Healthy lifestyles lead to healthy communities with the help of Tri-Cities Road Runners.
It’s early on a Saturday morning, about 6:45 a.m. The sun is warming up the morning breeze as it burns through a light foggy haze hovering in the air. It’s race day, and it’s going to be a nice one. I’m hustling across the parking lot and ahead of me is a group of people busily unloading a trailer. As I get closer, I see “Tri-Cities Road Runners” emblazoned across the sides of the trailer. Yep, I’m in the right place.
Brenda Beck waves me over. She’s the President of the Tri-Cities Road Runners (TCRR), a local nonprofit whose primary purpose is to promote and encourage running and overall fitness through education and support to charitable organizations. Today she’s leading her team in support of Prince George County’s 4th Annual Hometown Heroes event celebrating the men and women in the military and local police, fire and EMS first responders who protect our communities and country every day. TCRR is providing everything needed for the Hometown Heroes 5K, Little Hero Feet Meet and Little Hero Kinder-Dash for the youngsters.
This is a routine Saturday for Brenda. She tells me, “On lots of weekends, we support races to help organizations in our community. Events like today’s help bring people together for community-building and healthy activity.” And Brenda knows a lot about healthy activity. She’s a runner – a big-time runner. She’s closing in on her 60th marathon. It all started when she began working from home as an information technology professional. “I originally started running marathons because I knew that when I started working from home it would be too easy to get up, eat, work, eat, and go to bed if I didn’t have a big goal that would force me to get outside. But once the running became a habit I realized that it was also helping me to reduce stress and feel more “centered” as I faced the challenges of my day.”
Brenda Beck, President of Tri-Cities Road Runners, tabulates race results in their new event trailer at the Hometown Heroes 5K in Prince George. The trailer allows them to haul gear, like traffic cones and their finish line archway.
According to Runner’s World Magazine, the benefits of regular exercise (about 30 minutes a day, five times per week)—and running in particular— include helping prevent obesity, type two diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. It also vastly improves the quality of your emotional and mental life. So that’s pretty amazing – and that’s what TCRR has been promoting since 1980.
“What I love about Tri-Cities Road Runners is that we help bring runners and running into our community. A 5K event is an achievable distance [about 3.1 miles] for anybody – runner or walker – which is what makes it so appealing,” says Brenda. She goes on to tell me that on Tuesday nights they also have “fun runs” at Longstreet’s in Petersburg where runners can talk with other runners and discuss issues, share training advice, and get/give support. “And I can’t say enough about our club members – they’re great at welcoming new people into the group and supporting each other as well as supporting the community!”
TCRR’s support for healthy communities is huge. With grant funding from John Randolph Foundation, they’ve been able to purchase an enclosed trailer to carry all of their race support equipment. A mobile “one-stop race shop”, if you will. With all of their equipment in tow, it’s a lot easier to support today’s Hometown Heroes event – which also happens to support five academic scholarships at John Randolph Foundation. TCRR also organizes other local races like the Appomattox River Regional Park 5K Trail Run, benefitting Special Olympics & Friends of the Lower Appomattox River, and the City Point 5K & Kids Fun Run, benefitting the physical education departments of 10 local schools, and a host of others. TCRR makes it easy to engage participants seeking a healthier lifestyle by coordinating everything from online registration to course setup / take-down and time keeping and results tabulation.
Runners and walkers prepare for the Hometown Heroes 5K with a warm-up lead by Sports Backers’ Fitness Warriors, another JRF grantee.
With the clock ticking and the race about to start, I ask Brenda one final question: “So, exactly how do you know that Tri-Cities Road Runners is making a difference in our communities?” Brenda points to the start/finish line and says, “Every time I work a race like today and I see runners and walkers cross that finish line, that’s all the proof I need that we’re making a difference!”Tags: 5K, Appomattox River Regional Park 5K, Brenda Beck, City Point 5K, Hometown Heroes 5K, Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers, race, TCRR, Tri-Cities Road Runners
This post was written by Ken Newman