Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club History
"A Celebration of 25 Years of Running”
Happy Silver Anniversary to the U.P. Road Runners Club
History of the UPRRC - Part I
(From Running Amuck, Jan/Feb 2001)
By Al Salmi, Historian (sorta!)
Twenty five years ago, on December 6, 1975, the UPRRC was born! It arose through a love for the sport of running among fourteen hardy running enthusiasts from all over the U.P.
At this year’s annual meeting, held on December 2, 2000, members approved granting Lifetime Membership to these 14 members. Hearty congratulations to all of them. These "Founders" of our club include:
A short history lesson of our club is in order next. Our first president was Dan Lori, of Iron Mountain, who by the end of his term in 1976 had seen the club grow to 55 members. Succeeding presidents included:
Steady growth continued through the 70's and early 80's, with membership reaching 316 under the presidency of Kevin Holmes, Escanaba, in 1984.
Membership skyrocketed in the mid 80's under the leadership of presidents Dennis Hicks, Calumet, 1985; Bill Sved, 1986; and Chris Danielson, 1987, both of Marquette. What is probably a record number of members (937) was reached during that period.
During the first six years of the club, our newsletter was simply called the UPRRC Newsletter. On December 18, 1981, president Susie Nostrant's first newsletter was called RUNNING AMUCK, a name which continues proudly today, 25 full years after our founding.
In that first issue called Running Amuck, UPRRC also welcomed our first Honorary Member, Joe Blake, then of WUPY radio, for his constant support of road running on his radio program and even "live" coverage of running events! Blake will be added to our Hall of Fame Roster.
HISTORY OF THE UPRRC - PART II
(From Running Amuck, March/April, 2001)
The second half history of UPRRC wouldn't be complete without describing in some detail events of 1986 during the Bill Sved presidency. Membership was booming, largely due to Sved and Chris Danielson who was the highly charged editor of Running Amuck. Danielson, who personally recruited many runners for the club, (including me!), was elected president for 1987, during which time he also successfully edited Running Amuck.
At the September 1986 annual meeting, nobody was elected vice-president of our club, but Dave Lori, of Iron Mountain, later accepted the nomination and was selected our new V.P. at a special meeting on Dec. 2, 1986. UPRRC was ready to move ahead once again.
In January of 1987, Danielson made a significant change in the arrival date of Running Amuck. Whereas it used to arrive, with luck, by the end of the second month, his enforcement of deadlines allowed it to arrive in your mailbox by the first of the month. (i.e., this March 2001 issue should be in your hands sometime in early March rather than late April.) This simple change made the running calendar a much more timely feature.
Lori became president on January 1, 1988. He proved to be a gifted writer, but hardly the fastest president of our club. In his first column, "A View From the Back of the Pack", Lori said, "I have the dubious distinction of being the slowest runner ever elected to the office of president!" (RA, Jan. 1988)
In September, Lori wryly observed, "As many of you know, I am not a particularly fast runner. In fact my cat has started running with me in the morning much to my distress!"
In the same issue he wrote: "Since most female runners routinely out-run me, I have suffered depressing thoughts about my manhood!"
A final nugget from Lori was his evaluation of triathlons. Dave couldn't swim well, and was a regular last place finisher in the U.P.'s first triathlon, the Minx Triathlon, in Marquette. He wrote, "The Iron Man epithet could be applied to me because my muscles seemingly turn to iron...then I have a pronounced tendency to sink!" He also described his biking ability in hilarious detail. Obtain a copy of Running Amuck from Sept/Oct, 1988 if you can. It is really worth reading all of Dave's columns.
During his presidency, Lori established our clubs first "Race of the Year" award to be voted on by members. To nobody's surprise the winner was "The Pictured Rocks Road Race" in Munising. (a.k.a. "Norma's Race", as it was affectionately nicknamed!)
Kevin Holmes, a UPRRC Founders Club member was first president in 1984, and was then re-elected in 1989. Holmes, however, resigned in early 1989 and the presidency was turned over to a runner only slightly faster than Dave Lori. Me!
