Shared Leadership in the BAR

By: Sarah Fry

The month of December has been a time of transition in the BAR leadership as Beau’s presidency draws to a close and our incoming president Corum learns essential and intricate behind-the-scenes details like how to open the BAR’s old-school post office box at the downtown post office. Observing these moments gave me an opportunity to reflect on the many ways the BAR’s shared leadership, both formal and informal, is essential to its continued vibrancy as a volunteer-run organization. I offer three insights to celebrate the BAR and let newer members know about ways to be involved. 

First, the BAR’s vibrancy is the result of a community of volunteers who share their creativity and love of running with others. From Neil and Dana creating the Greenbelt Traverse, to Ashley launching the 1200 mile club, new ideas and opportunities keep the BAR vibrant. The opportunities to encourage participation aren’t limited to elected board members – any BAR Tender can approach the board with a creative idea.  Indeed, while Neil and Dana are members of the 2021 leadership team, they were not on the board when they launched the Greenbelt Traverse and summer ‘20 trail exploration. They had good ideas, pitched them to the board, and ran with it (quite literally!). Other non-board members have also enriched the BAR with opportunities, such as a successful fun-raiser for Girls on the Run. Board-members and BAR Tenders also come together for committees (e.g. the spring training camp committee). As Randi explained in her invitation to run for a leadership position, the BAR “needs committed people to keep its five weekly runs and numerous special events on the calendar.”  

Second, as Randi also explained, the BAR is a place where we can find “transformative relationships that we would have never had otherwise.” When I first moved to Boise 12 years ago, Meet-Up wasn’t the vibrant place for making connections that it is now, yet I was lucky enough to find a hiking group through a notice in the Boise Weekly! Many of the people I met through the group are still close friends today, and I remain grateful for how a shared interest in enjoying the outdoors brought amazing people into my life. So over the five years that I have attended BAR events, I’ve been particularly happy when new-to-Boise runners develop close connections. Our Sunday morning Camel’s Back co-host, Geo, explained how involvement with the, “BAR is a big reason that the Treasure Valley … started to feel like home” to him and Brita. Despite the shift to BAR events during the pandemic, we still have new-to-the-BAR runners find us and show up for runs. Hope is high that in 2021 we will see COVID-19 reined in, and we can return to having post-run and race events that bring us closer together than 6 feet apart! In the meanwhile, I know our BAR community will continue to offer a warm welcome to newcomers seeking to find their community and new friendships and keep existing members motivated and supported to keep running through the challenges of life in a global pandemic. As Matt put it so powerfully:

I enter a circle of fluorescent singlets and smiling faces

to start every Saturday morning

and release a sigh that seems to say “so glad that I have found you

Third, while president of the BAR, Beau developed the BAR Stories Project as a way to cultivate connection. In looking through the collection of stories, I note that some feature runners who are not as active in the BAR as they once were, and they will be joyfully welcomed when they return. Other stories feature insights about our incoming president Corum’s journey as a runner. In another story, Julie inspires us with her endeavor to run a marathon in all 50 students. She also reminds us “Anyone can run. Everyone doesn’t have to run a marathon. Everyone doesn’t have to run a half marathon. It’s just about enjoying it.” Early in the pandemic, Alie shared how she adjusted to the changes even though she “had 2020 all figured out. I had registered and planned my year of races that would challenge me, help me grow, give time for recovery between, and then amp me back up to achieve the goal of the next one.” These stories and others remind me that Beau was right when he said “Running makes the best people.” Perhaps others will continue the BAR Stories project in the future as it offers a way to build connections in our community. 

I welcome the new ideas and opportunities the 2021 BAR leadership team is sure to offer, and I hope others who aren’t elected leaders will contribute as well. Contribution is about more than hosting events – it’s about offering friendship, laughter, and support. I write this reflection about shared leadership as we approach the anniversary of losing our dear friend Rob Hancock. Rob was quick to make everyone feel welcome at BAR events. As Sheryl pointed out, “He always would stop for a few minutes to run at my slower pace just to see how things were going for me. I believe he did this with everyone on the run because he genuinely cared about everyone feeling like they belonged.” Rob embodied leadership without holding an official role in the BAR – he contributed through kindness and generosity. As Beau said, “I can’t help but feel that he was the best of us. He trained with passion and determination when focused on a goal, but he was very capable of just chilling at a pace comfortable for the person he was talking to. His humor and warmth was most evident when supporting and celebrating others.” We can all do that for one another and keep the BAR a welcoming community by contributing, whether or not we hold an elected role on the board. 

