“Shout it from the rooftops!” I say; “this is important stuff!”
For those accustomed to the wonders of Ann Arbor, the July 20, 2015 designation by the Road Runners Club of America officially naming the City of Ann Arbor a Runner Friendly Community seems to be a ‘no brainer.’
Ann Arbor Track Club board member, Diane Scarpace, largely responsible for executing the rigorous application process, reflected on the honor –
“As I worked on the application, digging deeper and deeper on various websites and cold calling city officials, it became a meaningful experience for me to actually put on paper all the great things that Ann Arbor has to offer even though I knew this intuitively.”
An Ann Arbor resident for the majority of her adult years, Scarpace (61) “loves her Lakewood neighborhood, great for running and walking.”
Established in 2012, the RRCA Runner Friendly Community program was created to shine a national spotlight on communities that stand out as runner friendly and to provide incentive for all communities to work towards such an admirable goal.
To be named Runner Friendly, the community must be able to prove that ‘its infrastructure can foster physical activity in a safe environment; organizations and businesses work together in a positive manner to promote running as a healthy exercise and sport; it has positive relationships between the running community and local government.’
AATC President, Mitch Garner, responsible for the initial push to seek recognition of his beloved community, is brimming with pride over the city’s prestigious honor.
“The Ann Arbor community focuses on the health of its citizens which makes our city a very special place because of everything it does for runners; it is a testament to the city’s recognition of the important impact runners have on the vitality of the community.”
Further validating Garner’s sentiments, Scarpace noted that while the application process required three to six letters of recommendation from community leaders, she ended up with eight!
“Excited to have been thought of by the AATC to contribute to the application process,” Running Fit Field Marketing Manager, Trevor Step, attested, “It’s awesome to be based in a community that recognizes the need for businesses like Running Fit.”
Step further acknowledged that not many communities could support three run specialty businesses, five stores total, within the city limits.
And whether it be driver awareness, training opportunities, races or sidewalks and trails to run, Step, having lived in various communities, is all too aware that the opportunities runners have in the city of Ann Arbor are just not commonly found elsewhere.
“So many good things go unrecognized,” Step conceded; “It’s great that Ann Arbor has received official recognition.”
Never ones to sit on their laurels, the AATC, headed by longstanding member, Bill Barker, is in the final stages of completing a video to demonstrate why Ann Arbor should be elected as the first ever Outstanding Runner Community among those having attained Runner Friendly status.
To learn more about the RRCA Runner Friendly Community program, please visit http://www.rrca.org/programs/runner-friendly-community