Part 7: 1986-1995, The 90’s
This will be the final part of the series of articles covering the history of the club. Since a higher percentage of the current members are familiar with the more recent years of the club’s history, I have grouped the last 10 years together in this final article.
The mid to latter 1980’s saw a national trend toward the end of the big growth years in health and fitness organizations, including most running clubs. Do you remember the sudden growth and rapid disappearance of health clubs during this same period? The RMRR membership fell off rapidly from a peak level above 1000 in the mid-1980’s to approximately half that number by 1990. Bill Carey has been closely monitoring the trend during the last several years. The trend appears to have become fairly stable during the last 5 to 7 years.
1986: The Trophy Series races were expanded in 1986 to include the highest cumulative scoring for fastest female and male scratch time runners. Cheryl Beckwith won the first women’s title. This was the first of three consecutive titles for her – pretty impressive since no one else has ever repeated as a winner. Hal Wheatley won the first ever men’s fastest scratch time title.
1987: This year saw further expansion of the Trophy Series races by the addition of a Racewalkers category for all races of 10k and shorter. Bob Carlson, age 63 at the time, won the men’s scratch time Racewalkers division and Alice Bagley, at an age more mature than Bob’s, won the women’s scratch time Racewalkers division for the year. What is this myth that says younger aged people are suppose to win the scratch times titles?
At the January race Betty Willis completed her 73 consecutive Trophy Series race and surpassed Bill Michaels’ former record of 72 consecutive races. Betty would go on to complete 88 consecutive races.
1988: The 1988 (December 1988) Christmas Party and Awards Banquet was the largest ever to that date. The activities and large participation at this Banquet paralleled the peaking of our club membership and reflected the departure of several long standing club leaders. Part of the activities included recognition of the departure of Bill Reef (after four years as Executive Director of the club) and John Cable moving on after years of volunteer service to the club. The resolute runner award was renamed the John Cable Resolute runner Award in recognition of all of his previous efforts. I remember Chuck Thies and myself looking at each other and discussing how difficult it would be to replace these two work horses. Fortunately for everyone, Nancy Van Dore took over as President and Chair of the Board and was a fantastic motivator and leader directing the club into something similar to our current configuration and format. For those of you who never knew Nancy, she was just a great person to be around and to work with as she led the club into the 1990’s.
1989: The 12 race Trophy Series was reduced to 11 races because of a snow storm during the Waterton Canyon race. This is one of only two times that I know of a RMRR sponsored race was cancelled because of weather. (There was a third race that was stopped in mid-race because of weather that I remember very well.) Patrick Kamins won the series this year by a 129.3 point margin, the largest margin ever.
Certain individuals stand out for consistent volunteer work during this period. No one will probably ever know how many hours Jim Fuller gave to the club while expanding and updating the computerization of race scoring and the membership database. Add to that his volunteer time while performing the month by month scoring of races for years. In the most recent years, the club has benefited from several husband & wife teams such as Bruce and Mary Ann Plocher, Phil and Kathy Leyva, Harry and Lo Over, and Dan and Donna Baxter. More recently Bill Carey has stepped forward to guide the club after several years of considerable amounts of supporting volunteer work. Somehow, some way, no matter how many former key leaders leave us and move on to other things in their lives, someone new surfaces into the positions of leadership. My bet and hope is that this will continue for a long time to come.