Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Why Doesn't Nashville Love Running?

When I got the last issue of Runner's World in the mail, I checked the cover and flipped right to the article that listed "America's 50 Best Running Cities."  As you may have guessed from the title of this post, Nashville doesn't make the list, and that bums me out.  There are five categories they looked at on a weighted basis:
1. Run (40%) - things like races, clubs, running stores, etc.
2. Parks (20%) - ideal places to run
3. Climate (20%) - how close the city gets to ideal running temps
4. Food (10%) - proximity to healthy food
5. Safety (10%) - how safe it is to run
Trying to get over my immediate disappointment, I started thinking about what makes Nashville different than a place like Chicago (my hometown and ranked at number 11 on the list).  Nashville as a city is growing out of its shoes, seeing a major influx of people (especially young people), new stores and restaurants, housing builds, etc.  I cannot imagine that food or safety would take Music City off the list and if Atlanta (ranked number 38) makes it, then climate couldn't be the primary factor.
I've been impressed by the number of great places to run here too.  There are parks and a greenway system that traverses the entire city and some surrounding suburbs (see my post on the greenway here).  So that leaves the biggest category, the Run category - all about the community and running events.  Having lived here nearly 3 years, I'll tell you there isn't a ton.  There are a few running clubs (East Nasty being one of the largest), a few running stores (love you Nashville Running Company), and a surprising small number of races in Nashville proper (that rarely sell out).
I recently got on BibRave, a site where you can read and leave race reviews.  Not only are there few Nashville races listed, but the reviews left for those races are not written by Nashville residents (with a few exceptions).  I just don't get it.  It's not an easy city to run - it's pretty hilly here (but come on, San Francisco is number 1 and those hills are way bigger).  Nashville is an amazing city that's been getting a lot of publicity.  I just don't understand why the running community is slower to follow.
My sincere hope is that things change and change quickly.  I'm going to do my part, reviewing the races that do happen in and around Nashville, writing about great places to run, and supporting my local running stores and clubs.  Let's love running Nashville!

Did your city make the list?
What makes your city a great place to be a runner?

10 comments:

  1. Hmm, I have not even opened my last several issues of Runner's World! I am now anxious to see what Cities are on the list.

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    1. I'm behind on my issues as well, but I couldn't help flipping right to this article when I saw the headline on the cover.

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  2. I'm lucky that both of my cities (Chicago and Tucson) made the list. I think Nashville needs more people like you to boost it and encourage more running events. Do you know if they also looked at what is going on in the suburbs of Nashville. I know that both Mt. Juliette and Franklin have late fall running events. Nashville needs a marathon for sure to move up or to get on to the list. Maybe Fleet Feet will help make some of this happen.

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    1. That's a good point - they may not have considered the broader Nashville. I do hope that our running stores can help drive that running community and sponsor some more races. We have such great places to run! You are VERY lucky. Chicago in particular is such a strong running community!

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  3. I wonder about those lists. There are so many good places to run. Nashville has such a strong running community, it's weird that they got left off the list.

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    1. Nashville is an amazing city, but I definitely don't think we have the availability of races/clubs/stores that many other bigger cities do. We are still growing, so maybe that will come with it and we will make a future list!

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  4. Although I have not checked the list, I would be willing to guess there are very few southern cities listed. I'm curious -- who does the voting? Was it something open to all readers?

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    1. There are a few Southern cities, but not many. From what I can gather, it was based on research and not on runners or voting. Now THAT would be interesting to see as well - based on the opinions of actual runners!

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  5. I have never been to Nashville... I live in Paris (France) and we have great places to run but you need to get closer to the outskirts. Wonder if RW will do the same list for France. Going to check it out !

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    1. Paris is such a wonderful city! I've been there several times and love to run there (the Luxembourg Gardens are my absolute favorite). I think it would be great if RW did an international version of this list. I've never run a race in Paris, but heard such great things about the Paris Marathon. Maybe someday :)

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