Our Leaders

Striders Board

Jose Lopez, President Calumet Region Striders

Jose Lopez, President

Email Jose

Elected: February 2015
Term Expires: February 2021

About Jose [read more]

I started running in 1972 when I joined the US Marine Corp, and I was amazed at what I accomplished (3 miles in 18 minutes in basic training).

Since 1972, I have completed over 375 road races, including 10 Chicago Marathons. I joined the Calumet Region Striders around 1982. My children also ran with the Striders.  I stayed as a member until 1990 when I was called to the Gulf War. I did not pick up my running again until I retired from the Post Office and rejoined the Calumet Striders.

Since rejoining the Calumet Region Striders, I have enlisted about 17 family members to be part of this great organization and have 4 of my grandchildren running the Gold Cup. In 2009, I accomplished the Jim Cox Award and Long Distance Award. In 2010, I missed just two of the 29 races due to a heart stent that slowed me down.[/read]


Barb Hamner, Vice President, Calumet Region Striders

Barb Hamner, Vice President

Email Barb

Elected: February 2019
Term Expires: February 2021

About Barb’s Role [read more]

The primary responsibilities of the position of Vice President include:

  1. In the absence of the President or in the event of her/his inability or refusal to act, the Vice President shall perform the duties of the President, and when so acting, shall have all the powers of and be subject to all the restrictions upon the President.
  2. The Vice President shall perform such other duties as from time to time may be assigned to her/him, and shall be an ex officio member of all committees.[/read]


Lisa Beecher, Secretary, Calumet Region StridersLisa Beecher, Secretary

Elected: February 2016
Term Expires: February 2020

Email Lisa

About Lisa [read more]

I grew up in Hammond, and I am the youngest of six children. I’ve worked at Teamsters Local 142 since 2006.

I started running in 2012, when my trainer, who also happened to be the Hammond Charity Run race director, invited me to run his race. In 2014, I started participating in triathlons because 1 sport wasn’t enough.

In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, walking and running my dog Duke, cooking, and making greeting cards.[/read]


Dan Koch, Calument Region Striders TreasurerDan Koch, Treasurer

Email Dan

Elected: August 2015
Term Expires: February 2020

About Dan [read more]


  • Born/Raised – Robertsdale (Hammond/Whiting).
  • Current Town – Dyer


  • George Rogers Clark – 1992 (Salutatorian)
  • Indiana University – 1996 (BA Geography)


  • Letter Carrier for the US Postal Service (since May 1999)
  • Member of the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC)
  • Union Steward for Dyer/Schererville (September 2010 to July 2017)
  • 2014 Recipient of the Fred Herman Steward Award (ISALC)
  • NALC Branch 580 Treasurer (January 2012 to September 2017)
  • Former Branch 580 Food Drive Coordinator (Dyer/Schererville)


  • Became a Strider in October 2015
  • 1st Overall Finisher – Día de los Muertos (October 30, 2016)
  • 2017 Chicago Marathon Finisher – Raised $6,810 for the GHCS Food Pantry


  • Summer Internship with WGN’s Tom Skilling (1995)
  • Favorite Movie – Hoosiers
  • Favorite Quote – “Don’t Give Up, Don’t Ever Give Up” – Jim Valvano
  • Nuun Ambassador (2017 – Current)[/read]

Committee Chairs

Marialena NagelMarialena Nagel
Nominations, Bylaws, and Stevens-Hamilton Disabled Runner Fund

Email Marialena

Elected: February 2018
Term Expires: February 2020

About Marialena [read more]

I consider myself to be a Lifetime Strider as I’ve run since the age of 6. Throughout my 30 plus years of running, I have participated in AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) and TAC (The Athletic Congress) Meets as a Member of the Trail Blazers Track Club in the 80’s, Cross Country and Track all throughout grade school for River Forest School District (K-12), and of course the Calumet Region Striders Gold Cup Series when the youngest age group was 14 & Under back in the early 90’s.


  • 5K- 22:44 (2017 Hometown Happenings Public Enemy)
  • 5 Mile- 38:43 (2017 Brickyard Run)
  • 10K- 48:12 (2018 Highland Pumpkin Plod)
  • 13.1- 1:46:37 (2018 Purdue Boilermaker Half Marathon)
  • 26.2- 3:53:03 (2019 Chevron Houston Marathon)

Most Memorable Calumet Region Strider Accomplishments:

  • 2001 Jim Cox Memorial Scholarship Fund Recipient
  • 2016 and 2017 Jim Cox Gold Cup Series Award Winner
  • 2016, 2017, and 2018 Female Overall Gold Cup Series Award Winner

Jim Cox Fun Facts:

  • I am one of two individuals to receive both Jim Cox Awards (Scholarship and Race Series). My cousin, Karen Nagel is the other recipient (1997 and 2008).
  • Only two females have completed the Jim Cox Gold Cup Series more than once and in back-to-back years; myself and former President and Life Member, Michele Hale (2006 and 2007).
  • My mother, former Treasurer, current Instep Editor, and Life Member, Cecilia Bernal is a Jim Cox Gold Cup Series Award Winner (2002).
  • My aunt, Susan Sendejas is a Jim Cox Gold Cup Series Award Winner (2014).
  • I have a Strider tattoo and believe I am the only female with permanent Strider wear.

Calumet Region Strider Goals:

  • To place in the Elite Series
  • To become the first female in Strider history to receive the Jim Cox Gold Cup Series Award three times
  • To become a Life Member

Running Mantra:

“Run often. Run long. But never outrun your joy of running.” ~Julie Isphording[/read]


Amy Maciejewski, Committee Chair
Membership and Volunteers

Email Amy

Elected: February 2018
Term Expires: February 2020

About Amy’s Role [read more]

The Membership and Volunteers Committee Chair is responsible to:

  1. Evaluate and coordinate membership campaigns, benefits, and qualifications;
  2. Conduct membership retention activities;
  3. Prepare and coordinate annual membership renewal;
  4. Recruit volunteers for CRS events and operations;
  5. Recruit committee members for all committees; and
  6. Oversee volunteer recognition. [/read]


Ed Caccavale, Gold Cup Chair, Calumet Region StridersEd Caccavale, Gold Cup and Sponsored Race Series
Crown Point

Email Ed

Elected: February 2019
Term Expires: February 2021

About Ed’s Role [read more]

