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.