Summer 1989 proved traumatic for our club and myself. Dave Lori tragically collapsed and died at Munising as he finished his final race...the PRRR, our 1988 Race of the Year he had championed. The sad irony escaped nobody, and me in particular, as I had finished about 15 minutes ahead of Dave and was very near him as he went down at the finish line.
Dave's spirit has truly lived on. A memorial committee outlined the Dave Lori Memorial which was established at our annual meeting on Sept. 9, 1989. Now on our 25th anniversary we will broaden the Dave Lori Memorial to become the UPRRC Hall of Fame. In Dave's memory our Hall of Fame will live on forever
Al Salmi was elected to lead the club in 1990 and Gladstone's "Catch the Spirit Half Marathon" was named the race of the year for 1989.
In 1990 the "Big Bay Relay" was chosen as Race of the year, and our first "Runners of the Year" were chosen as well. Norma Harger, Munising and Betty Martin, Ewen, were tied for female runners of the year, and Bob Figuli was easily chosen as male runner of the year. A moving dedication of a plaque in Dave Lori's memory was unveiled at the entrance to Mustang Stadium in Munising during the PRRR in June. Club membership stood at 784 and Betty Martin, of Ewen, was chosen president for 1991.
"Run your Bass Off" was chosen as the 1991 race of the year and membership stood at 857. Carole Lee, Escanaba; Paulette Schwartz, Ironwood; and Chris Danielson, of Marquette, were chosen Runners of the Year.
In 1992 Bill Hager became our president and the "Northern Shufflers Marathon" was selected as race of the year. It was also the year UPRRC adopted the U.P. Triathlon Series as part of our official club activities. UPTS directors were Al Salmi, Rapid River & Terry Hanson from Iron Mountain. Club membership rose to 891 and runners of the year were Jackie Winkowski of Marquette and Wally Keskitalo from Dollar Bay. U.P. Triathlon Series named their first Hall of Fame champions for the year: Erik Juntti of Marquette and Debbie Cain-Juntila of Gladstone. 22 triathletes completed the inaugural Series.
1993 saw Liz Siivola, from Marquette, begin duties as club president, with Dave Bos as editor of R.A. A mid-year crisis developed and both left their positions. Bill Hager re-assumed the presidency and Jackie Winkowski became newsletter editor in July of '93. The "Superior Ten" in Marquette was chosen Race of the year, and runners of the year were Liz Siivola and Bud Velin both from Marquette. A new category "Volunteer of the Year" was instituted by the club and Liz Clark, also of Marquette, was the first recipient. Club membership slipped to 788 members. UPTS champions were Kevin Konczak of NMU/Alpena and Jan Haase of Houghton. 17 triathletes completed the Series.
In 1994 Betty Martin, who moved to Ironwood, returned for a two year stint as president with Jackie as RA editor, a job she didn't relinquish until 1999. Helen Anderson and Bill Hager were chosen Runners of the year, and the "Ed Hansen Memorial Run" in Ontonagon was chosen as Race of the Year. Kevin Konczak repeated as UPTS champion and Julia Newton, of Florence WI was the woman’s winner. Volunteer of the year was Lou Carr, and total club membership stood at 755.
On January 21, 1995, Bob Figuli of Marquette became our first Life Member by club action at the annual meeting. 1995 also saw Joan Rundman, of Ishpeming, Donna Gehrig and Gary Engstrom, both of Ironwood, chosen as runners of the year. Volunteer was Chris Burnette, from Ishpeming and the "Bessemer Hometown Run" was selected as Race of the year. Danny Hill, of Ishpeming, and Jan Haase won UPTS honors. 22 triathletes completed the entire series. Overall club membership dipped to 720 members.
