(Editor's Note: Usually written by Cameron Fisher, this week's "Keeping it Green" column has been submitted by guest writer Brittany Durkin.)In 2018, the Road Runners Club of America designated …
(Editor's Note: Usually written by Cameron Fisher, this week's "Keeping it Green" column has been submitted by guest writer Brittany Durkin.)
In 2018, the Road Runners Club of America designated Cleveland, Tennessee, as an official “Runner Friendly Community.”
This designation is something special for Cleveland, but it is a fact that any runner you pass on the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway would tell you they have known for years.
In towns similarly sized to Cleveland, you won’t often find an asset as beneficial to community activity as the well-lit 4.5 mile continuous Greenway.
The Road Runners Club of America takes applications from cities and towns all over the U.S., and they designate only a few each year with this prestigious honor. Cities must prove business friendliness to runners, accessible paths for running, evidence of running races, clubs, running specialty stores and a commitment to fitness by the local government.
Not only could Cleveland check all the required boxes, but the quality of the paths that make running accessible here are unlike most in towns of similar size and population.
Terra Running Company has been in the business of chip-timing road races for four years. We have had a front-row seat to the boom of the running community here in Cleveland.
Running interest and race participation have grown in the four years we have been timing races, which is positive not only for a running store, but for the health and well-being of the community in general. A community’s physical inactivity comes at a cost. According to the Center for Disease Control, inadequate levels of physical activity are associated with $117 billion in annual healthcare costs nationally.
In addition to helping Cleveland claim this honor of being an RRCA Runner Friendly Community, the Greenway also makes it financially feasible for organizations to host fundraising races almost every weekend in the fall and spring.
There are many challenges organizations face when they set out to host fundraising road races. We see that, oftentimes, the financial burden of closing roads, hiring police and increased liability insurances for races on the roads are barriers to organizations who wish to host fundraiser road races. As a safe, continuous running and walking path with plenty of pavilions, restrooms, water and electricity access, the Greenway can be the perfect location for many of Cleveland’s nonprofit efforts to host road races.
If you frequent the Greenway on the weekend, you know that events at Greenway Park or Tinsley Park are common and well attended. The number of races Cleveland is able to host is a direct result of the accessibility and affordability, of the greenway.
This is an exciting time to be a runner in Cleveland. The future growth of the greenway will only add to this major community asset. The additional length will give access to more neighborhoods, making it easier for residents to commute, exercise and host events.
Having access to safe places to exercise is often the biggest challenge Americans face in overcoming inactivity. The CDC reports that less than half of the U.S. population lives within one-half mile of a park. The more the greenway grows, the more Cleveland residents get safe and easy access to it, making activity more accessible and adding value to this already “Runner Friendly Community.”
Online: www.cbcgreenway.com. Facebook: The Greenway.
(About the writer: Brittany Durkin is owner of Terra Running Company (terrarunning.com) and Bear Brew Coffee in downtown Cleveland.)
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