What the Government Shutdown Means for You (the Runner)

4912_631961861585_263665_nKind of feels like we are having deja vu right? Here we are in another government shut down (the last one was circa 1995/1996 under President Clinton's leadership). Granted in 1995, I didn't completely understand what it meant, but some 18 years later, a government shutdown hits a lot closer to home. We have the political side of the issue (which, I will stay away from), but as a frequent visitor to some of our nation's most beautiful parks, I get it. Now, granted, not being able to run through national parks on these awesome Fall days pales in comparison to some of the bigger issues ahead. But as a runner, I can't help but think of how the government shutdown will prevent thousands of runners from accessing some of their most favorite running sanctuaries, not to mention races that will be hosted in them. The Big Bend Ultra was named “Best Trail Race in a National Park” by Runner’s World magazine in June of 2012.  According to Runner’s World, “There are only a handful of running races held in U.S. national parks and even fewer trail races. This event includes 10-K, 25-K and 50-K distances on the gravel roads that cross the Chihuahuan Desert terrain of 800,000-acre Big Bend National Park, one of the largest, most remote, and least-visited national parks in the lower 48 states. In the 10-K race, participants run within a stone's throw of the U.S.-Mexico border near the banks of the Rio Grande.” In May of 2011, writer Katie Arnold of Runner’s World magazine listed Acadia National Park (Maine), Yosemite National Park (California), Mount Rainier National Park (Washington), Rocky Mountain National Park (Colorado) and Zion National Park (Utah) as five of the best trail runs in America’s national park system. With this year's government shutdown, more than 21,000 national park employees will be furloughed. Thousands more -- like cleanup crews and concession employees -- will be left without pay. There are 59 protected areas known as national parks. operated by the National Park Service. It sucks. Are you bummed that you can't run in your local national park? Share with us as we mourn together!    



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