The continued growth of trail running in general over the last ten years, and participation in TTR specifically, is exciting to see for the sport. As many of you know, TTR's history dates back to the late 1970s, having been founded by Ken Young. For most of its existence TTR was a pretty tight-knit group of folks, and joining the group for a run generally took knowing an existing participant. When the TTR Facebook page was launched back in April of 2016, the access to the group expanded tremendously, which has been a very positive change. As of now there are over 1,800 people in the Facebook group, and the number of runners at TTR events has swelled, even during the pandemic.
However, the growth within TTR and the changing nature of our society do pose potential challenges and require adjustments to the group. Among these challenges is a liability concern that exists when hosting a "group run" as TTR has done for decades. With a smaller, less visible group in years past, the risk may have been acceptable, but in today's litigious world these risks are no longer prudent to take. There have been a number of instances in the last several years that have been cause for legitimate concern, involving runners within the group and non-runners alike. As a group focused on trail running, building a sense of community, and expanding stewardship of the outdoors, we don't feel it's wise for any volunteer administrators of TTR or the fantastic volunteer RDs within the group to have concerns about any potential liability exposure when helping in this cause.
Therefore, moving forward, TTR will be purchasing insurance through the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) on an annual basis. As you'd expect, there is a cost for this insurance coverage, but thankfully it's very minimal and essentially equates to a few gels a year per person, or $4.80 to be exact. To offset this cost, we will be requiring every participant that wishes to join a TTR event to pay a minimum $5 annual fee.
Please know that the decision to require ANY payment was not taken lightly. Not since the earlier days of the group's founding by Ken Young and his publication of the Arizona Mountain Runner newsletter, has there been any cost structure associated with TTR. We don't want to create any barriers that would keep anyone from enjoying this phenomenal group that's existed for nearly 45 years and has hosted countless runs around Southern Arizona trails. Therefore, if anyone has a legitimate hardship in paying the fee, whether a new or old member, please confidentially contact a TTR admin. Payment of the $5 annual fee can be provided via cash or check (made out to Tucson Trail Runners) and delivered to Mike Duer, Angela Greynolds, Stephen Woodall, Caitlin Vogelsberg, or Vasileious Paschalidis OR Zelle the payment to email@example.com. PLEASE NOTE: THIS $5 FEE IS ON A CALENDAR YEAR BASIS. Therefore, it will usually be a fee asked for in December (when the insurance payment is due) for the upcoming year.
Hopefully those of you that have come out to any past TTR run understand the value that the group provides. Many friendships and running partners have been found at TTR runs. Joining others on the trail, even if they're ahead or behind you for much of the day, creates a bond within our local community and provides many people with motivation and a sense of security. Also, it's always fun hanging out after the events, socializing, eating an often provided snack by the RD, commiserating at times, and discussing future run & race plans. Joining TTR with your minimum $5 membership fee (additional donations are certainly welcomed & have already been made by TTR admins) will also provide you access to the new TTR Run Series Facebook group. This is where the official schedule will be made available and the group will likely be a more close-knit group of active TTR participants & long-time supporters. The existing TTR Facebook page will continue to exist, as it does today, as a great resource for Tucson trail running, critter count sightings, and other local trail news. Whereas the TTR Run Series group, with its smaller group size, may again feel like a little more intimate setting of the original TTR group and a bit safer environment to ask for running partners again.
TTR will also now require each participant to sign a new, updated liability waiver before they join us in their next TTR event. Click here for a copy of this form for your review. You can print and bring it with you before the run or we will have copies available to sign the morning of the run. If you'd like to sign your copy digitally, we can do that as well, if you email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Although it's unlikely anyone would think there's any financial benefit to be had amongst the TTR administrators, we pledge to be 100% transparent with all monies. An accounting of funds will be posted in the TTR Run Series group. All membership fees will be going towards direct costs such as the insurance coverage, website hosting and domain name fees, etc. Any additional donations or excess fees will be used periodically towards trail work tools (thanks again to John Mollenhour, who has organized and purchased his own tools for this use previously), possible emergency supply purchase (RD fill in on short notice, etc), and to cover the minimum account balance for the checking account to avoid paying unnecessary fees.
We certainly hope to have the support of everyone and believe these minor modifications moving forward won't discourage anyone from continuing to enjoy TTR. None of us like paying any fees, but this cost is a prudent and reasonable investment in keeping TTR running for another 40+ years into the future.
-Mike, Stephen, Angela, and John