The Gold Cup and Sponsored Race Series Committee Chair is responsible to:

  1. Establish the annual Gold Cup Series Schedule and the Gold Cup selection process;
  2. Select and monitor races as Sponsored Event(s) based on established criteria;
  3. Maintain communications with race directors;
  4. Prepare evaluations and surveys of events, and
  5. Coordinate and preside over annual race directors meeting(s).[/read]

Erin Higy, Public Relations

Email Erin

Elected: February 2019
Term Expires: February 2021

About Erin’s Role [read more]

The Public Relations Committee Chair is responsible to:

  1. Act as liaison between the Board of Directors, the media and its club members;
  2. Maintain the club’s Facebook account;
  3. Be responsible for reaching out to its club members with information via a social media outlet or by mass email;
  4. Report to the local newspapers or other media outlet about strider-related news and/or events.[/read]

Beth Fulmer-Boyer, Calumet Region Striders, Youth RunningBeth Fulmer-Boyer
Youth Running Programs

Email Beth

Elected: February 2015
Term Expires: February 2019

About Beth [read more]

My family has been involved with the Junior Strider’s program for the past four years and currently all four of my children, ages 6 – 13, actively participate. Two years ago I became one of the coaches by helping at practices, planning and coaching at away meets, and helping set up events at Nationals. I, as well as my older children, have volunteered with the Striders at several events.

Being involved with Striders, and particularly with the Junior Strider program, has had a positive impact on my family and got us all involved with running. This year we are all participating in the Gold Cup Series. I ran track through-out middle school and high school and have recently attended some running /coaching training as well as becoming CPR certified.

I have a Food Science degree from Purdue University and an MBA from Indiana University. I have worked in the Food Industry in various sales, business development and leadership roles for the past 20 years and currently work for International Flavors and Fragrances as a Senior Account Manager. My job experience has kept me well organized and resulted in my doing both short and long term planning on a daily basis.

Adult Running Programs
Elected: September 2017
Term Expired: February 2019

Responsibilities [read more]

The Adult Running Programs Committee Chair is responsible to:

  1. Oversee and periodically attend all Strider related weekly group runs. This person should have a good understanding of location, distance and paces.
  2. Promote our group runs and running related social activities to help the members of the club reach their personal fitness goals in a fun and social setting.
  3. Maintain communication with all group run leaders and members of the club who are interested in running or training and to be available to answer any questions about these runs to our members and interested runners. [/read]

Social and Sponsorship
Elected: February 2018
Term Expired: February 2020

Responsibilities [read more]

The Social and Sponsorship Committee Chair is responsible to:

  1. Promote and manage social events
  2. Seek sponsorship from local businesses and organizations [/read]


Kimberley Burns
100 Mile Club Coordinator

Email Kimberley

Appointed: February 2019

Cecilia Bernal

Email Cecilia

Appointed: January 2014

About Cecilia [read more]
Running has been an important part of my life for over 20 years. I was secretary of the Trail Blazers Track Club in the ’80s when my daughters were members. Our involvement with the Trail Blazers took us to many road races and AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) and TAC (The Athletic Congress) meets locally and throughout the country. I planned two vacations every year ensuring they coincided with the AAU Track & Field and Cross Country Nationals. Watching my daughters run gave me the desire to join in the fun.

I ran my first 5K at Chesterton’s Festival of the Dunes in 1989. The following year I joined the Striders and participated in my first Gold Cup Series. My association with the Striders led me to volunteer to prepare mailing labels for the club when Shirle Kowalisyn was looking for someone to take care of that. When Sue Brown became our President, she requested assistance after Shirle resigned. I offered to help. I have been a Calumet Region Strider since 1990 and have served on the Board as Treasurer from 2002 to 2014.

Running, along with my membership in the Striders, is very fulfilling and has proven to be life changing. It is something I share with my family and it presents the opportunity to volunteer within the running community. You will usually see me at the Gold Cup races with my daughters, Milagro, Marialena, and Rebeca Dominguez. Last, but not least I met my husband, Jesse Bernal, while attending the AAU Nationals in Florida.

It is wonderful to know so many people who share the love for our sport. Though I am not a top runner, I enjoy running and know the satisfaction a road race has to offer. I can proudly say I ran the Chicago Marathon and that same year ran all the races in the Gold Cup Series to become one of the Jim Cox Award recipients.

Thank you to the Board and club members for the trust and confidence they express as I serve the Calumet Region Striders in the capacity of INSTEP Coordinator. I am grateful to be one of the recipients of the 2007 RRCA National Volunteer Award and appreciate the nomination by our Board. I will display it proudly! [/read]

Mike Wilson
Webmaster & Statistician
Oracle, AZ

Email Mike

Appointed: August 2003

About Mike [read more]

My focus for the past couple of years has been to make our web pages more “smart phone friendly”. I have tried a couple of different approaches with more success on the second try. I have purchased an iPhone 5s to see how the pages look on Apple technology and I have my wife’s old Samsung S-III for checking Android pages. I also have an old Windows Nokia Lumia 822 phone but unfortunately, it cannot be updated to the Windows Phone 10.

I have added features to my mikesroadrunning.com website for my friends in the Southern Arizona Roadrunners (SAR). The Grand Prix Standings page is still “unofficial” but is getting more references from the SAR board.

I have added a feature to show Arizona State USATF Road Racing records for SAR members, past and present, since one of my running friends sets a records nearly every time he runs on a certified course. (Note that Rick Fenno used to reside down here and some of his records are still standing.)

The winters are terrific in southern Arizona and the summers are tolerable (kind of the reverse of Northwest Indiana). We completed our move to Oracle Arizona (an active adult community called SaddleBrooke Ranch) in January 2014. I’ll never forget the week we moved since there were extreme low temperatures and lots of snow. I actually had to help clear the snow off the streets so the moving van could back up the street from 50 West to get in front of out house.

I have been helping our local Men’s Golf Club with a few things on their website and I have volunteered to help with the Southern Arizona Roadrunners (SAR) website but so far they have shown little interest in my help. That hasn’t stopped me from creating my own web site (mikesroadrunning.com and Grand Prix Standings) to demonstrate my capabilities. The Grand Prix Standings page is “unofficial” and mine are updated within a day of the race rather than 2-12 weeks later (we don’t have any club races in the June-August time frame).