In 1996 our Octogenarian pride and joy, Wally Keskitalo, from Dollar Bay, was elected president. Bill Sved, Sandra Harting and Shawn Opplinger were chosen as Runners of the Year, while the 1000 mile "Finnfest Torch Run" and "Carl Olson Memorial Run" were chosen as the events of the year. Connie Figuli, of Marquette, was named Volunteer of the year. Justin Vasseau of Marquette won the UPTS with Judd Johnston, also from Marquette, claiming the Master's title. 32 men, but NO women completed the Series in '96. UPRRC membership stood at 702 at the end of the year.
In 1997 Jim Engel was elected president, a job he still holds today. Club membership rose to 710 members and our runners of the year were Bill Kilmer of Ontonagon and Gale Hellier. The "Norway Spring Classic" was chosen as our best event and the volunteer of the year award went to Paul Hannuksela. Triathlete of the year honors went to Drew Richmond, of Iron Mountain, and Tom Piippo of Rudyard for the Master's. Jr. champion, Micah Richmond received the first UPTS youth award and Mike Segorski of Gladstone claimed the Senior Masters award.
By 1998 membership had slipped slightly once again to 654, reflecting a national trend. David Lillie and Angela Santini were chosen as runners of the year and the "Sunday Lake Run" event of the year. Barb Weinrick was selected as volunteer of the year, and a first time award "Youth Member of the Year" went to Emma Lillie. Mary Connor took over UPTS Director duties from Al Salmi after his six years as director. UPTS Honors for '98 were awarded to Dan Kaukola and Mary Connor of Marquette. Master's winner was Tom Piippo and Senior Master's to Mike Segorski. 15 members completed the Series. Jackie Winkowski retired after many years of service as newsletter editor and was replaced by Dave Dagenais of Ishpeming.
In 1999, Bob Figuli reported a slight increase in membership to 666. Awards were presented at the Norway Spring Classic last year to Christie & Paul (PJ) Pruett, of Ishpeming, and Dick Jenkins, from Escanaba as our runners of the year; Jarod Johnston, was named youth; and Barb Salmela, both of Marquette, volunteer of the year. The "Duck Pond Run" was selected as Race of the Year. 23 triathletes completed the UPTS. Mary Connor won the overall championship as well as claiming the Master's title. Brendon Ewers, Marquette, won the mens division with Tom Piippo holding on to his Master's title. Micah Richmond returned as the youth winner.
Which brings us up to last year....our 25th year! Official club membership for 2000 remained steady at 664 under the continued direction of president Jim Engel. The newsletter remains in the able hands of Dave Dagenais, now living in Gwinn. Secretary-Treasurer duties are shared by Bob & Connie Figuli for the 10th straight year! Running awards for 2000 will be presented today during this Hall of Fame banquet on April 7th, in Norway. UPTS winners for 2000 were Youth: Jake Rankinen, Champion, and Ashley Oliver of Ironwood; Mary Connor made it a "3-Peat" as women’s champ while Drew Richmond again reached the winners circle. Carole Lee, of Cedar River, claimed the female Master's title while Tom Piippo claimed the Master's title for the 4th year in a row. Senior Master's award winner again was Mike Segorski.
So what lies ahead for the U.P. Road Runners Club in the next 25 years? Hopefully we will continue to see our sport grow. And no doubt UPRRC will continue to be a "home" for those who seek the challenge of maintaining physical fitness and associating with others of like mind.
Happy 25th Anniversary UPRRC
and Happy Trails Everyone!
Below you will find letters written by several of our "Founders" for inclusion in this booklet. Most of our founders are still setting a good example for all of us as most, if not all, are still actively running!
From Norma and El Harger, Munising
The North Country Track Club, which consisted of our family and numerous high school students from the central Upper Peninsula, was formed about the same time as the UPRRC was developing. By 1976 both were up and "running".
El Harger and his three sons distinguished themselves at the, then annual, Rudyard Track and Field Meet in Aug.' 74 by setting a world record for the Family Mile Relay in a time of 3:58.5. (ages ranged from 12 to 49)
El and Norma both participated in the first International Master's Track and Field Meet in Ontario, Canada in the summer of 1975. Together they organized the Pictured Rocks Road Race commemorating the Nation's Bicentennial in June 1976 at Munising.
