Responses to general club feedback in the 2023 Runner Survey (4 of 4)

And finally, part 4…

General Feedback Responses from Adam

Lastly, here are the general comments and questions about the club, starting with the general messages of thanks. Because, you know, appreciation always feels good.

General Club Appreciation
  • Thanks for all you do!
  • I’m grateful and proud to be a member.
  • This is a great club. I really appreciate Adam’s enthusiastic leadership and the supportive/effective board. Thank you for all you do.
  • Thankful for the FLRC community and all the work put in by the Board!"
  • I enjoy the club. I participate in group runs and cross country and trail races. And Hartshorne if I can get healthy again!
  • Thank you for doing what you do. I’m swamped now but hope to volunteer more when my kids are a bit older! I have done race promotion in the past and know it’s hard work. Thank you!!
  • Appreciate all the perspectives that people bring to the club and the work that goes into setting up the infrastructure. It’s a huge part of what makes Ithaca great for our family.
  • Thank you for all of the work all put into this club.
  • Just a thank you for your efforts!
  • Great organization!
  • Thank you all so much for everything. I am so happy I found this club last spring :slight_smile: "
  • This group is awesome and I love our running community!
  • I love the vibrant camaraderie.
  • Love this club! Keep up the good work!
  • Great job!!
  • Very grateful for FLRC! This is my first season really being involved
  • Best running club ever
  • FLRC is such a great group. I always feel welcome and have met so many good friends through the club. People are supportive of one another’s goals and I love how it’s not overly competitive.
  • FLRC is a local gem. Thanks for doing all that you do to make running more fun and accessible to our community.
  • Keep up the good work!
  • Thank you for all the volunteer hours. It is appreciated
  • thanks!!
  • Thank you to all of the awesome board, RDs, organizers, and volunteers!
  • Biased, but best run club!
  • I’m new. Just joined one group run, which was great!
  • Thanks for all you do.
  • No feedback really, just a shout out for the hard work you do! It’s a heavy lift to keep a club alive, and FLRC is thriving. Thank you for creating and maintaining a space for runners to meet and enjoy their sport/hobby together!
  • Thank you for all the work you do!
  • Keep up the great work!
  • Thanks for being such a great local running resource!
  • Thank you
  • Thank you for all your efforts. It takes a lot!
  • Thanks for all your work! Someday (in a few years??) I feel like my schedule will become less hectic and I’ll be able to participate more!
  • Thoroughly love when we are in town and able to attend the races and events.
  • So grateful for the decades of such a club!!!
  • Thank you for all of your hard work and effort. Much appreciated!
  • It is an impressively well-run organization!
  • Great survey, great organization! You all are the best! Can’t wait to see you again when the temps are warmer.
  • Thanks for all you do!
  • Great organization! Thank you for all of your efforts.
  • I love being a part of this running club. So grateful to be in this running community.
  • I just joined this past October and suffered an injury shortly after so I haven’t had a lot of opportunity to engage with this community yet. But I’m looking forward to group runs and races in the New Year. Thank you for all that you do!

Quite a few of the general comments from the survey revolved around the FLRC Challenge.

FLRC Challenge Appreciation
  • I love the FLRC challenge, but wish it went longer. This year, ending in mid August, felt too early after the year we went through 12/31.
  • I really fell in love with the spring/summer FLRC Challenge we did. I know what a feat it was to plan all the courses, map them out, and track everything. I wish we had one set up for the fall/winter as well, though I know participation would probably be less, and not cost effective to host. (plus I understand the danger aspect too with night running, plus hunting season) Although I am also enjoying this scavenger hunt, it’s great fun, I really liked the requirement of specific routes. (Less thinking on my part :sweat_smile:) Anywho, wish I could participate more, and I truly appreciate the monumentous effort put forth by the whole FLRC team!
  • The Challenge is a fantastic idea. Different distances, varied courses, new courses, low key - “high key” is very inclusive.
  • The Challenge changed my life.
  • Lots of new and exciting stuff happened in 2023. I’m especially looking forward to another set of Challenge courses in ‘24.
  • I love the FLRC Challenge. Some more True Trail/single track options would be great.

