E.A. Sports Today

City has ‘right stuff’ for runners

RRCA designates Anniston as a Runner Friendly Community, one of five new designates for fall 2022

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

Anniston has always been a strong runners community and now it is being recognized for it.

The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) has designated the Model City as a 2002 Runner Friendly Community. The initiative is designed to shine a spotlight on communities that stand out as runner-friendly and provide incentives/ideas for communities to work towards becoming that way.

The city is joined by Fort Thomas, Ky.; Greensboro, N.C.; Lumberton, N.C.; and Toledo, Ohio as newly designated Runner Friendly Communities for fall 2022. Five other cities were recognized for successfully renewing their Runner Friendly Community designation.

“The challenges of the last few years have highlighted the important role communities play in making running accessible for citizens,” RRCA Executive Director Jean Knaack said in a news release announcing the designation. “The references from city and state government leaders for this round of Runner Friendly Communities demonstrates the impact of positive relationships between runners and local officials.”

The Anniston Runners Club sought the designation and went through an extensive vetting process in its efforts. The RRCA reviews community infrastructure, community support and local government support. The ARC’s application included a video featuring local running and civic leaders and recommendation letters from city officials, YMCA and other running organizations.

“When I read the requirements I felt strongly that is what Anniston supports,” said Hayley Long of the Anniston Runners Club . “I actually learned more about how the city has a plan that encourages a healthy lifestyle.

“The club is excited about the nomination. We hope to bring a post-pandemic resurgence to Anniston Runners Club and involvement by its members.”

With the recognition, the city will be listed on the RRCA website as a Runner Friendly Community for five years, receive a commemorative plaque, 25 window decals to be placed in runner-friendly businesses around the city and be recognized in various RRCA publications.

The designation is expected to help with sponsorships for the Anniston Runners Club’s community activities, and help get completed additional projects the city has underway.

“I also think it will help bring tourism to our city to run in our races,” Long said.

The club’s flagship event, the Woodstock 5K every August, has been designated as the RRCA’s 5K national championship race in 2023.

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