I usually get bored with things after 3 years so it’s telling when I’m more excited about something than when it first began. For things that keep getting better, LRC is in rare company with Melissa (how’s that for kissing up to the HBIC?), leaving the workforce 5 years ago, and maybe Mars – my oldest son. Yes, I, too, have my days as a stay-at-home dad where I just want to lock myself in a closet.
4 years ago, I didn’t know how the LRC would evolve but I had an idea of what it should be and in the beginning, I felt alone in explaining those seemingly foreign concepts to runners: you can have fun and still become better runners, you can associate with runners that aren’t your speed, or running your distance, and together we can achieve our running and fitness goals in tandem with making a positive impact in our community. I no longer feel alone in believing and sharing those mantras.
It’s that unified belief that really came together this year and made for some incredible and inspiring times without which, we would be just another run club that I would have grown tired of after 3 years. And what good is a leader if that leader isn’t passionate about what they’re doing? Most importantly, your collective belief in LRC, your passion and excitement for what we do, and the initiatives many of you took to help us do what we do, have made this year truly special. I would especially like to thank Jacki, Michael, and Jeremy for taking on some of my responsibilities. Just look at some of these Year 4 highlights:
- Trail running field trips
- LRC race trips to New Orleans, Fargo, Erie, Sioux Falls, San Antonio, and others
- Patti’s Poker Run 10K & Greer Mile raising ALS awareness and netting over $10,000 toward her medical expenses and custom running chair
- Free cross training and other events at various businesses
- Pushing and celebrating Patti Greer in her 1st marathon at the Kenosha, WI marathon
- Annual Prefontaine Fun Run
- Libertyville Days parade participants
- Several volunteer aid stations at local races and the critically acclaimed and impossible-to-duplicate Mile 23 Chicago Marathon cheer station
- Track workouts for over 200 runners that directed all $9,000 in “fees” to charities for LRC runners raising money for their Chicago Marathon bibs
- Inaugural 2-hour Team Relay Competition at LHS track and an inaugural free 5K
- A wildly successful South of Heaven breweries and running tour that saw 85-90 runners showing up to each of the 6 Wednesday night stops
- Dan’s 126.2-mile Hennepin Hundred to Chicago Marathon weekend raising ALS awareness and $6,000 toward Patti Greer’s new accessible van purchase
- Our Run of the Dead Elimination Run was more successful than ever
- Our Annual Cross Country Challenge benefiting Libertyville Township Food Pantry
- The LRC Made Me Do It #givingtuesday event netting $6,000 for charities
- Themed runs and BBQ runs throughout the year hosted by many of you – opening your homes to all of the LRC
- The largest Toys for Tots Fun Run we’ve had to date
- Millions of smiles, tears, hugs, high-fives and feel-good vibes
That’s over $40,000 that we have contributed to charitable causes! And that doesn’t include the money you’ve donated to LRC itself, without which we couldn’t operate at all. We’re a free club, and we’ll always be a free club, but what we do and what we offer isn’t free – rentals, insurance, corporate filings, tour & Prefontaine shirts, magnets, headbands, party expenses, and various other LRC giveaways. You make that happen. I’m in awe and speechless, really. Thank you for participating beyond the run.
We are bigger than a “run club.”
I like to believe that not having a rigid plan and our creativity are our greatest advantages. Sure, we have all the tools for the serious runner: coached track workouts, custom training plans for half marathons and marathons, experience and motivation galore… but we can also decide to do something completely different and weird at the spur of the moment and watch as that idea ripples through the community.
LRC is no longer the new kid on the block; we’re setting precedent for new and established area run clubs, race directors, and local businesses. Just take a look around and see how many of them are starting to do some of the things and events we’ve been doing all along. That’s been part of my master plan from the beginning – to enhance our communities just by being who we are and setting the example for everyone else.
4 years in and I would give LRC 4 out of 5 stars. That’s pretty good! And I know we’ll do better. Cheers to all of you, and see you in 2018!
– Mike Brunette