I’m tremendously pleased that something I brainstormed to tide us through the dark days of the pandemic has turned into such a positive force in so many people’s lives. For 2021, when we didn’t know at the start of the year if we’d be able to have any races at all, the time frame was meant to be as close as possible to the entire year. The first few courses opened in February, and all of them were open by April or so. The bulk of the running took place in the spring and summer, and many people tuned out in the fall, though the team competition heated up to a fever pitch in the last two weeks of December. In 2022 and 2023, I switched the timing to be from mid-April to mid-August so all the courses could open at once, so it didn’t distract from Skunk Cabbage, so people didn’t get bored in the fall after finishing all ten courses, and so we could have the award ceremony at the annual picnic in August. For 2024, my plan is to go a couple of weeks longer—the end of August—and schedule the picnic for mid-September so more people can attend because it won’t conflict with vacations.

As far as courses go, I’m working on new ones as you read this. We’ll repeat a couple of particularly useful or popular ones, but I hope to introduce everyone to more great trail and road routes around the area.

I have never been to the picnic. Any chance it could be held at Stewart? Cass Park? Thanks for your consideration.

I hope you can make it in 2024! The reason we hold the picnic at the South Shelter at Treman State Park is that it’s the only pavilion large enough to hold the 130–150 people we’ve had the last few years. Part of the thinking behind moving the picnic to September is that it’s likely to be a cooler evening. In 2023, we were super happy to be inside because of the hard rain, but there aren’t enough picnic tables outside at Treman (or anywhere else?) to seat 150 people. But if it had been a hot, sunny day, the indoor space wouldn’t have been as pleasant.

The Forum is something to be desired.

That’s almost exactly what I heard earlier this year from an FLRC member who moved away in early 2023. Because the local running club (in a city three times as large as Ithaca) wasn’t as organized and impactful as FLRC, she joined its board to help it grow. She wrote:

The FLRC forum especially, while tricky for me to understand at first, enables self-organization, community, and fun in ways I really miss (no way to peer-to-peer connect in the club).

What most people don’t realize is that the forum is actually even more important to the club than it may appear from race announcements, PGXC team coordination, FLRC Challenge interaction, and fun activities like the Happy Holidays Scavenger Hunt. The underlying software, Discourse, makes it easy to have additional categories that are only visible to particular groups, enabling the board, race directors, and our increasing number of committees and teams to have their own private discussion spaces with a full history of what’s been discussed. Plus, having the public posts available on the Web for anyone to read means that those who are searching for running opportunities in Ithaca are more likely to find us with Google searches. Quite a few new runners at our group runs and workouts have said they found their way into FLRC activities through the forum.

To give you an idea of the scale, the forum currently has 1225 members who have created 350 posts in the last month. Overall, the forum has received 32,000 page views in that time.

At previous clubs, registration to the club included a club singlet, or the option to buy one at registration. I think it’s a shame that at the cross country races different people wear different tops!

It’s not out of the question, but here are a few reasons why it hasn’t happened yet and may not be worth the cost and effort:

  • Many people already have favorite racing singlets, partly because it’s impossible to find a single top that fits the shapes of all the bodies out there.
  • A good singlet will cost at least $15 and up to $40 (for personalized, fully sublimated)
  • Even when you design something with long-term consistency in mind, changes at the suppliers can result in a future year’s order looking slightly to significantly different.
  • FLRC currently has 888 members and has added over 150 in the last year, so the cost and logistics of handling that many singlets are daunting.

That said, if you have ideas in this regard, the board is always open to hearing from members.

You didn’t include a question about the xc series!

You’re right—here you go. Isn’t spending the day in the company of running friends while bombing around scenic upstate New York a glorious way to cap off an autumn weekend?

That’s it for our responses, and I hope you’ve enjoyed learning more about how the club works. Although there are reasons why we can’t do some things (anything associated with politics, for instance, due to our 501(c)(3) status), if you have ideas for how you’d like to promote running for fun, fitness, and friendship, I encourage you to look at the club as providing scaffolding and support for whatever you have the desire and energy to do.

We are all FLRC, and FLRC is us.