The Road Runners Club of America, the oldest and largest distance running organization in the United States, is pleased to announce that Salem, Massachusetts has been selected for the Runner Friendly Community designation.
Salem has shown that they meet the program’s criteria, which includes community infrastructure, community support, and local government support for running. Salem has proved to have an infrastructure that can foster physical activity in a safe environment; a proven track record that organizations and businesses work together to promote running as a healthy exercise and sport; and there are positive relationships between the running community and local government.
The goals of the Runner Friendly Community program are to shine a national spotlight on communities that standout as runner-friendly and to provide incentives and ideas for communities to work towards becoming runner friendly communities. Runner friendly communities can increase the quality of life, improve physical activity for residents as outlined in the National Physical Activity Plan, and provide for increased economic impact for the community.
Here are several examples of Salem as a Runner Friendly Community:
In Salem, the Park, Recreation & Community Services Department, Wicked RunningClub, along with other organizations in the city, have created races for all types of runners and distances, from the annual January 1st Frosty Four Race, to the Cross Country 5k Old Salem Green Race, to the Annual Wild Turkey Race, among others. There’s a race for every type of runner!
Salem offers running services to their youth as well, including: Summer Youth Track Club which attracts more than 50 kids each summer, all ages track meet held each summer at the Salem High School track, and the Wicked Kidz half and one mile run which attracts over 100 boys and girls each summer at Forest River Park.
The Wicked Half Marathon, which started in 2007 with close to 400 runners, has tripled in size over the past five years. On Halloween Weekend, Salem is host to the Devils Chase 6.66-miler. Just in its second year, the 6.66-mile race has become a world-wide destination race. They’ve also added two new races for the 2011 calendar including the Black Cat 10/20miler in March and the Extreme 5K Urban run with 15 obstacles throughout the city in June.
Salem’s signature race, the Wild Turkey 5 Mile Run on Thanksgiving Day benefits youth programs at Salem Park & Recreation and the Boys & Girls Club. It’s the largest race on the North Shore, with more than 1,500 participants.
In January 2010, Salem introduced the first ever North Shore snowshoe race at Olde Salem Greens golf course. At the time, it was the largest snow shoe race in New England and second largest ever in the Northeast.
Congratulations to Salem Park & Rec and Wicked Running - and all of your partners - for making Salem a great place to run!