Impact of COVID-19
With the COVID-19 pandemic, we were quickly forced to move from our in-person races and run clubs and embrace virtual events instead. Though our community has remained active on our Facebook group, our runner participation has decreased, as has our income significantly. Because we are still supporting the running community, our operations have remained relatively the same, creating a difficult financial situation for us as a nonprofit.
Community and Youth Engagement
As a nonprofit organization, we pride ourselves on giving back to our community through a variety of events supporting worthy causes and local youth.
Our community of passionate people inspire each other to reach their goals everyday. We host two weekly run clubs on Mondays and Saturdays, which aim to motivate people to run consistently and stay involved in our community. Beyond the events and races that we host, run club members have a group of training partners. Most importantly, every runner that interacts with Boston Road Runners becomes a friend. Our run clubs are free, consistent, and open to all. Everyone is welcomed with open arms, regardless of ability or experience. We have six ambassadors that help make this supportive environment possible. BRR ambassadors are energetic leaders that represent our organization and encapsulate our mission. They inspire our runners, such as through motivational posts on social media of their own running pursuits.
Because our community gives so much to us, we love giving back in any way we can. We partner with several nonprofits and assist these organizations with putting on road races in order to raise money for a cause they care about. One of our partners is the MataHari Womens’ Workers Center; we fundraise for their efforts towards social justice. We also use our platform to raise awareness for other causes, as seen through races like our Run for Suicide Prevention and International Women’s Run. By helping these nonprofits organize running events, we not only raise money for important causes, but we help bring our community together and raise awareness for critical issues.
“BRR is an excellent organization! When I first came to Boston as a freshman in pharmacy school I struggled with finding a group that I really connected with and with running accountability! BRR has given me some of the best couple of years of my life here in Boston and I am grateful for the new friends and good times!” -Leah C.
We want to encourage kids to run to help them stay active and learn how fun exercising can be. To make this happen, all of our road races have discounts for runners aged 18 and under. We also put on special community youth races. All expenses are paid for by BRR and are free for our youth runners. In 2019, we partnered with Mendell Elementary School of Boston Public Schools to host the Mendell Mile. This untimed race invited children in grades 1-5 to run 1 mile. We had a total of 206 children running at this event alone. It is our goal to make all of our events free for our youth runners in the future.
Beyond the events we host, we partnered with local youth programs at the end of 2019 such as: ChildObesity180, Girls on the Run, Boys & Girls Club, Title IX Girls, and Road to the Right Track. These partnerships help drive youth engagement in all of our races, inspire children to be active, and support the work these organizations do.
Run Club Community
Our weekly run clubs are the heart of the Boston Road Runners community. The Boston Road Runners run clubs, hosted on Mondays and Saturdays, are free and open to people of all ages, skill levels, and backgrounds. We also host special run club events. Like our run clubs, these races are free and open to everyone. The majority of participants are run club members, however, because the races occur at the same date, time, and location of our run clubs.
We seek to foster a community of inclusion and enthusiasm and are always looking for new members to join and contribute to our community. Our run club promotes solidarity among runners who are like-minded in their running goals and who can help each other grow as athletes, leaders, and community members.
In 2020, Boston Road Runners inspired 250 people to run and be active. 51% of runners are between 19 and 29 years old. Following this, 27% of runners are in their 30s. We have plenty of runners who are in their 40s and above, with nearly 22% of runners falling into that category
Of our Massachusetts runners, 60% live in one of four major cities: Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, or Brookline.
Before joining our run club, nearly 80% of our runners trained alone. When they join BRR, these individuals are welcomed into a safe community of training partners and future friends. BRR provides them with not only a great opportunity to improve their running, but more importantly, a safe community of welcoming individuals.
Boston Road Runners planned 10 unique events in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. There was only one race that we were able to run: the Boston Cupcake Run, with 156 registrants. Additionally, this was the only run club event of 2020. All of our other events were canceled due to the pandemic. Between all of the events cancelled from March to December, it is estimated that BRR experienced a loss of 3,000 runners.
However, BRR successfully put on two virtual events during the height of the pandemic in Massachusetts: the Boston Virtual Running Challenge (Road/Trail) and the Summer Run Fest. The virtual events attracted 130 total registrants and were our only special events of 2020 thus far. Additionally, BRR has implemented virtual biweekly run clubs and continues to harness social media to engage runners from a distance. The members in our run club are dedicated to keep running despite these hardships and show love and dedication to this special running community.
Sex of Runners
Similar to previous years, during 2020, women made up a significantly larger portion of Boston Road Runners than men. 68% of our runners were women, and 32% were men.
Age of Runners
In 2020, runners ranged in age from 6 to 63 years old. Almost 43% of runners who registered for events in 2020 were between 20 and 29 years old. The most common age group was 20-29 for both males and females, followed by the 30-39 age group. There are increasingly less people in each age group after the 30-39 year olds. 40-49 and 50-59 were fairly common age groups; 24% of runners were between the ages of 40 and 59. About 8% of runners were under 20 years old, and about 1% of runners were above 60 years old.
Home of Runners
About 86% of Boston Road Runners came from Massachusetts. Beyond Massachusetts, most of our other runners came from the Northeast. Within Massachusetts, Boston was the city that the most individuals called home, with nearly 28% of MA runners coming from Boston. The next most popular cities were Cambridge, Somerville, and Brookline, as seen in the pie chart.
The chart below shows a map of Massachusetts with cities marked by a color coding system that indicates the number of runners who registered for a race in 2020 who come from that city. The key indicates the range in the number of runners that each color represents.
Nearly 23% of runners expected to run a 10 minute mile, and about 22% expected to run at around 9 minutes per mile. While certain pace groups were more popular than others, the graph below demonstrates that runners of every speed are welcome in our run club, and all newcomers can find friends and training partners.
In 2020, Boston Road Runners’ income totals $6,186 so far. Donations and race fees were major sources of income this year. As in other years, donations are vital to the fulfillment of Boston Road Runners’ primary goal - to inspire people to run. Without donations, BRR would be unable to put on youth events, give out t-shirts to encourage participation, and more. About 6% of our income has come from donations, and 94% from partnerships with sponsors.
Expenses in 2020 total $15,011 so far. Our expenses go toward a variety of outlets, mainly operational expenses and community and youth initiatives. As a nonprofit organization, giving back to our community is important to us. We prioritize our youth programs, as they encourage young people to get active at an early age and engage in the community. This year, about 66% of our expenses so far have gone toward community and youth initiatives.
We would like to thank all of our donors for their support over the years. Without donations, Boston Road Runners would be unable to put on events for our community to come together and participate in. We appreciate all contributions, and we are grateful for the time and energy given from our donors; they have played a vital role in helping us come so far as a nonprofit.
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Thank you to everyone who makes Boston Road Runners possible, including our runners, volunteers, donors, and sponsors! We are very grateful that we are able to continue to grow our community. We love our runners and the positive impact that we are able to make on their lives. All of us at Boston Road Runners are so thankful for the support from sponsors and partners that allows us to do what we do.