(Photos from our Running is Not Cancelled Facebook group. Photo credit, from top left: Eleanor Sykes, Lauren Richardson, Denise Williams, Lauren Richardson, Pragya Agrawal.)
2020 was not the year any of us expected. For our stores and staff, this year saw the cessation of all in-person events in March, a six-week shutdown, the challenge of navigating customer service in a socially distanced world, and the ever-present undercurrent of anxiety as we serve the public during a viral pandemic.
But 2020's challenges also helped us connect to our community in new ways. A national plea for racial justice this year emboldened us to take a long-overdue stance against systemic racism, examine our role in these racist systems, and make a commitment to combat white supremacy in running and beyond. And while we have acutely felt the absence of our running groups and training programs, lamented the cancellation of annual events like the Store 2 Store Run, and missed seeing your triumphant faces at race finish lines, we got to see the tenacity of runners and walkers as you made the best of a stressful situation. It was heartening to see people support and motivate each other from afar through virtual races, social media, and Fleet Feet Academy. We have met so many of you who started running for the first time this year, and you truly inspire us. And we are so thankful that you have continued to support our stores even when shopping is risky. We hope that we helped you feel safe.
If you ran less or not at all this year because simply existing in this relentless time has been exhausting, you inspire us too. You made it, and that's what counts.
Thank you for making it through this year with us. We know flipping a calendar page to a new year won't solve 2020's problems; this year has brought unimaginable loss. The pandemic will rage on until vaccines are widely available and the anxiety will not dissipate on January 1. But we also know that, with our running community, we can face whatever new challenges arise in 2021.