Looking back on 2021
After a year of canceled and virtual races, 2021 saw the running industry bounce back with most live races returning. Sure, there were still cancellations and smaller fields in some cases, but there was more than enough opportunity for all of us to run in person. That is something that we can all be happy about.
There was a lot to be HAPPY about in 2021. Let’s take a look back at some of our favorite moments from the year that was.
The 2021 Happy Half Marathon - after holding a virtual race in 2020, we were so excited to see everyone in person again this past August. We saw so many returning runners and also a lot of new races this year. Despite our excitement about the new course, we still didn’t know what to expect. Fortunately, the Happy Half community turned up! Over 300 runners, 250 volunteers, and tons of spectators made this year’s race so special.
The mini expo and post-race party at Mother Stewart’s - one of the things that we always focus on is our race day experience. In our opinion, this year was one of our best yet. Thanks to our partners at Mother Stewart’s Brewing Company, we were able to host a packet pickup and mini expo that was more efficient, but also more fun. Runners were able to pick up their bibs, see our wonderful expo vendors, and enjoy a pint and some food at the brewery. Immediately following the race, Mother Stewart’s also graciously hosted our runners and volunteers for a post-race party. There was a delicious pancake breakfast for everyone to enjoy and a beer always tastes better after running 13.1!
Donating to the Mercy Health Springfield Cancer Center - the Cancer Center is a partner that we are so fortunate to work with. It is an honor to donate money to them and continue to make a positive impact on healthcare in our community. Our runners, sponsors, and Bow Street Club members made it possible for us to donate our largest amount ever! Our $14,000 donation will benefit those who receive their treatment at the Cancer Center on their road to recovery!
Best of Springfield - the annual Best of Springfield event is one of the most prestigious in the area. The city of Springfield has so much to offer and this event does an excellent job at highlighting the top businesses, restaurants, bars, and events in the area. We were thrilled to be a finalist for Best Local Event. Although we did not come away with the top prize, we had a great time. It was a great reminder that we have such a supportive community that helped get us into the final three. We’re excited to continue to build our event and hopefully be back again next year!
Bringing our new course to life - being from Springfield, the three of us always had a deep appreciation for our city. When we became Race Directors, we hoped to one day make the race a great event for the whole city. We finally took the leap in designing a course that highlighted the city’s history and bright future. Springfield city officials were fantastic to work with and helped us make our dream a reality. They believed in our mission and remained committed to finding a way to yes. We are thankful for the support we received and optimistic about what the future holds for the Happy Half!
Launching our podcast - for years, we’ve always enjoyed the conversations that we have during our Happy Half meetings. Sometimes it is insightful and we have a major breakthrough. Other times it is entertaining and we make each other laugh. Either way, we always have a great time talking to each other. That is part of why we decided to launch our very own podcast. This will give us an opportunity to discuss running, the Happy Half, beer, sports, and anything else that interests us. We have some great guests lined up too that we think you’ll love! We always approach our decisions by asking “will this be fun.” In this case, it was a unanimous yes from all of us. Hopefully, you’ll continue listening as we grow the pod! Check it out here!
2021 had plenty of ups and downs, but there was a lot to look back on and be happy about. It wasn’t perfect. There are always things we wish we could change or do better. Some of those things we can control and some we can’t, but all in all, we think there was much to be proud of. We want to thank each and every one of you who allow us to do something we love.
We hope you had many wins this year too! Are you a new runner who participated in your first race? An experienced runner who finally broke that PR? Whatever you did, we want to hear about all the big and small things that were great for you in 2021!