|Santa Cruz Track Club||
I started running when I was 11 years old and have never looked back! I enjoyed a fun and successful high school, college, and post collegiate career. I am now enjoying competing at the master’s level. The one part of running I have always relished was the team aspect. I still keep in touch with my high school and college teammates, and was thrilled when I discovered the Santa Cruz Track Club over 20 years ago. The members of the track club are wonderful and have become a second family for me. It is now a wonderful honor to be the SCTC president.
Being of the Baby Boomer generation (before Title IX), I did not start running until later in life, but I truly love it and the comradery that I have found among SCTC. Members are of all athletic abilities, yet friendly and encouraging to everyone. I have ran in races (even marathons!) and had adventures that I never thought possible until joining SCTC. SCTC has been such a positive experience for me that I volunteered to help produce the newsletter so that others can share their experiences as well. Let me know if you have a story to tell. It is always fun to share our accomplishments and the love of running.
Member at Large
Jeff Kirk, a long-time Santa Cruz Track Club member, has recently joined the SCTC Board. Jeff has been running since grade school (in Kearney, Nebraska, when he tried (and failed) to keep up with his Dad’s morning run around the block and was beaten soundly by his twin neighbors in virtually every sports-related activity he tried. He improved dramatically when a neighborhood mom offered cookies to the winner of the kids’ race around the block. Jeff started running seriously in high school (at Normal High, in Normal, Illinois) when he went out for cross country his freshman year to get in shape for basketball. Jeff was better at running than basketball. He held the intercity (Bloomington/Normal) meet record in the mile for 17 years (4:25.1) and still holds the College of Wooster (Ohio) indoor (4:16.1) and outdoor (4:12.4) mile records and the 1500 meter record (3:54.0). After transferring to the University of Illinois his junior year, he made the top 10 all-time list at Illinois for the 5000 meters (14:37.4). Jeff’s run 4 marathons, including Boston in 1996, with a best of 2:35:04. But his craziest running exploit was inspired by a Runner’s World article on 24-hour relays. In the summer of 1976, during the Montreal Olympics, he and 4 other high school team mates went after the 5-man world record in the 24 Hour Relay (the easiest, by far, of the existing records according to Runner’s World). Jeff ran 48 miles that day, one mile at a time, holding a baton. And they beat the record listed in Runner’s World, which turned out to be a grossly inaccurate misprint (189 was listed—the real record was 249, which they missed by a mile—actually 47 miles). Jeff has spent the rest of his life as a lawyer, closely proof-reading contracts and other documents in retaliation, and is thrilled to be a part of the SCTC Board. Jeff is still competing and enjoys the camaraderie, competitiveness, and companionship of his team mates on the Santa Cruz Track Club. Indeed, he’s married to one of them — Lisa Kirk, who also went to Normal High!
My past 12 years have been amazing. I started running in 2001 for health reasons after being turned down for life insurance. Meeting Diane and Sue at a UCSC running event, I joined SCTC in 2002. With the support and enthusiasm of the club, I found a true love for running that profoundly changed my life. I lost weight (30#), improved quickly, and, within months of joining, ran the first of many marathons to come, including Boston that subsequent year. In 2006, our future President, Greg Hales, coached and paced me through a sub-3 hour marathon, a seemingly superhuman feat that would have been inconceivable just a few years before. SCTC is an amazing community of athletes, through which I discovered the beauty of Santa Cruz, along with finding renewed health, incredible friendships.
Even though I ran track in the 7th grade, my running career really got started in 1991, when my sister invited me to run the Aptos Women's 5-Miler. Not having done any training prior to the race, I thought I would be fine... wrong. It was a real struggle. The race prompted me to join the Santa Cruz Track Club in 1992. I needed coaching, guidance, and advice on running. Joining the track club introduced me to a whole new social circle. Beginners were more than welcome. I became more inspired and motivated to get out there and train. I met runners at various levels and really benefited from the structured training. Running became part of my routine. My overall fitness improved and it was fun sharing achievements with other members. From the 5K to the Boston Marathon, I was in it for the long run. I've made friends for life!