Alan Gowen

Get Involved

I think it goes without saying that we all love to run trails. And trail running is about as simple as it gets. Put on your shoes and hit the trails. You don’t really need any equipment and you don’t really need any company. You don’t really need special trail shoes and you don’t even need a watch. Just a pair of shoes and a trail. And yet as simple as trail running is on the one hand, on the other hand we’ve all chosen to join a trail running club. Most of our club’s activities are open to everyone and don’t require participants to be club members. So why bother joining our club?

Anyone, club member or not, can simply keep showing up and running our events. And that’s just fine with us if that is what folks want to do. But one of the greatest advantages of belonging to our club is the opportunity to get involved and help other runners do what we all love to do. The VHTRC was founded by a bunch of guys who just liked to run together. The goal they pursued wasn’t to create a club so they could all brag about belonging to a really cool organization, but rather the really cool club was the byproduct of these guys choosing to step forward, get involved, and simply get people out on the trail running together. The result of this desire to have folks running together was the Bull Run Run. And this all happened because some guys saw a need and stepped forward and got involved. That was the foundation upon which our club was created. Guys stepping forward and getting involved. That is why it is a really cool club.

Get involved with your club. Go ahead and put on a run.

We are a club and we do trail running. Actually we do trail running really well. But it is important to know that whereas we are a club with 500 members, a board of directors, a lot of bureaucracy, insurance, a bank account, tax returns, official policies, equipment, a football contest, bylaws, and dues; it is necessary to have all this stuff to enable us to fulfill our mandate to get together and run. To make all this work it takes more than simply continuing to just show up and run.

Our club bylaws state that, “The object of the club shall be to promote the healthful, recreational, competitive, and social aspects of trail and ultra running.

In furtherance of this object the club may conduct runs, events, and races, support runs sponsored by other organizations, educate the public about trail and ultra running, conduct social events centered around running, and promote a positive attitude toward trail and ultra running among its members and other runners. It is a purpose of the club to recognize those who support trail and ultra running.”

Go ahead and put on a run.

You certainly didn’t join VHTRC for our official policies, our bureaucracy, or our sound system, now did you? You pay your dues to be part of this group that likes nothing better than getting involved so that we can all get out there and run.

So get involved with your club. Go ahead and put on a run.

Just about everyone has a favorite training route they run, and I’m suspecting you do to. So get organized and share it with some others. It doesn’t have to be a big deal. Or if you wanted it to, I guess it could be a big deal. Make it as big a deal as you want. Make it 20 miles or make it 50km. Have aid or don’t have aid. It is your run, so do what you want. If you put on a run it won’t be an “Official VHTRC Run.” The idea here is for members to stage small fun runs on their own, but with some assistance from our club. Think no frills fat ass, not huge event. Even though this is your run, the club is still here to help you make your run a success. We even have a check list you can use if you want to. A sort of, “make sure you remember to do these things” list to help you in making sure you have all your bases covered. Part of all our bureaucracy is our policy of support of trail runs, so if you think you will incur some expenses and need some money to make your new run work, just ask us and we’ll probably give you some. And as long as you stay within the guidelines, we don’t even care what you spend it on just so long as it is all spent on making your run a success.

Recently several of those fun runs we all love so much have gone by the wayside. Alisa and Sue took a break from directing Holy Cowan’s Gap 50km, a small and really tough 50km they have been putting on for three years. Several years ago Steve and Amy had to pull the plug on the Big Schloss, a bigger tough 50km on the Virginia / West Virginia border. More recently, Kerry and Doug had to take a break from staging the Potomac Heritage Trail 50km, and this October will be the first in four when there has been no Halloweeny. It has also been a few years since Andiamo ceased to exist. Some of these runs were VHTRC events and some were not. Some of these runs will be back, and some won’t. I know we all look forward to running Potomac Heritage and Cowan’s Gap in 2014, but in the meantime, there are some blank spots in the local running calendar.

So let’s get some new runs on the calendar. Maybe it is time to get involved with your club and put on a run.

If you want to put on a run let me know and we’ll figure out how to make it happen.

If you have any thoughts about putting on a run or anything else for that matter, I’d love to hear from you.

Happy Trails!