Monday, May 5, 2008

13 days to go....

till the Cleveland Marathon.

In a totally different subject, my buddy Rick, who I have done most of my long runs to prepare for Cleveland with, has written a letter to the editor of our running club. (letter below) He sent it in to be in the newsletter. Niether of us has liked the direction our club has been headed. Basically the club has moved from a more fun/social club to one that seems to be more worried about making money/image in running world. I actually pointed out some of the things to him that spurred him to write it. Now whether or not they actually put it in newsletter remains to be seen. Alot of it is being done by a few. I give them credit for making the effort for the club but it seems like they are taking it in wrong way. I hear from people that have been in club lot longer then me how we used to have alot more people showing up for the club runs. Matter of fact when the guys I regularly run with dont make it, the attendance has become kind of pathetic. A few weeks ago, 5 of us met some where else, 3 of us were going long, and had more runners then they had at the club run. A recent email/newsletter sent out by the president listed things that they had done to save the club money. Quite a few of the things listed were doing about with getting rid of fun things for the club members, like fun runs(hamburger run gone) pizza during packet stuffing for race. Ok enough complaints for today. Back to my tapering.

I wanted to say a couple of things, and make clear that I am not trying to single out anyone, because I think everyone in the club has allowed the situation to become what it has.
First, I feel like we have gotten away from the main idea of our running club, which is to have fun (or at least I think so). We are starting to run this club like a business, attempting to determine how much money can be made by doing different events. It seems like we worry more about our profit margin than whether or not our members have a good time. While our profits keep increasing, attendance at the club seems to be decreasing. We have done away with the friendly rivalry of the 100 mile club, the comeraderie of the corn roast and hamburger runs. I would rather operate on a bare bones budget if we would have more social types of events and creative runs. Things like Pub runs, or other creative runs are staples of other clubs. All of this was brought about by my recent visit to Baltimore, and looking for tips on running there. I looked at the Baltimore Running Club website ( and all I could think was, "why doesn't our club do fun things like that?"
We worry so much about how we are perceived in the running community, with our YSU scholarship and state championship half marathon. While those things are nice, does it really matter if the members don't enjoy the club, and fewer people are running together?
It seems like somewhere along the way, we have lost our focus, a bunch of crazy people getting together to run and enjoy each other's company. I don't care how much money we make, I would like to have more fun and encourage more people to attend.

No comments: