A Supposedly Tough Thing I’ll Probably Do All Over Again

Yes, we have most definitely relaunched washrun.org, as part of a broader communications effort this year: to share this club’s marvelous history across the past four decades, to enhance our ability to take on new running challenges, and to accelerate the telling of new and exciting stories. Allow me to point out a couple of new features and design choices that will hopefully work toward those ends!

First, let’s talk about the old news. “How old?” you probably muttered out loud. Well, much older than any version of this website you knew of up until today. Older than Facebook and Twitter, combined. Older than the club’s first attempts at any website, when it was approved and funded on December 30th, 1998. And still older than the WRC’s first efforts at circulating a paper newsletter, back on August 9, 1978.

Older than any time WRC was mentioned in the news which goes as far back as October 27, 1975. By old news, I’m talking about stuff that’s older than the internet itself (mid-year 1965). I’m thinking back to WRC’s roots, when WSC was mentioned in the news for beginning to promote distance running and racing on Sunday, April 12, 1964.

In short, there is a lot of news on hand. But for the first time ever, its gathered together in one big, fat, happy, text searchable archive. Sure, there are some gaps, but at least we know where those gaps exist and can gradually work to fill them.

What about those new running challenges? Well, that takes some coordination—making sure WRC members find their club mates, to have everyone be at the right place at the right time. We’ve put most of the perennial materials right up top, in a sleek blue header menu. That menu links to pages describing how WRC operates, how to join the club, who to contact, and things that are of immediate value to current and future members.

This is also a rather special menu, because it does a very clever trick when viewed on narrow screens. As in, that smart phone or that Mac Classic which you might be guilty of using RIGHT NOW.

On small screens, the entire header menu shrinks into a drop-down menu that’s still workable for fat fingers and brick mice alike. The right hand column does a clever trick as well. Basically, this new website and its responsive theme works better on diverse pieces of glass and in scenarios where people are increasingly likely to view it.

And finally, the good stuff: new stories. WRC members and alumni, this is your website! And so I’m inviting you to contribute posts either on behalf of the club or in your own voice, which will help to make washrun.org the everlasting center of online activity for the Washington Running Club. Your stories, race results, photos, videos, audio, and announcements are all welcome here.

To apply as a posting contributor to this website, please contact me at kit@washrun.org.

PS: As of today, February 8th, there are clearly some unfinished bits to the new site. So I welcome all rapid feedback about those items in particular. Together, we’ll do enough laps to finally get wickedly good at this blogging business.

PPS: The title of this post partially refers to the fact that prototyping this website within self-hosted WordPress, and on a shared web server, was a positive learning experience for me. I am neither a professional web designer, a graphic designer, nor an IT administrator. I had only ever used WordPress as a copy editor for my other club, GBTC. I had also contributed as a copy editor when they were using Blogger.

GBTC’s successful and stable example is what I obviously referenced when designing this site’s function and form. If I am guilty of copying, then at least it was of something executed by longtime comrades in running, for whom I have an even deeper amount of respect—especially so after having tried to do it by myself. I would gladly do it again.