RunWenatchee appears before Governor’s task force
By Steve Maher
When RunWenatchee was asked to speak before Gov. Jay Inslee’s Task Force on Outdoor Recreation in early July, we brainstormed on what we should talk about. Given that many of those on the task force weren’t familiar with what we do, we knew we had to provide a brief overview of RunWenatchee. We also decided it was important to focus specifically on ways we build community, particularly if others in the state were interested in replicating our model.
The talk that night by RunWenatchee’s Joel Rhyner at Pybus Public Market went well. Other presenters acknowledged RunWenatchee. We also had
several task force members come up later and ask Joel questions. It was clear we had struck a chord.
As we found out that night, “building community” is a theme others gravitate to, even in the outdoor recreation world, which often times can be centered on the individual.
At RunWenatchee, building community plays out in our official races, which serve not only as a carrot for better fitness and health, but also as a tourism and economic development driver and as a spotlight on this beautiful place we call home.
This plays out in our official races, which serve as not only a carrot for better fitness and health, but also as an economic development driver and as a spotlight on this beautiful place we call home.
Building community is a huge part of our weekly club runs as well. The Thursday night event is meant to be for everyone – runners and walkers, folks at various fitness levels, young and old, families and singles, every segment of the overall community. We hand out free shirts to those who reach a run or walk milestone. We have fun and gab it up. We also pour a lot of time into celebrating and acknowledging all who participate. Since we started the weekly event back in January 2013, we have posted a photo of each shirt recipient (502 of them) on Facebook. People have come to understand the photos will be there and they visit our page in droves to see them.
When it comes to partnerships, with few exceptions, we don’t turn folks down and instead look for ways to make things work. Our approach is: “You are us.” The check-in tables at our club runs are a community bulletin board of sorts, with flyers and rack cards for other events and activities. We have groups like Wenatchee Roller Derby, Wenatchee Valley Velo and the Leavenworth Marathon show up to publicize their own events.
We have helped the Chelan-Douglas Land Trust and the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance build trails in the Wenatchee Foothills. Among our beneficiaries are the Women’s Resource Center and its food bank, and the Leavenworth Winter Sports Club and its junior nordic team. RunWenatchee is a founding member of the Wenatchee Valley Outdoor Alliance and Wenatchee Valley Trails.
We’re always looking for innovative ideas on how we can build even more community. Have a thought or two? Please give us a shout!
Steve Maher is a partner in RunWenatchee and editor of RunWenatchee.com.