For us, November is always a month of reflection, rest and gratitude. Our busy race season is nearly over and we have a moment to sit back and reflect on the past year as we start to look towards the next – what went right, what went wrong, what changes can we make to be better, and who helped us create amazing events in this past year. We are always thankful to all those vendors, volunteers and safety and security personnel that help us execute fun and safe races. But this year was one for the books and we have a few more people to thank in light of all that.
As we reflect back on this past year, it has been FILLED with ups and downs. The first few months of 2021 were tumultuous, to say the least. With vaccines announced early in the year, we were hopeful to be able to bring races back to RI. But the timeline for the vaccines and the ability to have large events was painfully slow in February and March. With our biggest events in the Spring, it took a lot of research of existing COVID race protocols, scrambling to get approvals and lobbying with a number of municipalities. In the end, we were able to execute nearly all of our races this year – we did lose a few events in which we help local non-profits execute as they still weren’t ready, but as a whole – we had a great race season and for that we are so thankful.
So we would love to thank our participants for their patience, resilience and understanding with mandates and protocols – and all the changes along the way that happened as a result. We are especially grateful to the hundreds of volunteers that came out in force who yelled and cheered from the wee hours in the morning until late in the day. To our core “Rhode Crew” of vendors and staff – they make race day so seamless and we admire their professionalism. But the biggest round of gratitude goes to our municipalities for working with us on these events, and especially Matt Sheaff and Liz Tanner in the State DBR office who were so incredibly helpful in helping us get back on the Rhode. (BTW – Matt just completed the NYC marathon this past weekend. He “gets” road races because he is a runner himself!). We are so very thankful to everyone who had a hand in our events. It takes a village for sure!
We know we are not yet out of the pandemic and the chaos that COVID brings to our daily life. We know personally people that are still getting sick from the virus. We realize that daily lives are not back yet, and some races are still not fully up and running. We also know that our participant numbers were down this year because many are not yet comfortable attending large gatherings. As children are just now able to get vaccinated, we are hopeful that will allow more of a return to what life was like before Feb 2020.
In the meantime, for those of you that are not yet ready for a IRL Turkey Trot or Holiday Run (or maybe are just busy!!!) – we are bringing back our Gratitude and Hope Holiday Run. Join us as we celebrate tradition in a non-traditional way – less a turkey trot, more an audio running tour. We have created this virtual event to honor the original sentiment through the giving of food and the Indigenous belief of connecting with the earth. We will be raising funds for local food banks as a means of sharing food with our neighbors and we will be running on courses that we hope will inspire you with their connection to our local Native American history and remind you to run with hope and joy for we are lucky to run in such beautiful locations. Learn more here.
As we start preparing for 2022, we just wanted to take a moment, be mindful of all that has happened in the past year or 2 and share our gratitude. We are truly looking forward to a new year of races. Be well over the holiday season and thank you all.