Responses to group run feedback in the 2023 Runner Survey (1 of 4)

We received lots of free-form feedback in the 2023 Runner Survey, and while many of the comments were just “Go, team!” bits of positivity that make everyone involved with group runs, races, and club administration feel good, there are others that raise interesting questions or issues. Thanks in particular to one person who triggered these responses by writing:

I don’t doubt that the feedback is read. However, it is not too clear what is done with some of the feedback received. Certainly not every idea or note deserves a reply or mention, and maybe I’ve missed a summary e-mail, but if there was a way to mention major patterns of feedback or small but important individual feedback, that spurred changes (or ideas that unfortunately can’t be used due to X/Y/Z), that would encourage ongoing feedback to see that the efforts to fill these out are read and considered.

Executive Vice President Heather Cobb and I have worked through all the comments, collecting the brief commendations and responding to those that ask questions, propose something new, or express concern about what we’re doing.

We hope you enjoy this detailed look behind the scenes of the Finger Lakes Runners Club!

When there are a lot of similar comments, you can click a triangle on the forum website to see all of them. Otherwise, they’re in blockquote style and we respond below.

Group Run Feedback Responses from Heather

Our goal in 2023 was to host an event every weekend, whether that was a group run or race. We were able to do so, with the exception of one group run that needed to be canceled due to air quality. We hosted runs on rail trails, at Hammond Hill, in Ithaca, Freeville, Dryden, Trumansburg, Virgil, and previewed all of our trail races, allowing runners to get a feel for the course before race day. All of our members and group run hosts made these group runs a success, so thank you for your attendance and your kind words on the survey.

General Group Runs Appreciation
  • I like the group runs and I come when I can.
  • They are great
  • I had fun and hope to do more in 2024!
  • Heather does a great job announcing group runs. They’re playful and encouraging!
  • I think the group run options are great. I like the pace poll find new people to run with. I can’t always attend every week, but I like that the option is there
  • The set up/format/variety seems really good to me.
  • Even though I only run a few of the group runs, I always enjoy them when I am available. It is a good social experiment.
  • I think they’re fine as is

There was additional feedback regarding the days, times, and locations, including later start times:

Later Start Times
  • later start times (10 am ish for the weekends)
  • Later start times sometimes (9:45?)
  • I usually can’t make it on weekend mornings due to kids’ activities. I’d be up for hosting or attending one on a weekend afternoon sometime.
  • Include some runs later in the day as we head to next Spring
  • I would be more likely to attend group runs if they were held at a later time
  • having some slightly later start times for weekend runs, even just sometimes & especially in non-summer, would absolutely make me more likely to attend.
Earlier Start Times
  • My timing is somewhat limited due to my kids. Earlier runs, even starting running at 7:30 or 8 would improve my ability to join.
  • I would join these if they occurred earlier say 8 am
  • They look fun and appealing- appreciate the work that goes into them. On the weekends I just start a bit earlier due to events during the day.
  • I’d attend weekend runs more frequently if they started earlier, but understand that 8:45 works well for many.
  • I would be more likely to attend if there were an earlier time option.
  • Could they switch off once/month? I often have conflicts on Saturday mornings (which is the worst!) I would love one Sunday morning run.
  • I think sometimes changing up the day/time so it’s not just Saturday mornings. But when I have been on the group run, it was very fun! It’s an extra incentive when there’s food or it’s at a nature-esque location!
Locations and Distances
  • More trail runs and maybe some longer loops
  • I think the increase in variation of the runs has been good. Maybe add the occasional longer run.

In 2024, I will strive to have group runs on both Saturdays and Sundays, as well as rotate the start times between 7 AM and 9 AM.

I prefer the group runs that take me somewhere I would not run in alone, like more isolated trails or rural areas that I have not already explored. I feel comfortable on the rail trails by myself.

With regard to the location of the group runs, I find there is a challenge with keeping them equitable and inclusive. I am constantly on the hunt for a route that is long enough for the faster runners to get enough distance while also allowing the back-of-the-pack runners time at the end to socialize. There have been comments from runners who come to a group run and are left behind because they don’t know anyone, or finish the run and everyone is gone, making them feel left out. Being someone who has experienced this firsthand, I try to make sure our runners won’t feel this way in the future.

There is also concern about runners getting lost on trails they are not familiar with. I could use RunGo—much as we do for the FLRC CHallenge—to create turn-by-turn verbal directions to alleviate this concern. In addition to rotating through different weekend days and times, I will work on rotating through technical and rail trail runs.

Please consider volunteering to host a group run in your area, especially if it is in a place we don’t normally have one! Helper Helper will be loaded with the 2024 “member-hosted group runs” opportunities soon, so if a weekend works for you, please don’t hesitate to sign up! I will then contact you to discuss the details.

More posts with additional feedback coming…