RRCA Designates Runner Friendly Communities®
Arlington, VA - The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) is pleased to announce the 4th Quarter round of 2012 selections for the Runner Friendly Community® designation: Peachtree City, GA, Eugene, OR, and Columbus, GA.
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.
“The citizens of Eugene take great pride in our deep-rooted running heritage and our national reputation as Track Town, USA,” explained Kitty Piercy, Mayor of Eugene. “Our running community is vast and diverse, spanning all ages and ability levels.”
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.
“Peachtree City’s 24-square miles include over 25% naturally wooded green space, and we own and maintain a 90-mile network of paved, multi-use paths,” explained Don Haddix, Mayor of Peachtree City. “The paths are tremendously popular and provide the perfect environment for individuals and organized events.”
“In November 2010, the Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon was established with assistance from the Columbus Road Runners. To make the Soldier Marathon a reality it took the cooperation of the Army, Military Police, the Columbus Police Department, the Mayor’s Office, the Columbus City Council, Columbus Parks & Recreations, local sponsors, and more,” explained Teresa Pike Tomlinson, Mayor of Columbus.
“Our soldiers, leaders and Department of Army Civilians, as well as their families, enjoy and are proud to participate in events which promote healthy and physically fit lifestyles for all,” explained Robert Brown, Major General, US Army, Commanding General, Fort Benning, GA. “I am in full support of the city of Columbus, GA to be nationally designated as a Runner Friendly Community.”
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.
Congratulations to the new RRCA: RUNNER FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES:
Eugene, known by many as Track Town, USA, offers miles of Cross Country running trails on diverse terrain. European-inspired bark running trails are prevalent throughout the city, spanning flat land and hillsides alike. Paved paths wind along the beautiful banks of the Willamette River, and year-round they are home to runners and cyclists. Eugene has a dedicated group of city employees and Oregon Track Club volunteers that maintain the trails year round. Eclectic Edge Racing manages a well-attended fundraising race each year that benefits trail system maintenance. Eclectic Edge Racing works closely with the Oregon Track Club as well as other schools and nonprofit organizations to host races nearly every weekend in the Eugene area. These partnerships help maintain and foster a large pool of volunteers, officials, event managers, and elite, youth and masters athletes. Throughout the summer the Oregon Track Club hosts an informal weekly running series, as well as youth and adult all-comers meets. These inexpensive events provide runners of all ages and skill level the ability to compete in a fun, relaxed race or meet. The City of Eugene and its recreation staff work closely with local events to provide low cost, accessible opportunities for individuals and families to participate in running related events. In the last four years the City has developed a “Starting Block” program where children off all ages are invited to try out running, hurdling, jumping and other fun activities for free at local track & field meets. These activities are very popular and help to foster a younger generation of lifelong runners and athletes. Eugene’s local newspaper (The Register Guard) and news stations are strong supporters of the local running community. They regularly cover road races and track & field events that take place, as well as special features on training for these races and maintaining healthy lifestyles. Eugene business are very supportive of the running community including Eugene City Brewery which offers discounts to Oregon Track Club members and supports the local running community by producing their “Track Town Ales,” track & field themed microbrews.
Peachtree City, GA
Peachtree City is an award-winning master planned community located just south of Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1959, the city is home to a diverse population and provides the best in residential areas, commercial areas and community services to its citizens. Peachtree City is known for its active lifestyle. A quick visit to the city web shows not only multi-use paths, but also a sample of the facilities, which support runners and our activities. Peachtree City’s hallmark is its 90-mile network of multi-use paths for pedestrians, cyclists, and golf carts. Peachtree City residents can go from neighborhood to shopping centers, schools, and parks through the wooded scenery that makes Peachtree City special. Peachtree City is home to a very active running club (Peachtree City Running Club - PTCRC), the second largest in Metro Atlanta. The club hosts the annual Peachtree City Classic Women’s 5K, Men’s 5K, and the 15K Open, which has also been the RRCA Southern Region Championship and the USATF Georgia Association Championship. All races are on certified courses, voted the Best Course by Georgia Athlete Magazine. Summer track meets are held every Tuesday in June and July 6 (Championship Meets on July 13 & 14) at Riley Field near Peachtree City Elementary School. All events are free for runners and spectators. The All-American 5K on Memorial Day highlights local heroes and provides support to their families. The Rotary Grand-Prix, which includes races at sixteen local schools, has raised $100K in the fight against childhood obesity
Columbus is the third largest city in the State of Georgia, and the city was ranked number 4 on the 100 Best U.S. Cities to live by Best Life Magazine. Physical fitness is very important to the community and the Mayor’s Office and Columbus City government proclaimed Columbus a “Live Healthy City.” There are numerous parks that include fitness and running trails over a mile long. The Fall Line Trace is a Rails-to-Trails Project that is 10.5 miles long from point-to-point. Flat Rock Park has multiple trails for running and mountain biking and is adjacent to the 9.3-mile mark on Fall Line Trace. There are 22-miles of asphalt roads from Columbus to Fort Benning along the Chattahoochee River. Bathrooms, water fountains, and safe street crossings, are available along the route. There are light poles very 30-yards along the entire route, which allows for night training to get runners out of the humid summer heat. Live Healthy Columbus is a non-profit organization based at Columbus Regional Hospital. Strong4Life, a division of Live Healthy Columbus, donated $3,000 to the Columbus Roadrunners to launch the Kids Run Columbus program. The program is designed to help the kids participating in the Kids Soldier Marathon and Half Marathon reach their mileage goal by the Soldier Marathon held in November. The Kids Run Columbus program works with the Park and Recreation Department’s After School Program at Midland Academy Elementary & Middle School. This program is modeled after the RRCA: Kids Run the Nation’s program. AFLAC promotes the Columbus Roadrunners Couch to 5K program on the company’s intranet. AFLAC is the major sponsor of the Columbus Roadrunners. Fountain City Coffee, Big Dog Running Company, and Below the Knee are runner friendly businesses that allow bathroom access, beverages, phone access and safe shelter during bad weather. Fort Benning, the largest US Army Base in the US, hosts numerous events on the Army base that are open to the public.