Runner-friendly Greensboro: 'It gets better all the time'

Greensboro 'pretty much checked all the boxes' in earning Runner Friendly Community from the Road Runners Club of America.

Runner-friendly Greensboro: 'It gets better all the time'
The Greensboro Running Club's Chip Pegram, who initiated the process for the city winning designation as a Runner Friendly Community, with Greensboro mayor Nancy Vaughan (Greensboro Running Club (Marshall Hurley photo).

Chip Pegram figures recognition of Greensboro as a Runner Friendly Community is long overdue.

"I've been a resident and runner in Greensboro since 1984," Pegram says. "And it's always been a runner-friendly community, and it gets better all the time. I'm just very happy to be here."

Pegram, a member of the Greensboro Running Club, spearheaded an application for the designation with the Road Runners Club of America, based in Arlington, Va. The running club was notified by RRCA late in 2022 that Greensboro would receive the notoriety, which is good for five years.

Greensboro Running Club leaders, including Pegram, presented the plaque to Greensboro mayor Nancy Vaughan on May 2.

The Greensboro Running Club presents the Runner Friendly Community plaque to city leaders on May 2. From left, Ariel Jipping, Greensboro Running Club board member; Sarah Hampton, club president; City Manager Taiwo Jaiyeoba; GRC member Chip Pegram; Mayor Nancy Vaughan; GRC member Johanna Bingham, former GRC president and Pegram's wife; and Phil Fleischmann, director of Greensboro Parks and Recreation (Marshall Hurley photo).

The RRCA evaluates applications twice a year based on community infrastructure and support within the community, local governments and elsewhere. Winston-Salem, based on an application from the Twin City Track Club, received the Runner Friendly Community Designation in December 2021.

How Winston-Salem earned its Runner Friendly Community honor
The Road Runners Club of America sends Winston-Salem good news.

"First and foremost, (a community) has to make running safe and affordable and accessible for everyone who wants to participate, which of course we do," Pegram says. "You have the infrastructure for running, which Greensboro really does. On the Parks and Recreation website, there's links to information on 15 greenways and 19 hiking trails. So there's a lot of places to run. A lot of them have water fountains and restrooms. We were very strong in that count.

"You have to show that the community has collaboration among government officials and public and private organizations and businesses to make running better in the community. And we definitely have that in abundance too.

"One example is when races are sponsored, like the Fun Fourth, Downtown Greensboro Inc. sponsors and promotes the race. They work with Junction 311 Endurance Sports for the logistics and putting on the race. City government's involved with closing certain roads and lanes. And then police are strategic locations around the course, directing traffic and ensuring that runners, walkers and pedestrians are safe.

"That's just kind of a microcosm of the kind of cooperation you see around the city, all through the year through running events. We pretty much checked all the boxes."

Lumberton also received the honor in the class with Greensboro. The other three cities honored are Anniston, Ala.,; Fort Thomas, Ky.; and Toledo, Ohio.

“The challenges of the last few years have highlighted the important role communities play in making running accessible for citizens,” Jean Knaack, RRCA executive director, said in a press release issued in December. “The references from city and state government leaders for this round of Runner Friendly Communities demonstrates the impact of positive relationships between runners and local officials.”

The Runner Friendly Community honor is good for five years. Communities work with the RRCA to ensure they continue to meet expectations for the designation. Five cities, joining the five newcomers, renewed their Runner Friendly Community designation: Holland, Mich.; Knoxville, Tenn.; Lynchburg, Va.; Minneapolis-St. Paul; and Richmond, Va.

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