It’s a wrap!
The biggest takeaway from this convention is that I have a greater sense of how special the Richmond Road Runners Club is. I have a much better appreciation for our size as a club, the number of races we do, and how much of an integral part of the Richmond running community our club is.
Networking with club representatives from other parts of the country, it was amazing to share how clubs are run, what activities they do, and how big or small they are. I’d say most of the clubs represented were smaller than ours, but also are the backbone of their running communities.
We are lucky in Richmond to have so much structure in the running community. Especially with such great relationships with Sports Backers, with multiple smaller running organizations and groups, with other non-profits like #WeOffTheCouch and Girls on the Run, with improvements in places to run like the Virginia Capital Trail, and with retail running stores, it’s easy to see how Richmond was awarded the designation of a Runner Friendly Community from the RRCA.
I learned so much from the seminars I attended.
Friday began with a group run, where I met some new friends!
The first seminar was about insurance. Not the most fun of topics, but many questions our own club had about coverage were answered here.
The next was about growing club membership. The speakers were from a much smaller club than ours, but still had great ideas of how to improve recruitment, such as recognizing new members and updating language used when planning club events, such as having “tailgates” rather than “picnics.”
Our speaker at lunch, Jeff Tan, told us the story about how he started running marathons and all of his crazy adventures trying to accomplish his goal of running one on every continent! He nearly didn’t run the one on Antarctica due to visa issues!
I also went to a very inspiring talk by the organizer of the ‘Go Run group in Chicago, and non-profit that puts on free 1 mile and 5k races every weekend during the running season. The organizer was inspired by the Park Run programs in the UK. The club’s mission is to improve accessibility to the sport and encourage everyone to live active and healthy lifestyles. This will hopefully develop runners who can then join other running programs through CARA (Chicago Area Runners Association) in the city.
The day ended with a reception in the Bank of America building. One of the best parts was seeing the views of the Chicago river from the reception room.
Saturday began with a group run, then the RRCA board meeting. I went to a seminar about leadership transitioning, something that the RRRC has been working on. Our lunch was followed by national awards with a special appearance by Olympian Galen Rupp! And then I went to a seminar led by a clinical social worker and run coach about mental health management which was very good.
On Sunday, everyone else with my club ran the Shamrock Shuffle 8k. I chose not to register, allowing my anxiety about checking out of the hotel and traveling get the best of me. But I did watch the coverage on TV and got to see many of the runners, as our hotel was on the race course.
Obviously, we made it safely to the airport on time and home!
I’m grateful to my club for sending me to the convention. It was a great experience! But I’m also so glad to be home, and now with an even greater appreciation for how wonderful the Richmond running community is!
Have you ever been to the RRCA convention? I’d love to hear about it!
As always, I hope you all are safe and healthy.