I’m also in the process of creating a website for my wife’s gardening interests. She has started an activity called The Gardeners Exchange which brings together local community members who are interested in understanding how to grow things out here in the Sonoran Desert. She has become an Arizona Master Gardener (previously an Indiana Master Gardener) and has many contacts in the horticultural community here in Pinal County as well as Pima County.

One of my neighbors has created a lot of websites for the interests in our local community and he has asked me to become his backup for those sites. He is very much current on the various aspects of creating web pages for mobile devices which will provide me with new challenges and opportunities to learn which I can then start applying to the various websites I’m involved with.

One of the joys of being the webmaster is to be constantly looking for ways to improve our website.

Over the winter, I decided to change a lot of the graphics to give the site a different look. I also made changes to each of the groups of information on the home page in order to compact it and to hopefully clarify each grouping so that you can more readily find what you’re looking for. I was also looking for a way to display how frequently the various web pages are accessed. I found that I had to use a new page type (.php instead of .htm for those who speak web page languages) in order to maintain the count for each page. So I had to learn more about the PHP language. Now you can see at the bottom of each page how many times the page was accessed each month. Our home page is approaching 10,000 views per month.

At the suggestion of Ryan Kwiecinski, I have changed the index pages to “Gold Cup Race Results” and “Other Race Results” to group results by month rather than have a single LONG page with the many links to individual race results pages. Also, since we have more Gold Cup competitions in 2011, I changed the race results pages to better display the points for the four competitions. In order to be able to use the full page width, I re-designed how the Sponsor information is displayed. The various race or event schedules now include a link to a map of the race/event location. If a race is on a certified course, the certification number is also displayed.

The “New Members” page now also identifies returning members (those that have been absent for a year or more). The “Boston Qualifiers” page has been updated to reflect the changes in Boston qualifying times for 2012 and 2013 and beyond. I also periodically verify that the pages are in conformance to the latest international web page standards (W3C) and updated the 2011 pages to xhtml 1.1.

I have been doing everything on our website for nearly eight years now and have decided it’s time to retire. My wife and I have our home up for sale and we will be moving to the Tucson, Arizona area when the sale is completed. I have given the Board this information and plan to officially end my roles as webmaster and as statistician at the end of June, 2011. So if you want to get involved with the website, please contact President Michele Hale. I will be available to provide training and transition support as needed.

The online ability to sell memberships purchased via credit cards was finally been completed in time for the 2010 Membership Year. Over 300 memberships were purchased in 2010.

My software is used to support three different running clubs. I have created ways to generate the pages and graphics unique to each club by implementing a “Club Data” Excel spreadsheet to specify many of the parameters unique to each club. I continue to refine this each month to ensure consistency among pages and flexibility with each club website.

I passed a big milestone in my running career in August when I completed my 500th race. More than 300 of those have been as a Strider since January 2003.

I continue to make changes (improvements?) to the web site. All race results posted this year will include an age graded time based on the work of Howard Grubb. I hope we can eventually add an age graded competition to the Gold Cup Series just like we did for our Overall competition in 2008. I am in the process of re-writing all my software so that it can support multiple clubs. Ron Lynn has volunteered to begin assisting me so one of the challenges will be to segment the various information types such that they can be integrated on the web site with a single version of the home page.

I invested a lot of time last year (over 200 hours) developing an online ability to sell memberships purchased via credit cards. We ran into a couple of hurdles that had to do with PayPal and other credit card processors requiring personal social security numbers in order to process monthly deposits over $500. So far, we haven’t gotten past this.

This winter, it has been especially tough to keep up the training. There seem to be fewer cold weather races in our area so I’ve gone to Illinois for three of my first four races. I’m planning to run a half marathon in Arizona in the spring and after returning from a few weeks vacation, it will be getting back to the training routine. Hopefully, I won’t have “enjoyed” the warm weather too much!

I was honored by the Calumet Region Striders at the Gold Cup banquet with the “2007 RRCA National Volunteer Award” for my contributions to the club as webmaster over the past 4-5 years. (That standing ovation is something I will never forget and will always cherish!) I truly enjoy making our web site an accurate and timely source of information for our members.

However, I will be looking to train one or more replacements for this vital role as I look to step down (or at least back) from this position. If you are interested in participating in this training, please let me know (see e-mail address below). I will plan to conduct a series of in-depth training classes to show what goes on behind the scenes as well as to help plan the course of future additions to the web site and the technology that makes it happen.

We have already added a new competition for this year called “The 2008 Overall Gold Cup Championship”. This required creating new web pages and adapting the Gold Cup scoring programs to a non-age group basis. This was completed shortly after the first Gold Cup race in January.

And now – back to my other passion – Running! Why not do some different things this year?

Where have I heard that before (see 2006, 2007 below!)?

This year I’m going to climb a lot of steps in a short time (over 5300 total in 3 events in 29 days).

Date Event Steps Floors Time
1/27/08 Step Up For Kids
Aon Building
Chicago IL
1643 80 16:48
2/10/08 Tackle The Tower
Oakbrook Terrace Tower
Oakbrook Terrace IL
680(x3) 31(x3) 5:53
2/24/08 Hustle Up The Hancock
John Hancock Building
Chicago IL
1632 94 17:08.2

And, I’m going to run with my daughter as she tackles her first marathon May 24. [We ran the Bayshore Marathon in Traverse City Michigan and it turns out she was better prepared than I. She beat me by about 6 minutes!]

I’m anxious to get my training runs in to see if I can get back to the speed I had before last year’s injury (see 2007 below). But only time will tell if that is now completely in the past. I still haven’t gone to see any doctors. I think my injury cost over $11,500 in medical fees (before insurance) and I still don’t know what was the cause of the injury or the cure. Only time will tell!

In early April, I completed my 30th year of running. I completed my 428th race in December.

I had an outstanding stretch of competition from late May through August. I competed in 15 events and won my age group each time! The last one did me in though as I injured my foot in an off-road race and even after six month, it occasionally bothers me.

I will continue to look for new racing opportunities to continue running as long as my body will hold up. See you at the races!

Why not do some different things this year?

Where have I heard that before (see 2006 below!)? I thought this would be the year to try my first ultra – The Lakefront 50K at the end of March.

I didn’t get my training started when I should have so I decided to do a gradual(!) build of my training miles to over 50 miles a week in about 12 weeks.

