Welcome to the Rock Creek Roundup, a new monthly series featuring trail and running commentary, and a selection of articles, videos, products, and stories I’m into this month. Read last month’s roundup here.

For some, 2017 will be remembered as the year of the fire rooster. Or the year that Donald Trump takes office. Or maybe the year the DeLorean hits the streets once again.

But for me and Rock Creek Runner, 2017 will be the year of building a stronger community.

For the past few years I’ve taken a page out of one of my favorite blogger’s book, and designated an annual theme that shapes the content, direction, and goals for this site. Just like I try to do with my training, focusing on one a single area puts everything into context.

… 2015’s year of smart running lead to the creation of the Trail Talk podcast and the Trail Runner’s System and a number of new resources.

… 2016’s year of service lead to more volunteer hours at races and on the trail, donations to trail building projects, and more free running resources on this site than ever before.

As I thought through where I wanted to see this site develop over the next 365 days, one theme stood out above all — community.

Why? Because after the past few weeks it’s hard to think of anything more important. Since the birth of our daughter, my wife and I have been surrounded by community support. People are cooking us meals, helping with chores, sharing the night shift, and showering all three of us with love.

Our community from near and far has not only helped us get through the sleepless nights and busy days, but made us better parents.

And a strong community will do the same thing for your running.

  • Your community will push you further than you can by yourself.
  • Your community acts as a teacher and mentor.
  • Your community holds you accountable on your quest towards a new running goal.
  • Your community brings joy.
  • Your community provides a pathway towards leaving the comfort zone.
  • Your community will give your runs more purpose.

For many of us, the running community is what got us running in the first place — a friend inviting you out for a run or encouraging you to join their local club — and it’s what keeps us going day after day.

So how can I, a blogger from North Carolina that you’ve probably never met, help you build a stronger running community?

For starters we’ll talk a lot this year about going local. Getting involved with running shops and clubs, local races, trail runs, and training groups.

But beyond that, I’m planning a number of new projects that help build this online community by connecting fellow Rock Creek Runners from all over the world to help encourage and support one another, and work together to run stronger, faster, and further.

Because I believe that now more than ever, it’s the relationships and village that we build — both in person and online — that will take us where we want to go.

So what do you say, are you with me?

Now, for that roundup …

What I’m Hooked on this Month: January, 2017

My 2017 Race Schedule — Will you join me?

Training will probably look a lot different this year (remember that newborn thing?), so I’ve made an effort to really focus my goals this year. I plan to revisit a few of my favorite races, select two key 100K-100M races (100 miler still TBD) and push myself with more unsupported or unregulated adventures.

This is still very much a work in progress, but here’s where my schedule stands as of right now:

District Vision Sunglasses

Don’t mind the hair. I just had a baby! What more do you want from me?

I’ve tried a number of sunglasses designed for runners — including some that cost far more than I’d like to admit — but I’ve never found a lens that didn’t bounce, fog up, or make it harder to read the trail.

A few weeks ago I was introduced to District Vision and their line of Keiichi glasses, which are designed specifically for trail runners. These things are amazing. I love the fit and feel, never have to adjust them mid run, and they don’t hide shadows from rocks or roots. Plus I think they look pretty dope.

If you’re looking for a new pair of shades, learn more here. (Not an affiliate link.)

Kilian (And Some Serious Mountain Porn)

I’m not sure what’s more inspiring in this short film, watching Kilian move or the mountains he’s moving on. Either way, this should get your juices flowing:

rabbit Running’s Zippit Top

The current trend in running clothing seems to be that more is better … More pockets. More zippers. More “unique features.” I don’t know about you, but sometimes I just want a clean, comfortable, warm running shirt. Seems like a reasonable ask.

That’s what I’ve found with the rabbit Running’s Zippit Top, which has become my current go-to this winter. It’s just plain comfortable.

Learn more here. (Not an affiliate link.)

Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think

Not directly running related, but timely considering the topic of community.

As runners we’re competitive against ourselves, the trail, and oftentimes others. Even if we’re not running at the front of the pack, it’s easy to compare our race resumes, finish times, and fashion to those around us. But does any of that matter?

That’s what I found myself asking after rereading this old article from Wait but Why:

Taming the Mammoth: Why You Should Stop Caring What Other People Think

My conclusion? Of course it doesn’t. Run for yourself.

105 Year Old Set Cycling Record

“I am not here to be champion. I am here to prove that at 105 years old you can still ride a bike,” Marchand said.




Author Doug Hay is the founder of Rock Creek Runner, host of the Trail Talk podcast, and fanatical about everything trail running -- beards, plaid shirts, bruised toenails, and all. He and his wife live and run in beautiful Black Mountain, NC.

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