Maintaining the preferential theme. I sat among legends last night. Derek Fey invitedCraig Christians, Roxi Erickson and I to sit on a Q&A panel at Peak Performance. It turned into more of a show and tell of talent and leadership. Craig recounting his experiences as a lifetime runner and 30 year coach. I was pleased to learn that Craig has accepted the head coaching job for the brand new Bellevue University cross country program. Roxi shared tales of 10 Lincoln Marathon wins, along with 19 others. Personal best of 2:37:19, something few fellas can boast. What could I have possibly contributed?
I started with the letter I wrote to Roxi in 1995 inviting her to Lake Jackson, TX for the Run For The Arts 10 Mile. I wouldn’t meet her for another half a decade. I rolled right into how Derek, Roxi, and Craig have all run for me. Described the formation of Nebraska’s USATF LDR Program, the founding of Team Nebraska. Sprinkled in how NRGE, LLC caters to first to last in our road race management practices. And everything in between. What’s between?
Fifteen years of advocating for elites in Nebraska. Well over $100,000 raised- the lion’s share from the Lincoln Marathon sponsorships for our USATF clubs, athletes, and programs. Tirelessly advocating locally, regionally, and nationally. I highlighted some of the most talented that have benefitted from that support, their achievements and contributions to the sport.
I raised some eyebrows too. By lamenting the lack of elite level support by the Omaha Running Club leadership. I am the most qualified person to make that statement having unsuccessfully petitioned for waived entries, prize money, and other funding efforts for elites over the last 15 years.
I tried to describe a scenario where those in positions of power appreciate the contribution of elite level running to an event. Understand that our top local runners are an inspiration to the upcoming generations. An integral part of our sport. To be celebrated and supported and acknowledged. Our sport. Running. Racing. But that is not the case with the regime of the last 15 years.
I encouraged Derek to run for President of the Omaha Running Club. He would be the most logical candidate to chart new courses that would elevate the respectability of our city, our club, and ultimately our marathon. The one that slipped away under the current watch, The Omaha Marathon, on our city streets. He has the experience. He has the charisma. He cited a lack of time. I told him if he couldn’t then it would be up to me.
With that, I’m announcing my candidacy for President of the Omaha Running Club. Win or lose, I’m standing up for what I believe most passionately. That support for elite level running is a sure way to elevate the visibility and respectability of the Omaha Running Club. Front, middle, and back, not just middle on back.
Craig and I differed on almost every subject, both correct for our specific audience.