Letter to the Editor: Nonprofits racing to survive

Adapting to challenges and changes has never been more crucial to small, local race directors and the nonprofit organizations they assist and support than during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While being flexible is familiar to us, this pandemic takes everything to a different level. Nonprofits and small businesses, including small, local running/walking, and multisport race directors and event organizers are literally fighting to stay afloat.

Resilience isn’t something new in the athletic or nonprofit world. We are no strangers to finding a way to put one foot in front of the other to reach the finish line.

As it turns out, now that’s a good thing because times have never been tougher for a lot of the small-race people and entities that are the heartbeat of the sport.

From a numbers standpoint, the big players stand to lose the most money. But the largest event organizers and nonprofits also have the backing to take the hit and come out the other end potentially more unscathed.

Small community race directors and nonprofits that depend on local running, walking and multisport events to survive might not be so lucky.

It’s the small, community events that bring new people into the sport and act as a feeder to larger events.

In small communities, running, walking and multisport events are the grassroots of many nonprofit fundraisers, and not structured to handle consecutive months without revenue. No one planned for a season without hosting fundraising events.

Over the years, many amateur athletes have traveled the country participating in larger events, forgetting the small, community fundraising events in their own backyards. These local events provide funds to build homes, pay for medical support and research, award scholarships, fund youth programs and provide support to first responders, veterans, food pantries, animal support organizations and more. Many of the small-event fundraisers and nonprofits won’t survive unless they have your support, either virtually or in person.

If there ever was a time to focus on your community, it is now. Find a local nonprofit fundraising event, mask up, social distance and hit the pavement or trail.

The returns will be well worth your investment!

Ray Parker
USA Track & Field certified coach
TriSports Charitable Events
Fit2Run2win Training & Racing