Everything seemed to be going great. I had a couple of very good races in March (including a 4th place age group finish at the Shamrock Shuffle).

The Tuesday after the Shamrock Shuffle and exactly one week after a 28 mile training run, I took one step into a short training run and was in mortal pain. Something didn’t want to stretch! Like an idiot, I assumed it would stretch out as I warmed up. I continued the run for 10 miles.

The following Thursday I did about 8 miles but with a lot of discomfort. I couldn’t let myself even think about the injury. The 50K was in 2 days!

I went to the Lakefront 50K thinking I could tough it out and at least finish. But, that was not going to happen. As I completed the first of the 3 loops, I couldn’t even start running again after taking a short break. I was heart broken. I got in the car a drove home.

I decided to take it easy for awhile but even that didn’t seem to make the pain go away. The strange thing was – it only hurt while running! I could walk with no pain – in fact I did a 9 mile walk with no difficulty.

I finally went to see my doctor and he checked me for a hernia. He sent me to a surgeon for more checks. The surgeon did not think I had a hernia.

So, I went of a “sport medicine specialist” at a local clinic. After an MRI which showed nothing, I continued to try to run and actually ran the Spring Fling at the end of April. I wasn’t able to run again for 4 days so I went back to the specialist. He said to stop running and get some physical therapy. Ouch!! That really hurt! In 30 years of running, I had never had an injury that caused me to completely stop running.

The month of PT actually did help! (Or was it the month of not running?) In any case, the strain in the upper right leg seemed to be getting better. So, I ran a race in early June. I had a great time if the course was really a 5K. But…. it was another 3-4 days before I could run again.

As the pain in the right leg dissipated, it became more obvious that there was another problem. The groin area was in some amount of pain almost continually while running but at no other time. I finally went back to the surgeon again in August. He still found no hernia indication but did order a full bone scan of my body to make sure there was no stress fracture that we couldn’t see through other techniques. I was also concerned that somehow cancer might have entered my body again (prostate cancer January 2000). I also had a lingering suspicion that the scar tissue from the prostate surgery might be the source of the pain.

Well, the bone scan showed nothing. So I decided to continue my training program to get ready for the Chicago Marathon on October 10. I also decided to not see another doctor until after the marathon. In any case, I seemed to be slowly getting better although my racing pace was still a long way from where I would have liked to be.

As luck would have it, October 10 was a very hot day. I had hoped to run a Boston Qualifier (4:15:59) that day but I didn’t really know what to expect – both due to the weather and how much pain I could endure. And, as luck would have it, I felt absolutely no pain as I started to run. I felt that if I could make halfway in 2 hours, I would have a good chance to meet my time goal.

Did I mention it was hot? It turned out to be the hottest Chicago Marathon ever – over 85° and high humidity. I carry a bottle with me while running marathons and I made up my mind early that I was going to fill the bottle at every aide station and make sure I consumed the liquid before the next aide station. I didn’t make two hours for the first half so I decided to make sure I could finish. I continued my fluid strategy and at no time was I unable get the fluid I wanted at each aide station. I think I heard about the closing of the course when I was around 20 miles. But I kept going. I wanted (I needed!) to finish in under 5 hours.

There were so many people walking after about half way that it was impossible to maintain any target pace. I made sure I walked through the aide stations and then continued my jog to the finish line. I finished in 4:53:07. I have to say that I actually felt better after this one than I did in 2005. Like I said, “As Luck Would Have It!”. And it was my slowest marathon by almost an hour! (Also speaking of luck, a photo of me in the 1983 Chicago Marathon was included in the 30th Anniversary Poster of the Chicago Marathon!)

As I was winding down my training for the year and taking a rest after Chicago, I was continuing to feel improvement. By late November, I was running with no pain. In late December, I recall going for a nice crisp run and feeling how great it was to be out there – running!

Why not do some different things this year? Can I get out of my running “rut”?

The answer is an emphatic YES! It’s January 30, 2006 and yesterday I did my first stair climb. I took the big “step” and climbed the (former) Amoco Building – now the Aon Building as part of the Step Up For Kids event.

On the Friday night before the MidWinter Cruise 5K, I checked the Step Up For Kids web site and found that I could still enter. I was immediately “inspired” to see if I could do it so I signed up.

I have to say that I haven’t felt that kind of “high” from an athletic event in a long time. After looking at last year’s results, I thought I might be able to complete the 1643 steps (80 floors) in about 25 minutes (3 stories per minute or 60 steps per minute) based on a little training on a Stairmaster and a stepper. It may have been the fact that I had worked in the building for 18 years, but I felt inspired.

I finished in 18:18 and I felt great at the finish. I can hardly wait to do another one. As soon as I got home, I signed up for the Hustle Up The Hancock waiting list. There’s probably not much chance of making it. Now I’m looking for the opening of registration for the Go Vertical Sears Tower Climb.

2006 promises to be an interesting year!

Pinch Me! I can’t really believe it’s happened. I started this year with a goal of vigorously competing on the CARA Circuit with, I hoped, an outside chance to make it to the top three and thus qualify for an award. Along the way, I hoped I would actually be able to get an award at one of the circuit races. Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would come at the Chicago Distance Classic Half Marathon. With a target registration of 10,000, I felt I had a better chance in one of the smaller races (say 600-800). I have to admit that I have really been on cloud nine for a couple of days – I’ve been telling all my friends and family. And, at least momentarily, I will be in first place in the CARA Circuit Standings Male 65-69 going into the Park Forest Scenic 10.

The Chicago Distance Classic has a special place in my race history – it’s the first race I ever ran back in 1978 when it was a 20K. I learned a lot that day (went out way too fast! I did manage to finish in about 91 minutes). Since I had met John Bingham (The Penquin), the race director, a couple of years ago, I searched him out and he was gracious enough to sign my third place award. I’ll have a special place for this award in my trophy display case.

This year has seen the web site undergo major revisions a couple of times.

All pages are generated (via Visual Basic and JavaScript routines) based on information stored in Excel spreadsheets. Over the year, I have moved more of the data to spreadsheets to enable more flexibility in changing the appearance of the many web pages. I have tried to simplify the directory structure to be based on information type and then by year. This will eventually make the archiving of information by year more efficient. All of the Visual Basic routines I have written to produce the various web pages have been revised to reflect this directory structure. As the links to the older years are phased out, the programming will begin to simplify.

