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Rochester running... little history

I pretty much spent a day writing about course certification, and the process A-Z.

Some-how I deleted a day's work.. So being the computer and internet genius that I am going to try to recreate it. I'm sure I'll miss some of it, I'm old school. ha ha.


I'm certainly not a Rochester historian but I'll share what I do remember, from the era when I started serious running. High school and college were my cross country years. I was good not great but I absolutely loved running. Army draft and the "love and peace" era of the 60's derailed my love and participation in the sport when getting high or stoned was the norm.


Lost?? yes I was. (my book Ch. 3, Sin Sick Soul) When I finally sobered up, I began to rediscover the love I lost. In the 70's the sport had begun to gain popuatity. Jim Fix, George Sheehan, Jim Ryan, Bill Rodgers were my heros replacing Timothy Leary, Beatles and Stones. Like the song lyrics say, "I found a new way of living, I found a new life divine".


Road racing and the running boom was just getting started. In 1970's GRTC was the first club of it's kind, catering to a new generatiion. Marathons became popular and training for Boston for many was our goal. 10k and 5K etc were plentiful. GRTC brought the marathon craze to Rochester in the form of Rochester Marathon.

Some of my new heros and training partners here were Don McNelly, Norm Frank, Craig Holm, Dave Coyne (he's still running Boston soon to run 50 of them) and scores of others. Popular training groups like Canal Rats, Cats, Oven Door Runners, "training guess where?" were formed.



New road races gained popularity, as well as people from GRTC to design and direct. Bill Kehoe (Running of the Green, Rochester Marathon), George Tillson (Sauerkraut 20k Race) were key figures in our local community putting on running events. People like Craig Holm were running sub 2:20 marathon qualifying for Olympic trials. Rochester running was on fire.


To feed this new beast were races which needed some level of professionalism and design. United States Track and Field, (USATF) provided the direction and guidance to race directors who wanted to accurate and consistent events especially if they were to be considered as national qualifiers for race like Boston.


George Tillson was trained to follow USATF procedures to certify local races.


Next post, I'll delve into more detail about race certification and how it's important to tbe quality of running.



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