For as long as I’ve been working here at 605 Running Company I’ve been told,
“You must be a trail runner”
What exactly does that mean?
I think because I have a beard and I don’t look emaciated, folks assume I must spend my time wandering in the woods eating pizza rolls, cookies and bacon.
Saturday was the Glacier Hill Ultra at Newton Hills State Park. By all accounts this was an incredible event and truly a celebration of running and community. I cannot stress enough how great this day was and how lucky we are to have committed folks putting an event like this on. As a running community we should latch onto events like this, support them full throatily and participate in any way capable.
“Greg you ran a trail race, welcome to the dark side!”
This isn’t a roadie vs. trail post. At 605 Running Company we support all running. The commonality that the sport shares, is a community of folks dedicated to being better today than they were yesterday. Finding the challenge that makes you happy is the true art of running in my opinion. Whether it is a road 5k or a 100+ mile quest we love and support the adventure.
As the Co-Owner and General Manager of a running store I get asked about putting on, or donating to, charity running events almost daily. Believe me I’m quick to donate and always willing to support my local communities.
In my life I’ve sat in rooms of non-profit organizations that just throw around fundraising ideas like they are very simple and easily accomplished.
“Let’s host a golf event!”
“I think we should do a banquet and silent auction!”
“Let’s put on a fun run/walk!”
Event management is not easy and more importantly it isn’t cheap.
Wait, I think what I meant to write there, was that it shouldn’t be cheap.
We no longer live in a world of if you host a run, runners will come. The experience matters. My challenge is that locally we should all invest in the experiences that matter most to us. We have some races in town that frankly do not deserve our support, just typing that makes me green. Read between the lines and I think you can figure out what I’m talking about.
Race management is a business where the most expensive investment is time. Time to fill out paperwork and get permits, time to organize volunteers, time to map out courses, time to stuff packets, time to answer endless questions about tee shirt sizing, time to seek out sponsors to maybe offset some of your costs that keep rising, time to find a timing company that doesn’t rip you off, time to promote your race ….. I think you get where I’m going here and I haven’t even talked about the weather. These endless time investments are often fulfilled by volunteers trying to do some good for the community or they are neglected at the cost of the runner experience. Either way there is something wrong with this picture.
That is why when we have an event like the one that happened last weekend. Where the food was on point, the sweatshirt is out-of-this-world comfortable, over 1000+ photos were posted of the event FOR FREE and everyone from the 1st place finishers to the DFL were celebrated with genuine love by the race directors. We need to do more as a community to support the people that make this happen. Today I’m speaking for race directors that are so stubborn they won’t speak for themselves. We need to pay more for the races that care about the runner experience.
Mark your calendars for the events that get it right, and do the following. Pay to run them, get literally everyone you know to volunteer for them, have your business sponsor them and shout it from the mountain top that these running events are awesome. The community that supports running in this way is a strong and vibrant community. If the locals love the events the word will spread. Once we start putting heads on beds running will be supported in ways we’ve never seen in Sioux Falls. I’d love to see our events get the type of hype a football pre-show broadcast can generate.
So whether it is the local trail race or the large scale races that shut down streets, your first destination race should be the one in your home town. As a runner you know the events that get it right, the ones where everyone hangs out at the finish to chat, the ones where the race director looks like they’ve been hit by a bus yet they are still smiling. Make the local running scene your priority because it will only grow if you are involved right here, right now.
Greg Koch is the Co-Owner and General Manager of 605 Running Company and Co-Produces the Sioux Falls Skedaddle Half Marathon. He serves on the Board of Directors for Downtown Sioux Falls, the 605 Race Crew and the Sioux Falls Area Running Club. When Greg isn’t with his family or working he enjoys being outside biking, kayaking, golfing or playing church softball.
YouTube: 605 Running Company