Late in the year (during my 4 weeks of rest and recovery from a long, hard and fun year of running), I decided to convert all of the new web pages to xhtml, and to validate each page with the W3C (an international web language standards organization) validation software. This was completed just before Christmas.

A major addition this year was the various calendar features. The central calendar on the home page highlights the events of the current month while the Event Calendar (under Events on the home page) provides a two year calendar of all scheduled club events (Gold Cup Races, Sponsored Races and various meetings or other events). The generation of the Sponsor column on all pages is now dynamically generated via JavaScript and hence will be current throughout the year with all sponsors.

I also added a page of links to Other Race Calendars – I’m always looking for a new race or a race to fill an idle weekend. Also new under Member Info is a page called “Incredible Feat!”. I’m always amazed at the incredible things our members do so I added this page to tell a few of these stories.

New this year are “Junior Striders” and “Beginner Runner Programs” under Events. Sue Brown, Misty Chandos and Sommer Watts have been instrumental in bringing many new members (including many under age 19) into our growing running club.

I truly enjoy designing and maintaining our website. I probably average 10-15 hours a week either updating infomation and changing something to see if I can add some value to the web site. I processed results from over 285 races this year to display the accomplishments of our members. In 2002, only two “Other Races” were displayed – in 2005, 261 were displayed (plus the Gold Cup Races).

I also had a tremendous year running in 2005. I competed in 64 races (I’m 64 years old), I ran all the Gold Cup races (second year in a row for a Jim Cox award) and I passed the 300 race mark in career races. I finished in the award level for 47 of the 64 races. More than 35% of these race were run for the first time. I also placed 3rd in the 60-64 Gold Cup standings.

I also competed in the Chicago Area Runners Association (CARA) circuit and placed 6th in the 60-64 age group. Next year, I will be in the 65-69 age group and hope to win my first CARA circuit award. I again qualified for the 2005 CARA Participation and the CARA Long Distance awards.

In addition to attending 10 of the 12 board meetings in 2005, I was also a member of the Gold Cup Committee.

2004 was been a fabulous year of running for me. I set a number of goals for this year and by the end of the year, I will have accomplished all but one. In the course of this running, I have met a lot of new friends. I truly feel privileged to be able to say I am a Strider. And, two of my adult children started running this year so I now have even more encouragement to run.

2004 Goals:

  • Run a marathon – I decided to try running a late spring marathon in order to decide if I could survive the Chicago Marathon. I was able to complete both with Boston qualifing times in each – a first in my 27th year of running.
  • Complete all Gold Cup races – I received my Jim Cox award after the Fall Frolic with the six other members of the Magnificent Seven.
  • Run at least two races in every calendar month – The Sleighbell is done – I made it. In the course of doing this, I have run 47 races. Now, that’s not even close to Jerry Ezell but for somebody who ran no races in 2000 as I recovered from prostate cancer, I have come a long way.
  • Repeat as First Place in 60-64 Gold Cup standings – I didn’t make this one because this young whipper snapper named Jack Potter (he is all of 11 weeks younger than me) joined CRS and the Gold Cup competition and you know what? He is a lot faster than me. I only managed to beat him in our first head-to-head race. I was able to achieve 1000 points but only because Jack was injured for a couple of races. (Do you think falling off the roof is a legitimate reason for not running?)
  • Qualify for CARA Awards – I have been a Chicago Area Runners Association member for many years but this is the first year I actually tried to qualify. I was successful in qualifying for a CARA Participation Award (104K in Cara races) and the CARA Long Distance Award (5 races in the Long Distance Series including a marathon or longer).

This year has seen major changes to our web site. My intent is to make our information useful, timely and interesting so that the web site is a resource for our members. In addition to keeping the Gold Cup Results and Standings current, I have scanned the results of over 150 Other Races to display the accomplishments of our members outside the Gold Cup series.

I have also added more than 35 photo galleries of our members enjoying being runners. The daily birthday update gives us all a chance to send a greeting to our fellow runners on their special day. The Member PR page and the Boston Qualifiers page provide additional information on member accomplishments.

The newly revised Home Page provides improved focus for club activities (highlighted notes in each area as well as notes of general interest) and club members/activities in the slide show.

This was my first year as a Strider. I happened to be sitting behind President Sue Brown at the Flurry Scurry in January and overheard her talking about the Gold Cup Series. She said the first race would be the Mid-Winter Cruise in Park Forest, IL in a couple of weeks. I had run that event many years before and thought it would be interesting to do it again.

It didn’t take long for me to become “hooked” on being a Strider. I started meeting some very interesting and engaging people.

About mid-year, I volunteered to help Diane Arias with the web site. I began working with Pete Klaeser, Strider statistician, to see what I could do to automate the production of the Gold Cup race results and also the Gold Cup Standings pages. Late in the summer, Diane announced that she was expecting twins so I quickly learned as much as I could about the whole Strider web site in anticipation of doing a lot more.

I was able to complete 22 of the 26 Gold Cup races and actually won the 60-64 Male Age Group. I also volunteered at the Chicago Marathon aid station and that inspired me to prepare for a couple of marathons in 2004. And, I set my sights on becoming a Jim Cox award winner. [/read]

Debbie Rodriguez
Auction Coordinator

Email Debbie

Appointed: January 2019

Past Presidents

Robin Benson, Calumet Region Striders, Past President, 2014-2015
Robin Benson 2014-2015

About Robin [read more]

Greetings from the back of the pack. Where perserverance and determination are the main components of just getting to the finish line and hopefully getting a PR. Where usually there is no shiny hardware items waiting for you other than the satisfaction that you did something good for yourself and sometimes for others depending on the race charities. This running club allows all types of fitness levels and we all benefit from the journey each race gives us. That is why, I am so honored, as a walker that occasionally jogs, that I am accepted by such a strong running community. I look forward to each race and seeing the familiar faces and being part of the Striders. It takes a lot of courage, to be a plus size woman who finishes last, to keep coming back race after race and year after year. I truly cannot express my gratitude to all of you who support me and make me feel like I belong among you runners.

I was a runner in high school lettering three times each in both Track and Cross Country at Merrillville HS 1982-1985. I, believe it or not, was the second best runner for our Cross Country team. My Senior year I was sidelined frequently by injuries and did not pursue running after high school. When I returned to the area after college (Ball State University 1985-1989), I became a CPR instructor for the Red Cross. They sent me a race application for the Run Walk for Life sponsored by the Red Cross at Wicker Park. So, I decided I would do it. It was there I met the infamous Shirley Kowalisyn at the Gold Cup Table. I have been doing races ever since.