The tradition was continued under their directorship for 21 years, culminating in 800 participants by the end of their tenure.
Similarly, we've watched the UPRRC grow with increased membership, and diversity of activities. Throughout these 25 years many lifetime friendships developed and it is with pride we can say: "We were a part of it becoming a viable organization in the great Upper Peninsula."
Norma & El Harger, Munising
From Bill Laurich, Marquette
On New Years Eve, 1975, Tom McCutcheon and myself made a resolution to lose some weight by starting to run. That is the only resolution that I have ever kept. It is now going on my 27th year and I'm still "eating crete" (*) almost on a daily basis.
(*) Bill explained, "Eating 'crete, as in concrete, as in hitting the road for a run!!")
Through running, I have accomplished many goals and have had many wonderful memories. Some of the goals were to train and run a marathon (accomplished many times), lose 40 pounds and keep it off (accomplished), and to develop a method to deal with daily stress (running was the vehicle for me). While trying to reach these goals, there have been many wonderful memories. Listed below in no particular order are some of them.
1. The early struggles to carry all that extra weight and actually run 5 miles!
2. The companionship on the early runs with Tom McCutcheon, John
Hendrickson, Sid Cram, and Joe Selin.
3. My first successful marathon, the Paavo Nurmi in August of 1976.
4. The formation of the U.P. Road Runners Club.
5. Running the Big Bay Relay with all the great competition and great friends.
6. McCutch and myself laying out the course for the barefoot sports run.
Remember that one? Then the two of us developing the Marquette marathon.
7. The Wednesday evening runs from Hedgecock Fieldhouse with the boys and
stopping for beers after.
8. The trips to and from all the Saturday morning races. (especially some of the
trips back with Bob Figuli, Don Hansen, McCutch, and Henry)
9. The New Years Eve runs organized and run from the Hargers' in Munising.
10. My last marathon 16 years ago. Grandma's in Duluth.
` 11. Most importantly,the wonderful feeling of finishing a satisfying run.
Running has been a very large part of my life and it will continue to be into the future. I would like to thank everyone who is keeping the club organized. The original intent was to create competition and camaraderie between runners from across the U.P. I know that we succeeded and it sounds like the tradition continues. Keep up the good work. Being inducted into the U.P. Roadrunner hall of fame is a fantastic honor and I feel that recognition from a person's peers is the highest form of a compliment. I would have liked to attend the induction but my wife and I had vacation plans in Florida with another obsession (golf).
Thank you once again and keep running!!
By the way, I'm a retired school teacher and presently live in Marquette patiently waiting for my wife to retire. I keep busy by directing the Clear Lake Education Center, a part time job, Running and Golfing.
Bill Laurich, Marquette
From John LeClaire, MD, Muskegon
Dear Al and the rest of the U.P. Road Runners:
It was a pleasure to hear from you regarding my induction into the U.P. Road Running Hall of Fame. It has been quite a few years since I have had the opportunity to race in the U.P.: the last being the Lake Antoine Run, I believe, in 1992.
Unfortunately I am no longer able to race but I still run four to five days a week. It would be nice to see everyone again but unfortunately I will be on Spring Vacation with my kids during the first week in April.
Some of my fondest memories of the club were when Bob Olson, Dan Whitman, Dale Blichmann and a few others would gather on the weeks we didn't have races to run our favorite courses. This sometimes involved a grueling run through the Porcupine Mountains, the Brockway Mountain Drive, the Sturgeon River Gorge, as well as the Inaugural Big Bay to Marquette Relay.
I also spoke to Scott Lachniet today, who was one of the early members back in 1977 when he was stationed at K.I. Sawyer Air Force Base, who also has fond memories of the U.P. Road Runners.
It is nice to see that our club is still going and I wish everyone well.
John LeClaire, M.D.
