Twenty Extraordinary Trail Running Years

Trail Runners Club    1988 – 2008
 
As I look back on the last 20 years the first thing that comes to mind is how much I’ve enjoyed the mountains, their gorgeous and challenging trails, the outstanding camaraderie we have experienced and the wonderful friendships we have formed with fellow runners. 
 
I have experienced many wonderful high-lights during these years. A few of them include:
 
“50 Trail Runs in Southern California” - The preparation and subsequent publishing of this book in 2000 was a very exciting and enjoyable experience.  Being on the L A Times Best Seller’s list that year added to the rewarding journey.  When our publisher, “Mountaineers Books”, called me one day and asked if I could write this book I was caught off guard and required time to think about it - so after 5 seconds of deep and extensive thought I replied “YES”.. I can do it !  How could I not accept this wonderful opportunity? 
Knowing this would take a lot of time out of my already full days I asked club members Jim Wolff and Samir Shahin  M.D. if they would like to join me with the project.  We had wonderful times running and plotting many courses, eliminating some that didn’t  meet our goals. The book has been well received.  I, and I believe Jim and Samir are very proud of our efforts in creating this book that is now being enjoyed by many runners and hikers as well.
 
“TRAIL RUNNING: From Novice to Master” - Pleased with the immediate success of the 50 Trail Runs book, Mountaineers Books called again. That call resulted in  Kirsten Poulin and I working on it together.  Kirsten was great to work with and I thank her for her effort in making the book a success.  This is a “How To” book as opposed to the 50 Trail Running book which is a “Where To” book.
 
2002 Malibu Creek Trail Challenge: After the 911 attack we, as did many other organizations, wanted to help out in some way so decided to put on a fund raising race.  After running the 14 mile course in Malibu State Park I was sold on my chosen route as being the best thing to do.
There are beautiful trails and challenging hills. I had a lot of help from club volunteers and put on a world class performance.  Race day, April 13, 2002 we anticipated 250 – 300 registrations so ordered 400 t-shirts. The line of cars waiting to get into the park in the dark that morning went from the locked park entry gate up Las Virgenes to Mulholland Blvd.  We were thrilled but nervous when 310 runners registered that morning.  That plus 250 pre-registered generated 560 runners!!  Anxiety City!  We were running out of bibs so cut them in half.  It was very exciting, a tad disorganized because of the unexpected crowd but we were proud to have turned out such an instantaneous success.  We donated $13,000 plus to the 911 Victims Children’s Fund.  Club member Damon Lyman won the 14 mile course race.  Was this a rewarding experience?  Absolutely. We held it two more years before turning it over to others.
 
2003 Topanga Turkey Trot race – Our Annual Turkey Trot run attendance had been growing and in 2002 was larger than could easily be handled in the street staging area we were using.  We decided in 2003 to hold it in Topanga State Park then took it up a level and turned it into a full blown race.  Great flyers and publicity resulted in being sold out well before race day.  We had to return the last 60 pre-registrations.  It too was an immediate success.  I was very proud of our volunteers and the success we enjoyed. We held it one more year before turning it over to those now running it. 
 
Our eleven trips to Yosemite for our backcountry run from Lake Tenaya to Curry Village has been a real crowd pleaser. I’ve attended all of them and even though my pace has slowed my enthusiasm has not. 
 
There were and will continue to be more highlights, too many to list here, but I can’t close  without saying how proud I am of Club member Dale Reicheneder for his commitment and hard training that resulted in his winning the 2005 and 2007 National Trail Runner Magazine Marathon Division Trophy Series. 
 
Sharing the enjoyment of trail running with others provides further enjoyment of the activity.  It adds to the confidence one needs in order to be comfortable on the trails, particularly in back-country areas.  These years have been very rewarding for me because of my passion for and commitment to the sport and the club. 
 
Finding how much members enjoy the club and its activities gives me great satisfaction knowing I created the club and have played an active role in its development & activities.   
 
My thanks and appreciation goes out to earlier members who added immeasurably to the success and enjoyment of the club. 
To Jim Wolff for creating and maintaining our first web site. The site was twice   
      awarded the “Best Running Website” in the country by the “Road Runners Club 
      of America”.
To: Paul Spencer who took the web site over from Jim and took it to new heights,  
       allowing it to receive the 2nd Best Site award.
To: Irving  Hoffman who further updated it and did a fine job maintaining it for 
       many years.
To: Rudy Westervelt for his active role in managing some of the Malibu Creek Trail 
       challenge” races.
 
In recent years several members have made a commitment to assist in club management and have done so in a very professional and reliable manner. My thanks and appreciation go out to:
 
Kai Yen for donating his professional talents at further updating the web site.  Kai is 
responsible for creating photo albums, video, and other user friendly features.
 
Michael and Kimberly Becker for their considerable efforts, particularly Michaels 
 overseeing the Main Group every Sunday.
 
Adam Russell and Liz Nguen for their solid commitment, particularly Adam’s 
expertise in course marking.
 
Ernie Chalekson in his very creative ways of sharing club management with me and 
doing it with great finesse and with a welcome sense of humor.

Stan Swartz
Founder, Chairman
CFO, CEO
May 31, 2008
 
   

Comments

Thanks to you Stan!

Stan! I love the club - I try and get everyone I can to join. The knowlwdge I have gained from running with the club is immeasurable! I have learned self confidence and found my sense of adventure. I look forward to many many years of exploring and sharing the beauty of Southern California with the club. Best, Jes