Being part of the running club has given me confidence that I can do the distance. So, I joined Team in Training and did my first 26.2 mile marathon in Alaska. It was so very hard, but I did it and the feeling of empowerment upon finishing was so awesome that I have done 2 more marathons in Hawaii and Washington D.C. But I really have found my niche in the Half Marathon, which is only half the distance but twice the fun! In 2005 I did 10 half marathons in 7 different states. As a person who normally does not get a prize at the finish line, it is so wonderful to earn a medal at the end of a longer distance.

My friends and family are so amazed that I actually do the local 5ks in addition to the both full & half marathons. They know how much the Striders are part of my life style and how I love and enjoy it so much. That back in 2001 several of them nominated me to be a 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Torchbearer. Out of the 210,000 nominations received by the US Olympic Committee, only 11,000 torchbearers where chosen in 46 states. I was selected and given the awesome honor to carry the Olympic Flame in the torch relay. I trained to run my distance, I wanted to be able to say I ran the torch, not walked the torch. It was the greatest day of my life! It is such a joy to know that the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me was because of running. On that day I ran with such honor and every wonderful emotion I could possibly experience. Since I was given this wonderful honor, I felt the need to share it with as many as I could. So after I ran the torch, I took the opportunity to inspire children by going to many grade schools in my uniform with my torch and spoke to the children about running.

I am very honored to serve on the Board of the Striders since 2003. 2003-2007 As the Gold Cup Banquet Chair, I enjoyed heading the committee and took pride in helping to select the series award, because like almost half of the Striders in the GC series this might be the only piece of hardware received for the whole year. 2005-2006 as Lake County Member at Large and 2007-2012 as Vice President. As Vice President I have enjoyed working closely with Michele and all the committees. I am really inspired by our growing club. It has been fun meeting new people and making many new friends. I am still learning names and faces. It helps so much when everyone is wearing their Stiderwear. As a back of the packer, I get the opportunity to see all of the front packers pass me on a out-and-back course. I will gladly cheer you on as you lap me and thank you to all that return the encouragement. Hey, on those hot days, please save me a water, they are usually all gone by the time I get there. Keep running or walking and have fun! [/read]

Frank Johnson

Michele Hale, Calumet Region Striders Past President
Michele Hale 2007-2012

About Michele [read more]

As I head into my 3rd Consecutive term as Club President,I plan on Heading up a WW walk it event, Reach Membership goal of 1,000 members.To promote Growth of CRS, And to INSPIRE DAILY The Calumet Region Striders.
This year we just missed the goal of 1,000 Members we did have over 900, Hopefully this goal will be reached next year.We were one of 20 locations selected to Host a Weight Watcher Walk it Day. With Participation over 500 the Striders had the Biggest turn out of all.This was a Great way for Striders to meet with many first time 5K participants .I was VERY Proud to Reach my Fundraising goal of $50,000 over the past ten years running on Opportunity Enterprises Marathon Team,I was also Honored to be selected as one of ten that would become part of the Official campaign for The Chicago Marathon,It was an Awesome experience that I will cherish forever. Also new in 2010 the Chicago Marathon begin a New Award called The Pat Rhodes Outstanding Volunteer of the Year Award, I was Very Honored to be there during the ceremony that it was given to the first years recipient Pat Onines.
As President this year my goal is to stay involved with:

  • The needs of our Members
  • Promotion and growth of our club
  • I would like to see membership grow to 1,000 during my 2nd term
  • Race evaluations so we can process the feedback from everyone
  • Our Social Events
  • Putting together RRCA Coaching Certification classes and
  • Sponsorship from various vendors

I’m currently working with Fuel Belt Sponsorship programs for our club and Saucony for apparel.

My first term as President was amazing. With the help of the Board, it made my job run a lot smoother. My husband also became more involved by becoming the Aide Station Captain at the Chicago Marathon. Just when I thought I knew everything about what went into running, through him I have learned much more. I look forward to serving the Calumet Region Striders as President again this year as I truly have a passion for running and I am a true believer in what the Calumet Region Striders stand for.
I thought I knew everything about the needs of a runner from head to toe, then I took a position at Dick’s Sporting Good’s Store as The Running Specialist. After many hours of training and testing it is always a pleasure to share everything I have taken in not only with The Striders but many new runners, some who have become Striders.
I was Vice President of the Calumet Region Striders. I felt honored at first then overwhelmed. Our club is run like a business. It takes a lot of work – volunteer work. It’s the dedication of the entire board that makes our club what it is.
This was an amazing year for me as I ran 4 full marathons in 6 months – 2 of which were only 5 days apart (Boston was one of them). Running that marathon gave me a feeling as no other one has. When I qualified for it in 2003 at Chicago, the rush it gave me still has not gone away. I also had the chance to run in Orlando, Nashville, Vegas, Indy, Cincinnati, South Carolina and twice in New York.
I have run the Chicago Marathon the past 8 years with Opportunity Enterprises. They are a not-for-profit organization that helps out mentally and physically challenged individuals in Lake and Porter counties Indiana. I head up the Lake County Marathon team training program. Helping out others less fortunate than yourself is another one of those feelings that is so awesome. Words can’t describe it. I am a certified running coach with the RRCA. I also have coaching certification through ASEP.

I run

  • to keep my weight under control
  • to keep my stress level down
  • with my sister and friends
  • because I have a passion for it
  • because it makes my internal Happy switches go on

Stride On! [/read]

Cassandra Rozycki, Calumet Region Striders, 2005-2006
Cassandra Rozycki 2005-2006

About Cassandra [read more]

Running and being an athlete becomes a lifestyle. We all have a common thread that can help foster friendships and comrades who will encourage us. Sometimes it is a request to hit the roads for a causal training run, other times to partake in the friendly competitive nature at an event. Some Strider households have even made our races family events. It is in these activities that we progress toward bettering ourselves physically and mentally.

On the snowy Christmas Eve of 1996 I caught the running bug. I bundled up and struggled to complete one mile. Each day I would add a little distance to my run; one block here, a cul-de-sac there. My first race was the 1997 Flurry Scurry 5k. Years later, I continue to participate in running races, triathlons, and adventure races. The Striders has assisted in providing camaraderie and resources to improve my skills and keep me running.