Muskegon, MI (originally L'Anse)
From Bob Figuli, Marquette
I knew only four of the charter members of our club at the organizational meeting held at Hedgecock Fieldhouse, on the NMU campus, in Marquette on December 6, 1975. I got to know the other Founders of our club through the runs on the club race schedule which started in 1976 with seven races and two track meets listed. *( See below)
Today our race schedule now numbers approximately 110 events in a nearly year-round race schedule!
I have done much running and travelled to runs with many of the founders. It will be nice to visit with them today at our 25th Anniversary celebration here in Norway.
I feel very fortunate that the Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club was organized for the events that it has given me to participate in, and also for the camaraderie and the chance to become acquainted with many people throughout these past 25 years.
Bob Figuli, Marquette
From John Vrancic, Escanaba
Back in 1969 my running career began as a junior at Bessemer High School. Little did I think I would still be running 32 years later! I couldn't go out for track as a sophomore due to a knee injury meaning I had to do a lot of learning as a junior, much of it the hard way. That meant taking a little ribbing from my buddies in Wakefield and even some of my teammates.
Following two years of high school track, I ran at Gogebic CC in Ironwood and then at Lake Superior State. Since Bessemer didn't offer cross country, I got my first taste of it at Gogebic, where I ran my first sub five minute mile and ONLY sub 11 minute two mile.
In 1974 I ran my first road race which "happened" to be a marathon! That took place early in June in Rudyard and drew 13 runners. Four of us finished! I took third with a modest 4:13:15 clocking, perhaps the slowest third place time on record except for maybe Pike's Peak! Ha Ha! I also ran a 4:02 at the Paavo Nurmi marathon that same year, and a 3:42 in 1975.
Since the U.P. Road Runners Club wasn't yet in existence at that time, there were very few races available But a race was held in the Copper Country a week before the Paavo Marathon in 1975. I found out about it the day AFTER it happened when I heard the results over a Hancock radio station.
With the following year came the formation of UPRRC of which I became a charter member (December 6, 1975). In the 25 years I've been a member I've met many nice people and the camaraderie has been fantastic.
Like anything else, our club opened with a limited schedule in 1976. (*) It simply took a little while for the idea to catch on. The first year race schedule included the Big Bay Relay organized by Jack & Karen Kunkel; Iron Mountain's first "Lake Antoine Run" organized by Dale Blichmann; Marquette's"Schwitzgoebel's Gulch Run" of 9 miles; Crystal Falls Track meet; Hancock's "Canal Run" organized by Bob Olson; unnamed races in Calumet, Mohawk and South Range; an all-comers track meet in L'Anse; The Paavo Nurmi Marathon; the Mackinac Island Road Race, and an all comers track meet in Escanaba. I even found a 5 1/2 mile race in Marinette that first year!
* (Editor's Note: The above first year running schedule was a collaboration by John and Bob Figuli).
I fondly remember doing my first sub three hour marathon in Marquette in 1978 and running a 3:08:01 at Boston the following spring. My most memorable running season, perhaps, took place in 1984. I remember dedicating the entire season to my Mom, who died on New Years of 1983. When I look back on the '84 season and find a 38:36 in the Norway Spring Classic was my poorest race, I guess I can still say that a pretty nice season. My confidence grew by July when I ran a 1:19:20 in 85 degree heat at the Cheboygan half-marathon and a 61:22 in the D&N 10 mile Canal Run at Hancock. Then came a 2:55:10 at Paavo in August, a race in which I was "pumped up" for all 26.2 miles. Within the next few years came two more sub 3 hours at Paavo and an overall title in a 50 K race in Menominee.
Those days, of course, are long gone. Now I just run mainly for the enjoyment of being a runner and the camaraderie. Don't get me wrong. I'm always going to be a competitive person and will continue to take my training seriously. But I find I don't let the bad races upset me as much as they did in the past.
It is quite an honor to be reunited with my friends from past years here today. This will also be quite humbling many ways. God knows there are many people who are just as, or maybe even more, deserving of this honor than myself. Yet I'm certainly grateful and proud to have played a part in the founding of UPRRC.
