The Lake Run Club of Bloomington/Normal, Illinois celebrated its 10th birthday in 1998. The roots for the club, however, go back a few years before 1988. What follows is the most accurate version of the history for the club.
On a spring day in 1981, a couple of guys from Bloomington headed north to a race that they had run many times before. Upon reaching the race site, the two found that the race had been cancelled due to lack of support.
Disappointed, the two headed home. Since they'd planned to run a race on that day, they decided to stop at Lake Bloomington (about 10 miles north of town) to get a run in. The runners enjoyed the scenery so much that they decided to come back the next week with some friends.
As the summer passed, more and more friends showed up to run with these two pioneers. The runners found themselves "replenishing liquid carbohydrates" after each of their Thursday night runs at the Green Gables, a local bar/grocery store.
Larry Nelson, a current club member and one of the two who initiated the Thursday runs explains why the club met on Thursday nights: "Thursday was favored by those of us who replaced too many carbohydrates, because we could always make it through Friday."
Thus, the origins of the club's name: The Lake Run Club.
The club had yet to be officially formed, but the next year, Nelson and the Thursday crew decided to hold a race around the lake. In 1982, the first Lake Run, a 7.5 mile lap around the lake, was held and had 224 finishers. The race became an annual event and grew to 900 finishers by 1988.
It was in 1988 that the Lake Run Club was officially chartered. It had 29 members by year's end.
"The club began as a social gathering that combined running and some great times over beer and burgers at the Green Gables," says Nelson. Today, counting each member of a family membership, the club has grown to over 900 members.
Chris Christian, the former Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) State Representative for Illinois says, "The Lake Run Club is the fastest growing club in the state." That statement is supported by the 500+ members who joined the club in 1997 and 1998.
What is the cause of such a drastic increase in members of what started as a social club?
Maybe the children's running program has families joining the club.
Maybe it's the marathon training program.
Maybe the club's race circuit has people joining. The circuit started in 1996 and has helped some of the smaller races on the circuit double in size.
Whatever the reason for the increase in membership, the Lake Run Club continues to get stronger and bigger each year.
The volunteering efforts of club members are what have made the Lake Run Club so successful in each of its project. We hope you join and share the success of our club.
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