Candidate Statement: Alisa Springman

Alisa SpringmanAs I reflect on the ten years that I have been a trail runner at VHTRC events and the eight years that I have been a VHTRC member, I am humbled by how much the sport and the club have given to me personally.  I am also astounded by how much the sport of trail running has changed in that brief time.  I am seeking reelection to the club not only to give back, but to respond to the challenges of a rapidly changing sport, membership and social environment.   The most recent incarnation of the board has struggled to define how the VHTRC will respond to this changing atmosphere and though we have made some progress, I do not think we are done.  The ideals of the founding members of our club must continue to be our guiding force and I will represent those ideals as a member of the board.   I want to drink beer in a parking lot, heckle and congratulate runners and tell overly dramatic stories of what happened during the run after I am assured that we have put on a well managed, runner friendly event.

I have been fortunate to participate in races all over the country.  Some are professional, for-profit, sponsored events and some are no fee, low key gatherings of mostly local runners.  None of them compare to what the VHTRC has produced in its three marquis events.  The VHTRC has an incredible reputation for producing high quality, high value, non-commercial events where runners are treated like family.  I want to do everything I can to secure the success of these events, to preserve and enhance the reputation of the club and to support the efforts of our volunteer race directors who make it all happen.   The club is fortunate to have found new race directors for all three events in the last three years.  It is the board’s responsibility to assure that the race directors preserve the traditions and values of the club while giving them enough flexibility to put their own stamp on the event.  We must ensure that volunteers are available and rewarded (even in a small way) for their efforts.  I want to continue to be part of that process.

The club, however, is not simply defined by these three events.  The fat ass events and the organized training runs that the VHTRC supports offer an excellent opportunity to engage the membership and potential members in running and in the club.  I was thrilled to have club support for a fat ass event -- Holy Cowan's Gap 50k -- that I designed in concert with my friend Sue Malone.  Our goal of introducing runners to trails in south central PA was in line with the goals of the club.  Where there are members that want to introduce runners to the incredible beauty that is our backyard in Virginia and the mid-Atlantic, I want the VHTRC to support those efforts.   We have the financial and physical (equipment) resources to support these runs.  The board has drawn up guidelines for members who wish to put on a run under club auspices, but we must do more to promote and encourage this involvement.  Equipment inventory and management must also be addressed so that these resources are readily available to support club members.

But the club isn’t just running events.  It is a website and a list serve and, though not official, it is a Facebook group, a Meetup group, and a Twitter account.  I am not sure that older modes of communication will continue be the most efficient or effective way for the club and its membership to interact.  I want to preserve the values of the club, but I also want to be responsive to a membership that is constantly engaged online.

Election years certainly make me wary of making any promises, but I can state that I will be out at races, running club events and looking to interact with other members of the club.  I will listen to the feedback and concerns of the membership and will bring those views back to the board.    I have reaped the value of my $15 dues a hundred times over and now it is my turn to continue to give my time and energy back to the club that I have enjoyed so much.  Maintaining the runner friendly, high quality, high value events for which the VHTRC is known will be my goal.  By supporting our race directors, acknowledging our volunteers, listening to our members and encouraging them to become involved, I hope to represent the membership in a way that makes the club proud.

Happy Trails!

Alisa Springman