BAR Fall Race Series

The series will feature a September 5K, an October Half-Marathon, a November 10K, and a December Marathon. Because all of our fall races are cancelled (or soon will be), this will hopefully give everyone a goal to train for and people to run with in a race setting. Each race will start in conjunction with one of our regularly scheduled runs. Those that complete all four races in the series will receive a Boise Area Runner’s singlet in the distinctive and famous BAR neon yellow.

The races will essentially be group time trials on a set course – there will be no official timing, no medals, no aid, and no finish line. It is up to you to use a watch to time your run and ensure the proper distance. Feel free to wear an old bib as well. There will be an opportunity to submit your race times following each run via email. Entries should include a link to Garmin Connect, Strava, or a similar app to verify times. A simple photo of your watch will do as well. Looking forward to seeing everyone out there!

-Frank

Schedule:

  1. 5K – Saturday, September 13 – The Coffee Mill 5K in East Boise!
  2. Half-Marathon – October date and location TBA
  3. 10K – November date and location TBA
  4. Marathon – December date and location TBA

Gear up for fall with BAR apparel

Act now to get in on this special order.

We do not carry these items or colors in our inventory and only make these special orders periodically, so don’t miss out!

These will all feature our BAR neon yellow logo on front and back:

  • Grey tank (singlet) – made of moisture-wicking tech fabric
  • Two types of windbreaker – water resistant and perfect for running in fall weather
    • Grey full-zip w/ a hood
    • Black full-zip
  • Grey fleece lined pullover hoodie

These items are available for pre-order only. Select your item and complete the transaction by August 31st. An image of the spec sheet for each item is available in the description to help with sizing. Once the screen printing is complete, your item will be shipped to you or available for pick-up.

Boise Area Runners Take on Pandemic Challenges

A recap of the running challenge BAR held in May. What else are you doing to keep motivated with physical activity these days?

By Beau Seegmiller

Whether for health or just to achieve some mental clarity, runners run for many reasons. Of those reasons, the opportunity to face and overcome a challenge is one of them. Normally we will use a race to serve as a great focal point for our challenges. Given the nature of the COVID-19 pandemic and our efforts to stem its spread through canceling races and group runs, finding new challenges has itself become a challenge. 

Boise Area Runners are not known to sit back and let the global spread of a deadly virus stop them from setting goals and overcoming challenges to reach them. To celebrate this aspect of our runners, we held an “official” challenge event where participants created and shared their challenge, and how they overcame it. What follows are just a few of their stories.

For a number of our runners their challenge was about getting out into areas new to them. Molly Guenther shared, “True confession: I’ve lived in Boise for 3 years and never been to Bogus. Until today!” She biked to the top.  Duane Evans “decided to try to do a half marathon on the Lucky Peak loop. Ended up walking many of the steeper pitches but it was a beautiful day with amazing views.” Sara Fry ran a trifecta of completing three different new-to-her routes of varying distances with one up to 20 miles long. “I loved challenging myself to try to face the unknown!” 

For Ben Hipple this challenge was an opportunity to not only be creative but wax philosophical: “I did a triple virtual today! For my virtual run with the BAR, I went around the Payette Lake race course, except I did not race it, and I didn’t even run it, as I ran it virtually on my mountain bike. There is still snow on the road around North Beach,and the hill is as steep as ever, and nobody was at the finish line to cheer me on. So if you cross a finish line and nobody is there to cheer you on, then is it really a finish line? Something to ponder.”

Even though he is very new to the BAR, Leif Fredericks jumped in and completed a monster of a challenge: the 4x4x48. This feat involves running 4 miles at the top of every 4 hours for 48 hours. For the mathematically impaired, that means running 48 miles in two days with interrupted sleep! All of you ultra distance types should be feeling nothing but envy.

Corum Hughes decided to take this challenge as an opportunity to express or create art using a gps with his two feet. “I did a very Idaho half marathon this morning for my first try at Strava art. It was actually about 14 miles, but I had to pause the watch to get some extra lines not represented by streets. The actual 13.1 distance was serendipitous.”

Others just got out there and ran to discover that often the challenge finds us. Matty Leppell reports, “I couldn’t think of anything amazing so I just let my feet take me on a random run with no plan, it was relaxing-ish. I ended up running through a shin deep swamp, got stung by a bee in the palm of my hand, and randomly tripped when I stepped outside my front door to start my run giving the neighborhood a good laugh. #noregrets” 

What is the lesson we can take from all of this? Runners overcome their circumstances, whatever they are, and find a way to keep moving forward.

See you out on a run!