crisis, running clubs across the country are stepping up to help their fellow club members and their communities. Some examples include*:
- Salt Lake City Track Club (SLC, UT) collecting funds and providing grants to its members who have been impacted financially by this crisis. T
- Southern Arizona Roadrunners (Tucson, AZ) formed, TRAC - Tucson Runner Aid Community, with the goal of gathering resources and volunteers to help runners in their community with grocery runs, masks, sharing skills and support, even financial aid if needed. Runners helping runners.
- Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers (Grapevine, TX) donated remaining race buffs to essential workers in their community.
- The Belmont Water Dog Run (Belmont, CA) donated remaining bandanas from its inaugural (2018) and second year (2019) races in coordination with Belmont Police Chief.
- South Bay Runners Club (Southern California) has raised over $5,000 for local restaurants and first responders in their community.
- Metro Milers (Edwardsville, IL) are hosting weekly virtual running challenges to the running community. and giving away prizes each week, including gift cards that our club has purchased from the amazing sponsors of the club's 10k race. They are also encouraging their running community to continue to support their sponsors.
As American writer Robert Ingersoll wrote: “We rise by lifting others,” our running through these selfless actions elevate not only our fellow runners’ and communities’ welfare, but elevate our sport of running as not just of competition and great health but of camaraderie and compassion. So on behalf of the RRCA and its members, thank you to the running clubs around the U.S. for your positive actions.
I would be seriously remiss in recognizing another group of runners. On behalf of the RRCA and its members, I would like to express my admiration and gratitude for those RRCA members who are serving as essential workers in order to keep us safe and to provide for our needs. You are truly appreciated and valued.
As I begin my term as President, this pandemic crisis has and will create many complex challenges in our sport of running. With the Board, Executive Director Jean Knaack, and the National Office staff, we will diligently confront these challenges in order to protect our members and our sport.
Run with gratitude & be in good health,
George Rehmet, RRCA President
*Information provided by RRCA State Representatives.