Over the years I have found a second family within the organization; friendships that are irreplaceable and unmatched. I have competed in the Gold Cup Series almost every year since 1997. As the group grows in members, I am amazed by the talent within the organization. In particular, the runners at the far end of the age groups. Our Junior Striders show incredible potential and dedication. With the guidance and support of parents, coaches, fellow Striders, and spectators, they continue to cross finish lines and reap the rewards. Many members have also proven that age does not limit accomplishments or successes. After all, they are the founders of our club. I only hope that I am out there racing and competing in the 70%2B age division.

In 1995 I was a spectator at a marathon and never imagined myself competing in one. Now I have numerous finisher medallions to marathons and half-marathons from across the country. As well, I am also an Ironman. None of this would have been accomplished without the support of my family, friends, and fellow Striders.

My career and responsibilities outside of Striders keeps me going and gives additional reason to run. I am the Vice President of Sales for ShipShapes; a direct mail manufacturing company, an instructor at Purdue University Calumet teaching one night a week, and a licensed Realtor for Coldwell Banker in Chesterton, IN.

Throughout the years I have been actively involved in the management of the organization. As a Past President, I will do my best to aid in the continued success of Calumet Region Striders by offering my assistance and efforts when able. With fellow Board Members, I saw many success throughout my reign in 2005-2007. Our membership grew beyond the 500 member mark, Race Directors continued to exceed your expectations for their events, we coordinate organized group runs for beginner and seasoned runners alike, and our Junior Strider Program went from a few youthful runners to more than 50. I believe it will continue to be my responsibility to represent Striders and promote our group wherever I go.

Thank you for the opportunity to be a part of the history of our club. It will always be a memorable part of my life, and I am honored to have represented our running club.

Keep running, and have a healthy and blessed life. [/read]

Sue Brown-Nickerson, Calumet Region Striders President, 2000-2004
Sue Brown-Nickerson 2000-2004

About Sue [read more]

Calumet Region Striders Board Member 1995-Present
Calumet Region Striders Past President (2000-2004)
RRCA Indiana State Representative, 2006-Present
2004 RRCA Scott Hamilton Outstanding Club President of the Year Award, 2004
AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) Indiana District Assistant 2000-present
Calumet Region Striders Youth Program Chair & Coach, 2005-Present
Indiana District AAU Volunteer of the Year, 2008
Pat Rhodes Club Volunteer of the Year Award, 2010
RRCA National Volunteer Award, 2011

USATF Certified Coach-Track & Field
RRCA Certified Coach
Double-Goal AAU Coach I – Coaching for Winning and Life Lessons

Brown-Nickerson has been a lifetime resident of Northwest Indiana and brings 19 years of running and board management experience to RRCA clubs. Sue has served the Calumet Region Striders as Past President from 2000-2005, and remains an active board member as their current Youth Programs Chair and Coach. During her term as club president she had many goals: growth in membership, progression of website, establishing a race director mentor program, improving quality of GCS races, developing youth program, among others. Trying to keep pace with modern technology and maintain member interest yet protect club traditions, was a continuing challenge. She noticed that family participation in the local races was becoming the trend, so after five years of service as president, and with those aforementioned goals fulfilled, she stepped down in 2005 to concentrate on the growth of the Junior Strider program which now consists of three programs: 1) Gold Cup Race Series- points scoring incentive for completing the required minimum number of 5K races; 2) the summer AAU track and field program and 3) the fall AAU cross-country program which now boasts local and national team experience. Structured practices are offered and are supervised by local school coaches, and parents.

In May, 2005, Sue was nominated for, and received the Road Runners Club of America’s National Outstanding Club President Award. It was an all-expense paid trip to the RRCA Convention in New Orleans to receive the award, coincidentally just 3 months before Hurricane Katrina. She felt that her work in developing the youth program was a strong basis for selection of this award. It was an honor to receive the national recognition, she has made many valuable national friendships and contacts as result. Sue has been RRCA’s Indiana State Representative since 2006, and serves as the laison between the RRCA National Office and over 35 Indiana RRCA running clubs and events.

Northwest Indiana offers so many alternatives for runners to train year round, especially the Indiana Dunes/National Lakeshore, and its beautiful trails and dune ridges. Her favorite place to retreat for weekend racing and competeitive bike racing is northern Michigan. The Mackinac Island 8m run is an annual favorite, and the 3 Disciplines Race Series offers both the duathlons for her, and triathlons for her husband, Strider Jim Nickerson. Son Robert, and grandaughter Peyton, live locally, while son Ryan, lives in Florida.

Sue feels that membership is our greatest resource, so…keep recruiting, keep running, and keep cheering for our junior striders at the races! [/read]

Jean Tolchinsky, Calumet Region Striders, President, 1996-1999
Jean Tolchinsky 1996-1999

About Jean [read more]

I have been in the running community for about 25 years and during most of those I have been a member of the Striders and a participant in the Gold Cup Series. I have always been a back of pack runner. This is why during my tenure as president of the Striders I tried to emphasize the importance of all runners/walkers feeling comfortable participating in the Gold Cup. The very competitive runners and the rest of us should all be able to go out there and have a great time. During my tenure we moved into the 21st Century with the establishment of our Strider website. We also established the Jim Cox Scholarship Fund and the Bob Stevens Disabled Runner Fund.

After 39 years in education, I retired June ’06 from the East Chicago schools. As a physical education teacher, dean, and finally as a counselor I was fortunate to meet and work with so many great kids and adults. I coached basketball, tennis, and volleyball on the high school level. By the time they asked me to coach cross country I was way too tired to devote the necessary time. I did work with junior high students at one time to introduce cross country running to them and brought students to some of the races.

Although I can tell you about running marathons, 1/2 marathons, Zoys, and River to River races, what is really important about my years of running are the people. The wonderful, open, caring people I have met through the years are what have made running so special to me. I have had the great fortune to call people like Shirle Kowalisyn, Ida Hey, Jim Cox and so many more my friend. And the best part is new people keep coming in to our running community to expand this wonderful family.

