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2021-01-31 Dave Coppock February 2021 President's Letter

Welcome to February 2021! I’m sure we’re all happy to see 2020 behind us. Moving into the second month of the new year, I’ve been looking for hopeful, running related signs that we’ll have a better year than the previous one. So, I’ve listed my top four hopeful signs that running in 2021 will be a better year.

Number 4- Seeing the light. We’re starting to see a ray of hope for runners on the pandemic front. With the vaccination rollout, we’re starting to make a dent in the transmission rates. The Montana Governor has expanded the number of people allowed to gather in groups to 50. The mask mandate is still in effect, however. That gives us hope that some larger running events may be able to take place, in-person, later in the year. Montana State University recently took a stab at hosting a small, indoor track dual in mid-January and two more may be held in the coming weeks. They ran the event groups in pods, about 2-3 hours each, so that there were no more than 30 or 40 people in the large Worthington Arena at any one time. I worked as a starter there and we officials had to take a COVID test before we entered the arena. So, there are ways!

Number 3- Rolling out the vaccine. Race directors of very large events like Boston and Bloomsday (and the Montana Women’s Run) are experts at logistics, as we all know. This fact was not lost on state health officials in Massachusetts in tabbing longtime Boston Marathon race director, Dave McGillivray, to run mass vaccination operations at Gillette Field and Fenway Park. Hopefully, Spokane, WA will involve the Bloomsday officials in their vaccination efforts.

Number 2- National Championships come home. The RRCA National 5k Championships is coming to Billings in 2021! As a result of the hard work done by Ronda Vukasin, our State RRCA representative, the Heart and Sole Race has been designated as the RRCA 5K National Championships. Great news for Billings to be on the National road racing map!

Number 1- Hedging your bets. Finally, my favorite, hopeful, running story of the new year is actually in the financial area. If you’ve been following the bizarre GameStop market rally, you might have learned that the Reddit investor who led the way, Keith Gill, 34, is a former 4 minute college miler with a portfolio value in excess of $30 million. Not the greedy type, he has one dream in mind. “I always wanted to build an indoor track facility or a field house in Brockton,” he said of his hometown. “And now, it looks like I actually could do that.” We could always use a few more generous individuals like Mr. Gill as well as more indoor tracks.

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