The loss of my Dad and a knee injury last fall has kept my training mileage way down. As of March 11 I have run a "whole" 43 miles for the year. Hopefully I will complete at least the two mile race here in Norway today.
It has been an honor to be director of the Slip-Sliding-Away Fun Run in Escanaba for 16 of its 17 years. Unfortunately this years race was marred by the tragic death of UPRRC member Bruce Kalinoski of Escanaba. As they say, the show must go on. A short memorial ceremony will be conducted in Bruce's memory prior to next years race.
John Vrancic, Escanaba
From UPRRC President Jim Engel, Wakefield
James Engel was born in 1954 and raised in Bay City Michigan. He participated in football, basketball, and track from sixth through twelfth grade. Northern Michigan University offered him a full-ride athletic scholarship to play football which he did from 1973-1977. There he met his wife of 22 years, the former Denise Beckman from Wakefield. He has coached football, basketball, and track at various schools since 1978. He is currently living and teaching physical education, health, and art in Wakefield and is the proud father of three beautiful daughters, Janelle, age 20, Chelsea l4, and Bethany 6.
As a child growing up in Bay City, MI, we seemed to be constantly creating various clubs to be a part of. There was a certain allure, an exclusiveness, that could only be attained by being included in a select group. Those were the good old days and for years those feelings of belonging were long forgotten.
Fast forward to 1987. I participated in the first Great Lakes State Games in Marquette; track and field competition. There I met Jack L'Huillier and got reacquainted with former Cheboygan Chief gridiron great Mark Churchill whom I coached years previous. These Upper Peninsula Road Runners Club members coaxed me into doing the Minx Sports Triathlon later that summer. After having won four medals in those inaugural games (gold- high hurdles and high jump, bronze- 200 and 400m dashes) to a collective zero for Mark and Jack who participated in the road race events, I do believe they were anxious to get me in their element. After that first and to date only triathlon, these guys somehow conned me into doing Grandma's Marathon the following June.
It was about that time I became very interested in road running events around the area. I learned that there was a complete listing of these events included in a newsletter from an Upper Peninsula running club. And suddenly, for about ten bucks, that long lost feeling of belonging to an exclusive group returned. I became a member of the U.P.R.R.C. For the first time in my life I put a bumper sticker on my car, something I thought I'd never do, to show everyone I was a proud member of the U.P.R.R.C.
I felt terrific being a member of a large running club and eventually started meeting other club members. Soon I was promoting the club and even submitting articles for publication in the newsletter Running Amuck.
Forward again to 1998. I'm nominated for and become U.P.R.R.C. President. Writing for the newsletter is a pleasure and a challenge and I find it very enjoyable. I've had the pleasure of interviewing such running greats as Bill Rodgers, Doug Kurtis, Lorraine Moulder, and Jenny Spangler for publication in Running Amuck. publication in Running Amuck. Running the club is easy. I just call Secretary/Treasurer, one of the original founders, Bob Figuli and ask him what to do. Bob has been a constant force that has helped keep this organization strong and thriving since I've become President. He's been a great example for all of us to follow; promoting the club, directing races, participating in many events each year around the area, and taking care of club business as Secretary/Treasurer for the past twelve years as well as in 1987.
The club has been great for me and many others I'm sure. It's much more than just a running club. I plan my summer vacation around various U.P.R.R.C. sponsored events. The races are great but the social aspects of these get-togethers are even better. I've made many new friends that I otherwise would not have made if not for this organization. Even though I rarely see peers from the eastern U.P., such as Alan Jarvie, I can keep track of them through Running Amuck.
Creating clubs as a youngster and seemingly running all the way home every day after school in grades one through five, I'm reliving my childhood through the U.P.R.R.C.
I'd like to thank the founders of the U.P.R.R.C. personally and on behalf of all our members. Who could have foreseen the tremendous impact you would have on running and racing in the Upper Peninsula. You've created a club that has grown to over 600 total members from across the Upper Peninsula and the surrounding regions.
Let it be known that we are eternally grateful for your efforts some 25 years ago in creating this club. We also congratulate you on your induction into the Upper Peninsula Running Hall of Fame and your Lifetime Membership in the U.P.R.R.C.
