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!