Now that I have retired, I am devoting more time to my running. However, if you are looking for me I will still be at the back of the pack. [/read]

Pat Rhodes, Calumet Region Striders, 1990-1995
Pat Rhodes 1990-1995

About Pat [read more]

I began with my first marathon in 1974 in Hinsdale, IL (the Chicago marathon didn’t make the scene until 1977). I was in the first Gold cup series in 1979 placing 3rd in my age group. My race, the Lakeshore 10K, began in 1980 (we were a Gold Cup race for 15 years).

Most notable accomplishment – running the Boston marathon for 12 years. My first was in 1976 (the hottest ever was 100 degrees at the start). The day before Dr. George Sheehan (runners guru at the time) said don’t run – it’s too hot! Out of 2200 registered only 1800 showed up at the start line. I ran a negative split because the heat was constantly on my mind. We got a break as we approached Wellesley – picked up a cooling wind off the Atlantic. I completed my 3rd marathon in 3:29 – running 9 min. miles early on so I could finish. Aid stations were not permitted at that time. I didn’t go back for 10 years. I returned in 1986 and ran 11 consecutive marathons.

I wanted to run in the 100th anniversary (1996) BAA. It was my 60th marathon and I was 60 years old (my last race). My time 3:49. My best Boston 3:17.

I was VP in 1988 and 89; president of the Striders from 1989-1995; Chicago marathon coordinator (aid station) since 1989 til present; GC timer since 1995; current Board member. I still do daily jogging to maintaim fitness.

“Before 1970, I was just a weekend jogger,” Rhodes said. “I got into jogging just for fitness, and I’d jog for a half hour, 45 minutes a day on the weekends. I met (Gonzales) running here on the beach (in Miller), and he got me jogging every day. I’ve pretty much run every day since 1970.” Despite his dedication to the sport since then, Rhodes contends he’s not a true runner by nature, but a swimmer.

He was a member of the Horace Mann’s state championship swim team in 1953, the last time any Gary school has won a state championship in that sport. From there, he went on to swim at the University of Iowa with a brief three-year stint in the Navy.

He started jogging with Gonzales about 10 years later. “I would jog on the beach and he would jog on the beach and we became friends,” Rhodes said. “I started doing what he was doing-not because I wanted to, but because he would call me every day. I wasn’t fat back then, but I was soft. I went from 205 pounds to 175 pounds, and once you reach that status, you want to keep it up. You look good and feel good.”

To add another challenge to his fitness regimen, Rhodes ran his first marathon in Hinsdale, IL, in 1974. He would run a total of 60 marathons during his competitive career, the last of which was the 100th anniversary of the Boston Marathon in 1996. Framed posters of all the different marathons he’s run line the hallways of Rhodes’ Miller home. “We would run 10 to 15 miles one day, then do the same thing the next day.” Rhodes said. “So a marathon was just something I wanted to try-26 miles is a long way. Then you run them just to see if you could better your time. It kind of becomes addictive. At times, I was running five or six a year, which I’ve since found out is not a good thing to do.”

Of all the races he’s been to, his favorite is Boston, which he’s run 12 times. “Boston is the most memorable.” Rhodes said. “There’s rolling hills all the way and a world class field. It’s on Patriot’s Day, which is a big holiday in Boston, so people come out and there’s literally thousands of people watching along the way on the route, so that helps.”

In addition to his many marathons, Rhodes has competed in a countless number of road races and has over 300 T-shirts, hats and jackets hanging in his closets commemorating a mere portion of them. He remembers back in 1979, when the Striders’ Gold Cup Series was only seven or eight races. Now, there’s over 30. Though he retired from competition after his last Boston Marathon, he still stays involved by running the timing system at Striders’ events.

“Racing just stopped being fun.” Rhodes said. “Small injuries that used to take a couple of days to heal started to take weeks. I think you have 20 to 25 years where it’s fun to push yourself and attain that runners’ high, and that got harder and harder to do. So I don’t race anymore, I just do the timing. I almost feel like there’s a give-back time, and it’s my time to give back a little to the Striders. It’s kind of fun. It keeps my hand in racing and I enjoy seeing all the runners.”

Aside from running, Rhodes has dabbled a little in triathlons and has competed in the Northwest Indiana Senior Games in swimming. And while his racing career may be over, Rhodes still jogs about 45 minutes every day to stay in shape. Up until last year, in fact, he used to run to work every day to Midwest Steel, but has since cut back his running time.

“I run now just to maintain my fitness level.” Rhodes said. “People have to make time to exercise. It’s something you have to do all your life. It gives me energy and I rarely get sick. All because of running and exercise.” [/read]

Char Groet 1985-1986

About Char [read more]

Many of us know Charlene Groet as Char, the race director of the Wooden Shoe Race. As founder of the Rotary Ramble 5K in 1981, Char has been the race director for the past 37 years. She announced her retirement from that position prior to last month’s race (8/12/2017), but has assured us the race will continue with a new director.

The Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) awards championship events through a competitive bidding process at the National, Regional, and State level to RRCA member clubs and events to promote the sport of distance running. The Rotary Ramble has been chosen as the RRCA Indiana State 5K Championship Race multiple times and as the RRCA Central Region 5K Championship Race twice. The goal of the RRCA Championship Event Series is to shine a spotlight on well-run events. We agree the Rotary Ramble certainly deserves that distinction.

Here are some interesting facts about Char many of you may not know. She began running in 1978 at the age of 31 and was running 85 miles per week for many years from 1979-1995. Throughout her running career she also:

  • Completed 15 marathons.
  • Was invited to be one of 12 torch bearers at the 1981 Sports Festival beginning at Pikes Peak, Colorado, and ending in Indiana.
  • Ran a PR of 2:46.53 at the NYC Marathon in 1982.
  • Qualified at the London Marathon in 1983, which was 8 hours ahead of the Boston Marathon.
  • Was the first female to qualify for the first-ever Women’s Olympic Marathon Trials in Olympia, Washington, in 1984.
  • Founded and incorporated the Back Roads Running Club in 1994.
  • Was chosen as a torchbearer for the 1996 Atlanta, Georgia, Olympics.
  • Coached middle school girls track & field 1978-86.
  • Was Assistant Coach for high school boys and girls cross country 1979-89.
  • Coached high school girls track & field 1987-97.
  • Coached middle school boys and girls cross country 1990-99.
  • Coached Celeste Susnis a 3-time State Champ, Kinney CC National Champ, a 3-time 3200M State Champ, and 1-time 1600M State Champ.
  • Conducted many children’s fun runs.