Several months ago, after being involved as an ambassador of the Steel City Road Runners for few weeks, I left the ambassador groups and I authored a first blog post. The goal was to list the issues I noticed while being on board. After several weeks, several folks discussed their frustration which motivated me to write a follow-up. The reception to these articles showed how much people care about this group. The main reported issue was the organization of the leadership team and a focus on non-running activities whereas there were several emergencies to deal with.
But change happened. The organization of the leadership team has been reseted significantly and this is noticeable to see how much change there is. Let me list some of what has been introduced during the last two months, congratulations to the folks (such as Dave and Shannon – and all the others !) that are behind the scene:
- Pacing team: there is pacers for Saturday and Sunday runs so that each runner can train according to their need. Also, if you want to take part of the community and become a pacer, the group welcomes participants, which can be a great idea if you want to pace a race.
- Sunday Training runs: you cannot make your run on Saturday? Join on Sunday! SCRR is now offering Sunday runs as well so that you can log your long run on Sunday as well. Just a great idea if you have constraints on Saturday, have family business to take care of or any other reason. Just a convenient option.
- Indoor Training: concerned about the ice when it is freezing and still want to run with your running buddies? the club has worked indoor running options with local gyms. Obviously, this is a very good option: running outside when freezing can be hazardous (and will not argue, especially after being injured because of it) and can jeopardize your racing schedule for the next days/weeks/months. The club provides a very cheap training options with cardio machines, which can also be a good option for cross-training.
- Communication Improvements: most of the communication was done on facebook but many members do not use social media websites and felt isolated. Now, a weekly e-mail sent on Monday lists all the club events. Simple and very efficient, it does not discriminate anybody who is not on social media platforms.
- Fall Marathon: the club has negotiated a discount for the club to go to the Baltimore marathon on October, 17. This should be a new invasion of Pittsburgh runners. Sounds like there is an effort to change the location of a fall marathon periodically so that people can explore different races around the Steel City!
- RRCA coaching: SCRR is organizing an RRCA coach training in Pittsburgh and has initially announced it to the club so that interested members can save a spot! Such classes can be old out very quickly. Having a coaching class in our city is a real privilege: you do not have to flight, travel, everything is on site. This also strengthen the community: having more certified coaches within the members is a good opportunity to have qualified people when organizing events (such as running with kids, pacing, participating to a race as an organizer, etc.)
There are obviously other reasons and facts that show how much the club has improved during these past weeks but these are facts: a measure of how things improved over time. For sure, we can still argue that some stuff can be improved (some stupid geeks will complain about the website) but actual leadership team is focused on improving this running community and focusing on what people want to do: run. I am surprised how quickly things improved within the last few weeks and the changes that have been made.
This probably makes Steel City Road Runners the best running community in Pittsburgh (call it “premier running club” if you want!). For the $30 membership per year, no other club matches its benefits (mostly: 4 training runs per week, indoor training, pacers and Pittsburgh marathon week end, discount in local and online stores, t-shirt included with each membership). The value is just great and other clubs charge more and/or have less benefits (no pacer, only one or two training runs, no indoor trainings with cardio and weight machines when temperature are unsafe). These changes make me very proud to be part of this community and hope to be able to support it in the future as I wanted to do. If you are looking for a friendly running club in Pittsburgh, Steel City Road Runners is just what you need.