The Fate of FitNews: Just Two Issues Left.
On the Back Page of the Nov/Dec 2016 issue, executive director Dave Watt announced big changes ahead for the American Running Association (and its professional medical arm, AMAA). At that time, details were still being sorted out; now the ARA is prepared to announce that the last regularly published issue of Running & FitNews[R] will be May/June 2017.
While it is at this point conceivable that some version of this publication may emerge in the undetermined future, it is accurate to say that FitNews will not continue as we now know it.
The genesis of this and other major changes in the structure of both the ARA and AMAA was the decision by the Boston Athletic Association in June of last year to alter the rules for charity eligibility in the Boston Marathon, the cornerstone of the ARA/AMAA funding model.
The BAA's new rules for granting charity slots in the marathon require that a charity only be given an allotment of race entries if the group is directly tied to helping the greater Boston area. For the D.C.-based ARA, this requirement will go unmet, and so it effectively eliminates funding for the ARA's core programs such as the Youth Fitness initiative, specifically NATIONAL RUN A MILE DAYS.
Over the past several years, AMAA's race entry allotment had already been shrinking; according to Dave Watt, in 2012 AMAA enjoyed 115 entries, but held just 75 by 2016. Now the allotment has been altogether eliminated, with zero entries granted for would-be symposium goers in 2017.
While the future of the ARA and AMAA is uncertain, the goals of both organizations have not disappeared. While AMAA is presently looking for a home under the International Institute for Race Medicine (formerly ARRMS), some incarnation of the ARA may regrow that can still focus on increasing the physical activity of Americans, raise obesity awareness, and educate and motivate both the sedentary and the already active, from the very young to the very old.
Whether a rebirth is successful won't undo the work that has already been done, and the mission lives on in millions of citizens who have already embraced the fitness message and will continue to share it going forward regardless of the fate of any given not-for-profit. The fitness movement is here to stay, and Running & FitNews has for nearly four decades been proud to have been a part of it.