The USATF-NE Iron Runner jacket has been around for quite some time and it one of the more well-known and respected traditions in the region. People fight through injuries, power through scheduling conflicts and pretend to not hear invitations to toddler birthday parties just to make it to the line for all 7 races. But a certain subset of runners gets overlooked year in and year out, those who are just as dedicated but not nearly as durable.
Inspired by the Iron Runners but with a healthy dose of sympathy, the USATF-NE will be handing out Glass Runner awards to runners who register for all races in the Grand Prix series but don’t actually get to the starting line for any of them. Inspired by the Iron Runner jackets, this new award will consist of a monogrammed pair of windpants. “We wanted to award these oft-injured but dedicated runners with something that would be useful. Something that says ‘I can run in this’ but most likely will be used for spectating or binge-watching Orphan Black,” said Vice President Jason Ayr.
Jason is arguably the most influential board member and was the driving force behind the creation of this latest honor. “The idea for this award hit me when my good friend, Nicolai Naranjo, signed up for 7 of the 7 Grand Prix events last year, but only ran in one. He was not included as an Iron Runner, but he probably could have been. He really wanted to post the Instagram picture of himself wearing that vest, and I think it really hurt his potential increase in followers last fall when there was no vest to post.”
However, the association is steeped in tradition and sometimes proves to be resistant to change. Would this new category of award winners be widely accepted? Would runners show the same level of respect to the Wind Pants that they do for the Jacket? “I think most members will be happy to see us moving to a more inclusive awards structure. People say, and I’ve heard them say it, because it’s been said, that running is 90% mental, so clearly we have been putting way too much emphasis on the “winning” and “finishing” component of running. If the runner cares to sign-up, the runner is 90% there! It’s simple math.”
Jason himself is quite the accomplished jogger. You can find him at many an association event both competing and laying the groundwork for the next election cycle. Being the fierce competitor that he is, knows support is even more meaningful coming from those who truly understand the struggle. “I would really appreciate seeing all of the monogrammed track pants cheering me on while I ran. It’d create a sort of intimacy amongst the finishers and those who at least signed up. Sort of like the finishers shareholders, financially subsidizing the competitions and wearing the badge of honor to prove it!”
So make sure you sign up for your Grand Prix races next year. Jacket or pants, either honor is a big one and you don’t want to miss out.
But before you do sign up for any races, check today’s date.