Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club Hall of Fame
Gary Engstrom, Ironwood
Inducted into the UPRRC Hall of Fame in 2021 as the 46th member (posthumously)
Gary Engstrom, of Ironwood, had a running career that encompassed more than 40 years and was a longtime member of the UPRRC. During that time, he ran over 400 races including 203 marathons. Gary was always at the Paavo Nurmi Marathon which he ran about 26 times. He also ran the Boston Marathon and Marine Corps. A sub-3 hour Grandmas Marathon netted him a bottle of champagne from the motel at which he was staying. At many marathons in Wisconsin, one could find a group of runners from Gogebic County, MI, and Iron County, WI, and in their midst would be Gary, who had organized an expedition or a carload of running friends. Gary was one of the organizers of the Easy Striders Running Club and was always encouraging and promoting running in the area, and always coaching.
Besides running, Gary was also active in many other sports including ski jumping, biking, softball, snowshoeing, and both downhill and cross country skiing. During the Great Bear Chase classic ski race 25K on March 11, 2017, he had a heart attack and had CPR administered but still crossed the finish line on a sled towed behind a snowmobile. He was transported to Aprirus Hospital in Laurium, and then transferred to UP Health System in Marquette. There he had emergency surgery to put in a stent. He started running again exactly two weeks afterwards. (see Running Amuck, May-June, 2017, Volume 36, Number 3)
Gary spent many years coaching and volunteering for the youth in the area with hockey, ski jumping, skiing, and cross country running teams. The Iron Belle Trail was another volunteer opportunity in which Gary spent considerable time, mowing grass, volunteering at races, and being there for his friends.