By Aleta Wiley, FHR Survey Extraordinaire
Between December 22, 2014 and January 19, 2015, 53 members of our Forest Hills Runners community completed the 2014 Annual FHR Survey. The survey was available online and was announced in the FHR Facebook Group, on the FHR Facebook page, on Twitter, and on the FHR website to reach as many participants as possible. The survey asked runners questions about their participation in group runs during the week, in other events organized by FHR, and in official races in 2014. Participants were also asked open-ended questions soliciting ideas and suggestions for FHR in the coming year and to reflect on their biggest accomplishments and future goals.
And so, we present the results of the 2014 Annual FHR Survey!
1. When did you first join FHR for a run, social event, or race?
About half of all respondents joined FHR before 2014 and half joined sometime in the past year:
2. How did you first hear about FHR? How do you communicate with FHR?
About 35% (n=19) of respondents first heard about FHR via word-of-mouth and another 30% (n=15) found FHR through an Internet search. Almost 20% (n=9) first saw FHR at either a race or running in Jamaica Plain and 10% (n=5) responded to an FHR flyer.
100% (n=53) of survey respondents follow posts about FHR on Facebook and 45% (n=23) follow FHR on Twitter. Almost 40% (n=20) use the FHR website and 45% (n=23) read the FHR blog.
Almost 100% (n=52) of respondents preferred to receive new information about FHR on Facebook.
3. In 2014, which of the FHR weekly runs a) did you join at least once, and b) are you most likely to attend? (Respondents could select more than one answer.)
While the highest number of respondents had joined a Saturday morning run in 2014 (n=41) and the lowest had joined a Monday morning run (n=15), the weekday evening runs received near equal responses. Between 55-65% of respondents had attended each of the weekday evening runs at least once.
Respondents also were most likely to attend a Saturday morning run and were similarly likely to attend each of the weekday evening runs, overall.
4. In 2014, did you a) run any races, b) run any race distances for the first time, and c) run any PRs (personal records)?
83% (n=44) of respondents completed at least one race in 2014. The most popular race distance was the 5k (66%, n=35) followed closely by the half-marathon (62%, n=33). 16 respondents completed a full marathon, and 11 respondents completed a triathlon.
Many respondents tried new race distances in 2014. 9 people ran their first half-marathons, 7 completed their first triathlons, and 4 trained for their first full marathons.
Respondents also racked many some PRs in 2014! 25 of the 33 people (75%) who ran a half-marathon got their best time ever. 17 out of 35 runners (50%) ran their fastest 5k, and 7 out of 16 people (45%) got a PR during a full marathon.
And 9 respondents did not do any races in 2014. Maybe these respondents are newer to running and have not yet caught "the race bug" yet, or maybe this just proves that many people love to run without the competition and expense of participating in races.
FHR loves all runners and aims to help everyone in the community meet their personal running goals, whether its training for your first 5k, getting a qualifying time to run in the Boston Marathon, or being a motivated, consistent runner who wants to explore the neighborhood streets in neon running shoes.
5. In 2014, which of FHR events did you attend at least once?
About half of respondents (n=26) had attended an FHR Social Event and 40% (n=22) had attended a Destination run. 15% (n=8) each attended a community service event or a triathlon training workout.
6. Suggestions for future FHR events
Survey respondents provided many thoughtful suggestions for events and programs for FHR to initiate in the coming year. Everyone loves destination runs so keep your eye out for more of those in 2015 along with many more fun social events! There were also several suggestions for FHR to engage more with existing fitness groups in Boston, such as more joint social runs with other running groups and participation in other fitness events, such as group bike rides and yoga classes. Respondents also had many ideas for community service projects and outreach.
Brainstorm for Social Events:
- trivia nights
- camping and hiking trips
- roller skating
- more planned meet-ups in JP after weekly runs
Brainstorm for Community Service projects:
- fundraising team for Bikes Not Bombs Bike-a-thon
- develop a community garden
- blood and platelet donations
- help with JP's First Thursdays
- help with mentoring or fitness programs at a local school
- help reinvigorate a new rookie runners program
7. Suggestions for increasing attendance at FHR runs
Respondents had many great ideas for increasing attendance at FHR runs. Several people addressed the difficulty for runners who might be interested in joining an FHR run but who are intimidated or nervous about being the slowest. Other comments referenced how the more intimidating weekly runs (the Tuesday tempo and Thursday track/hill workouts) would actually be ideal for slower runners. Since they operate in a closed- circuit, no one has to fear getting left behind. All of the comments provided are valuable and will help guide future discussions of how to assure FHR is providing a welcoming environment to runners of all levels.
Brainstorm for Increasing Attendance at FHR runs:
- more "Welcome" runs
- "Intro to Running" program for beginner runners
- Run through different neighborhoods
- Promote at other groups and events
- fewer weekly runs to build excitement
- more weekly runs to accommodate more schedules
- more flyers and business cards
- partner with local businesses to help promote FHR
. . . and "move Boston to the Bahamas". We're workin' on it, but too many of us love running in the snow!
8. What is your proudest accomplishment in 2014? (a selection of quotes)
"Smoking my 10k time."
"Generally just feeling stronger and enjoying running and having friends to run with!"
"It was my first year to exceed 1000 miles in a year".
"Completing some Thursday night hill workouts!"
"Recovering from my injury."
"1st place in Masters trail race".
"Running a strong Reach the Beach with my friends . . . really more proud of the team than of myself".
"Going to XC Nationals with FHR!"
"I didn't get run over by any MBTA buses."
"Completing an Ironman."
"Surviving the year as a runner . . . improving my life balance with running and my relationship with FHR . . . If running makes you happy, don't let anything put out your fire. Keep running, stay stubborn."
8. What is one running-related goal you have for 2015? (a selection of quotes)
"Run socially! Come to a FHR event. Sign up for races."
"Get faster, stronger and fitter while staying injury free."
"Complete a marathon for the first time."
"Keep it up!"
"1:22:30 half, sub-18-minute 5k, sub 30-minute 5-miler."
"Expand my running community!"
"Buy new running shoes."
"Qualify for Boston."
"Gonna go for a tri . . . "
"Clean up the running stroller and take my daughter running more often."
"Do more FHR team races."
"Complete first triathlon . . . complete second triathlon."
"Dont get injured."
"Sub 6-minute mile."
"Put one foot in front of the other and repeat."
"To have more fun with my running and not stress out about pace so much. And to meet more runner friends!"
Thank you to the 53 FHRunners who responded to the 2014 Annual Survey. Stay tuned for info on the upcoming Town Hall Meeting -- everyone in the FHR Community is invited to join as we all discuss our mission and goals, plan for 2015, and reflect on how far FHR has come in the last 3.5 years since beginning in April, 2011.