Farewell, Pace Setter

This is a very sad moment for me. The idea that The Pace Setter would cease publication just a few years ago would have been unimaginable to me. At the June HMRRC general meeting it was apparent that the folks who are currently working on The Pace Setter no longer have the passion or the time to continue the printed version of The Pace Setter.

A few of us suggested that if it were printed every other month, or even as little as four times a year, it would take a lot of stress away from the job of editor. Another suggestion we made was to hire someone part time to take responsibility for the editing. How would that be paid for? Well, if it were printed just 4 to 6 times a year, that would provide a big cost and time savings.

Another point that I raised was how ridiculously low the annual dues are. The dues were raised from $8 to $12 a year in September 1984!!!! This must be the lowest dues in the country, especially considering what HMRRC has to offer. A slight raise to $15 would likely pay for a part-time editor. In fact, raising the dues to $20 would still probably be among the lowest in the US! Unfortunately, the folks responsible for publishing The Pace Setter and leading HMRRC do not seem to be open to these ideas.

I realize I’m an old-timer, and having devoted my free time to editing and writing the pre-Pace Setter multi-page newsletters from 1975 to 1979 (when The Pace Setter was born due to my resigning as newsletter editor), I do have an emotional attachment to the printed newsletter.

The final straw is the amount of time I already sit in front of my computer every day. Much of that time I spend on business-related tasks, writing emails to friends, and other volunteer tasks that I am involved with. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to spend time also reading for pleasure on my computer! OK, I know I can print it out, but how will we show a tangible piece of our existence to new folks at events? Bring some random pages we print out? Send them online? What kind of documentation of a running club are we leaving to future generations?

Many organizations I belong to have given us the option of reading their publications online, to save paper and cut down on waste. I have opted out of many printed newsletters that are of just slight interest to me. But our newsletter is meant to be something to hold and to leaf through at one's leisure, and to refer back to during the month or some time in the future, without needing to turn on the blasted computer again to scroll through a pdf on a screen.

The recent high point for me of reading The Pace Setter is the wonderful job that Christine Bishop is doing with the runner profiles. That was my favorite part of writing when I was editor. As far as I'm concerned, we can do without the nationally syndicated columns. That information could be found in a national running magazine or an online resource. My fellow HMRRC members are who I want to read about.

I feel like my seemingly minority opinion might be futile, given the direction society is going with the elimination of printed materials, but I still hold a glimmer of hope that some new folks with great passion will decide to keep The Pace Setter as an item that we can hold in our hands. Maybe it will come in a few months, or a few years……but at some point, there will be a hunger for printed materials.

Things go in cycles, and we like to destroy items that we consider “obsolete". Think about so many beautiful buildings that have been torn down for decades. People now finally realize the tragedy of this destruction. Think about Penn Station in NY City, one of the most beautiful stations in the world, or even Union Station right here in Schenectady. A new station is being built in that style, now that the present generation realizes the appalling mistake of the past generation. There are hundreds of sad situations like this in the Capital Region and throughout this country.

OK, next generation, are you out there? Will somebody come up with a solution? Or will we toss out a great tradition and spend even more time at the computer?

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