Happy Wood Anniversary, LRC! Let’s be honest, LRC wouldn’t be here to celebrate if I had a job, which is to say, LRC wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for my wife, Melissa. Without her support and encouragement (and legal prowess and copy editing!), I wouldn’t have the time, energy, or guidance to create and foster LRC (along with the help of Jacki Whitney, Michael Stehling, and Jeremy Bartusch) these past 5 years. Hell, we wouldn’t even be in Libertyville if it weren’t for her taking a job here. Thank you, Melissa!
If you read through the last 4 Year In Reviews (linked below) you’ll see how far we’ve come as a Club, Church, Cult, and Crüe. Year 5, the year of the Circus, built upon many of our traditions yet defied convention as a year of trying new things. So while we kicked 2018 off with our New Year’s Day run to the lake – 18 miles for 2018 – we also started a mysterious club, the first born son of LRC, that same day.
M.A.R.S. – Mundelein Area Run Syndicate – was a mob-themed, participation only club that met for a 3-mile run and gathering in Mundelein on the 1st of the month. At the final supper, active participants received a bottle of MARS custom-labeled wine and run hosts (Dons, as we called them) received Patagonia flannels with an embroidered MARS logo. Anyone that attended all 12 runs got the flannel with their mob name embroidered on the front. It’s now defunct but maybe it’s time for a sister?
We continued our support of local charities with this year’s Poker Run 10K benefitting the United Way’s Center for Excellence in Early Education Program, provided race assistance and fundraising for Zacharias Sexual Abuse Center’s Race to Zero 5K and Lambs Farms’ 5K & 2-Mile Walk, and encouraged donations to the #fudgecancer charity and LRC participants’ marathon charitable fundraising campaigns.
I don’t think there’s a club that travels as much and in such great numbers as we do: 40 of us participated in the Eugene Marathon and Half Marathon to revel in the history of Steve Prefontaine, Nike, and Hayward Field at the University of Oregon campus. A few dozen of us made the pilgrimage to the birthplace of Rock n’ Roll for the Memphis Marathon and Half Marathon. There were several other trips of about a dozen or more LRC folks, while small to us, would be admirable participation by any club’s definition.
Speaking of Prefontaine and trying new things, our Prefontaine Fun Run this year finished with a showing of the movie Prefontaine (the better one with Jared Leto!) on the big screen at Liberty Theater. From here, we kicked off our 5th year of track workouts at Libertyville High School. For this year’s registration “fee,” you sent their facilities coordinator John into retirement with hundreds of meaningful handwritten letters about how important the track access they grant LRC is to you. He was touched.
Through our connections, we obtained one of 6 coveted running chair entries into the Chicago Marathon so that Dan Riefenberg could push Patti Greer in the Hoyt Running Purple Pickle chair that we purchased for her.
I have been in bands my whole life and a lot of what we do with the art and swag in LRC is derived from my experience in the music industry. After talking about starting a LRC band for years, we assembled Cats Are Assholes! – The LRC Band to perform at Patti Greer’s 50th birthday party. All songs were picked by Patti with Ludacris’s rap in Champion by Carrie Underwood being re-written and sung to honor her:
Cats Are Assholes! continued to perform at our Anywhere But Here Brewery Tour and Run of the Dead Elimination Run. We welcomed other musically inclined runners on stage to take part in a song or two, going so far as to form a kids’ band, Kittens Are the Worst! (comprised of our “litter”) to perform at our anniversary party with the Cats.
Run of the Dead’s 4th year was its most successful to date: 370 runners, 11 states represented, largest and most enthusiastic volunteer base, and the most ambitions swag offerings we’ve done. The race has garnered a lot of attention and is now in the process of being duplicated by our friends at Shoes n’ Brews in Longmont, CO.
In 5 years, I’ve seen many accomplishments from PRs to Age Group wins that we’ve achieved not by marketing ourselves as a racing team, but by putting the relationship-building at the forefront which in turn provided the means and inspiration to become better runners, lifelong friends, and community advocates.
Cheers LRC, let’s do it again!
– Mike Brunette