James E Engel, Wakefield
Addendum from Dr. John LeClaire
What I remember about the early days of the club was the off racing weeks. A bunch of us die hards would get together for a regional run. Bob Olson would pick a course through the Copper Country which usually involved running up Mt. Ripley. And at least 25 mi.
The 15 mi. run through the Porkies that took 3 - 3.5 hrs. Dale Blichman later said he didn't think about the topography when he drew the route up.
How about the time I was running with Bob Olson on the ridge going to McClain State Park when the Great Dane came running after us hauling his dog house and all.
With regards to myself I went to U of M in '77 and completed a residency in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. I married in '78 and Lisa and I have three children. Sara is a sophomore. at MSU, Andy a senior at Muskegon Catholic and Brian who is a Sophomore.
I have been in private practice in Muskegon now for 21 years.
With regards to running, I hate to say I just jog now. While in Ann Arbor, I ran for the Great Lakes Track Club. I had some modest success finishing 11th at Pike's Peak, 13th in Charlotte and 16th in Detroit. The last marathon I ran was Boston in 1980. After starting practice and a family I no longer had the time to compete, though my heart still races at the thought of it.
Say Hi to everyone at the 25th anniversary celebration.
Sincerely, John Le Claire
Addendum From Dale Blichmann, Kingsford
Sorry this is late...I guess all my running jogged too many cells loose.
You will have to ask Dan Lori regarding the year he brought up the subject of forming some kind of a running club. I don't remember even where we were at the time, other than it was somewhere on a run.
The need for one was obvious, as--or so it seems to me-- about the only races available were the Paavo and one at Naperville, and both of these were marathons and several hours away. Anyway, who could argue about the need? I remember Dan mentioning that he had brought up the idea to Bob Olson who at that time was living I think in Marquette and that he (Dan) felt there were enough runners in other areas that it should be possible to have a series of races.
All that was needed was for someone to call a meeting. Possibly because we had had the Lake Antoine Run for several years already, and it wasn't that big of an undertaking, Dan felt that other runners in other areas could do the same.
The rest, of course, is history. As you are aware. The idea took off.
You asked for a little personal history. What to say? I ran cross country and track (880 and mile) in high school and then, after the war, a year of cross country in college. Was away from running for several years and then began again in the fall of '61 or '62 during football half times.
Ran year 'round. Have run in eight or nine marathons and a good number of shorter races. Following a lay off, due to I don't know what, I tried race walking for about five months and liked it very much. Discovered that once you got the form down, it is very enjoyable, almost as much pleasure as running. However, it takes LONGER to get a good workout AND it almost requires a very smooth surface (such as a track) You simply can't race walk on trails.
As mentioned, I walked for about five months. Got in one 50 mile walk, but returned to running when I ran into Ultra runner Paul Olson who
got me interested in ultras--well, almost ultras. Have run two of them, one a 50K and the other a 30 mile run while attempting a 50 miler at the Fumee 50, a trail run that Paul and I are attempting to get started.
This is enough, Al. Sorry about being late, and didn't mean to ramble. Am I currently running? Yes and No. Yes if you call a 15 miles or so a week running. No, if you call trotting 60 yards, walking 60 yards, trotting 60 yards, walking 60 yards RUNNING.
But hope springs eternal. I REALLY MISS THOSE MAGIC TIMES WHEN YOU FEEL YOU COULD RUN FOREVER.
Do I hope to re-experience them? OF COURSE!.
The members of the UPRRC would like to thank Danny here at the Rialto Lanes and Restaurant for his kind support of our 25th anniversary celebration.
We would also like to thank Tony Adams, race director of the Norway Spring Classic for his support and publicity for todays event.
To keep our club going strong in the next 25 years will require continued support of all club members. You can make a difference!
Please make an effort to attend our annual meeting later this year. It is the only time that UPRRC policies can be adequately discussed.
Thank you for attending and keep on running everyone!