North Carolina Roadrunners: Strong History, 700 Members

03/30/2011 - 14:28

NCRC_Resolution.jpgIce was still hanging around after a freak Christmas snow, but on the first day of 2011, the weather was balmy.
A couple hundred runners, walkers and New Years Eve resolution-makers abandoned their noisemakers, shook off holiday hangovers and cobwebs, and set out on their first run of 2011.

North Carolina Roadrunners Club’s Annual Resolution Run, now in its 10th Year, started at 9 a.m., and while that time of day makes a late start for runners who are notoriously early risers, it was a blessing on the morning after New Year’s Eve.

This annual 5K sets a fitting tone for a North Carolina Roadrunners Club year, full of fun runs, challenging half marathons, charity events, clinics, and almost anything a lover-of-running-outdoors can imagine.

Joe Lugiano is one of NCRC’s founders and the club’s first president and as he tells it:
It all started in 1979, when Joe and his friend, Tom Phillips, manager of a local sporting goods store, decided to form a group to promote running in the Raleigh area. Even though running was the focus, wine and cheese parties, and other social events set the tone for a club that promotes running as a fun sport and a good way to make friends.

“In the early days, we had Christmas potluck dinners with magic shows and singalongs for entertainment,” Lugiano said in an email. “For 25 years or so, we had an annual pilgrimage to Virginia Beach, where we had a group dinner on Friday night, ran one of the various races on Saturday, had a big awards dinner on Saturday night and then the annual group photo on the Boardwalk followed by a group run/walk and breakfast before heading home.”

NCRC_Officers.jpgToday, Joe is active in the storied Umstead 100-Mile Endurance Race. One of the premiere ultra-marathons in the country, it takes place at a beautiful state park in Wake County the first weekend in April.

Chuck Petersen is another ultra-marathoner, who at age 70, is going to tackle a 50 or 100 mile “jog in the park” on April 2.
“One of my memories as a club member was of our master’s running teams,” he wrote.

In the earlier days of the club, many of the road races included a Master’s division (over 40) and a Grand Master’s division (over 50). Often the race included a purse and money was awarded the top teams.

Chuck was the team coordinator and in charge of awarding the prize money. He deposited the teams’ winnings and wrote individual checks to the individual team members. The prizes were very small, he remembers. Runners got checks for as little as $5.00, with the notation: Your Share of Running Team Winnings.

“One of the problems I had was that many of the Grand Master’s team members would not cash their checks. It would become affixed to their refrigerators or framed and shown to their grandchildren,” he said.

Chuck, who lives in Florida now, started picking up loose change he found on the ground during his long runs and donating it to the Duke Comprehensive Cancer Center at Duke University. After nearly 25 years of money-running, he has donated a grand total of $6,785.42 (and yes, he keeps track of every penny).

His generous ways are just a reflection of NCRC’s overall generosity. Over the years, the club’s races have raised money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation; Interact, a local women’s shelter; Lutheran Family Services; American Cancer Society; Tammy Lynn Center, and other charities.

The Club runs on guiding principles that have served the local running community well, including: conduct fun runs; provide accurately measured and certified courses; provide well-organized races at a reasonable cost; promote safety; hold group outings and family events; encourage volunteerism; encourage good nutrition; improvement through training; promote competition.

Last year, the NCRC won the Roadrunner’s Club of America’s Most Outstanding Newsletter Award among large clubs for The Running Account.
Newsletter editor Esther Dill ran her first 10K more than 30 years ago in Long Beach, CA.
“After that I was hooked and called myself a runner,” she said.

NCRC_Myrtle_Beach,jpg.jpgTen years later she moved to North Carolina and ran in the first Raleigh Marathon in 2000. In December, she plans to run her 20th marathon in Honolulu, HI. Last fall, she qualified for the Boston Marathon, which she will run in 2012.

“I have always looked forward to receiving my (NCRC) newsletter and quickly turned to the Race Calendar so I could circle all the races I wanted to enter. I enjoyed reading the race reports because it inspired me to try running some of those races too,” she wrote for the current issue of The Running Account.

Races are still very much a part of the NCRC, but the camaraderie is what keeps members coming back for more.

Today, the club has about 700 members. Dues are $25 a year for individual members and $30 for families. Memberships include the bimonthly newsletter, discounts at area running stores, the right to purchase club clothing, compete on club teams, vote and hold office, and fully participate in all club functions.

And guests are always welcome.

Lena Hollmann has been an active NCRC member since 2003. She first joined the club briefly in the 1980s and was a member of the club’s racing team.

“We had some fast runners,” she wrote. “We had enough speedsters that you had to be able to run a 5K in under 20 minutes to be on the team.”
Lena moved to New Jersey for about 10 years and joined NCRC again as soon as she returned “home.”

“It’s a great club, and I enjoy all events, especially the Summertime Thursday Night (Series) runs,” she wrote. “They are a great way to socialize and get a run in, and one of several reasons why I’m looking forward to spring.”

The NCRC’s history, recorded through 2004 for the 25th Anniversary of the Club, chronicles runs with all sorts of funny names: Pine Level Fireman’s Run 10K; Spivey’s Corners Hollerin’ Run 10K; Rainbow Run 10K; The Collard Festival Footrace; Fayetteville 3-Day Marathon; First Annual Mullet Festival 10K, and even a Running Mates Race for married couples only.

Through the years, the club has raised money from backgammon tournaments. The newsletter featured a literary corner, filled with poetry about running, and even carried articles on cooking. A notable first such column was on how to make Stir Fry Pork in Fermented Black Bean Sauce, followed by a satirical piece on deadly gas.

NCRC has always featured a little something for everyone.

“Being an NCRC member is not just about showing up for races, getting discounts at running stores, or getting my newsletter – it’s calling myself a runner and being a part of your running experience and community,” Esther wrote. “We cross paths on the (local favorite running paths) American Tobacco Trail, Umstead, Shelley Lake. We race to the finish line at the Turkey Trot, and party on after the Myrtle Beach Marathon. We are runners together.”

For more information on NCRC visit

1)Runners take off at the start of the NCRC 10th Annual Resolution Run January 1, 2011. -- Photo by Teri Saylor

2)Members of the NCRC Board of Directors enjoy meeting in a coffee shop in Raleigh, NC. Left-to-right are Elizabeth Mulley, Rebecca Sitton, Mike Waldvogel, Brad Boyles, Bob Hastings, and Dave Rouse.`-- Photo by Teri Saylor

3)In 2010, a freak snowstorm cancelled the Myrtle Beach Marathon but NCRC runners ran anyway, along with many others who had traveled to the beach for the marathon. By mid-morning, the snow had mostly melted and the race committee set up the finish line and handed out medals to runners who finished the race. Pictured left to right, front row, are Teri Siragusa, Esther Dill, Teri Saylor, Linda Banks. Back row, left to right, are Jeanette Hagood, Carolyn Quarterman, Steve Futrell, Gary Franks, and Kym Smith. -- Photo courtesy of Esther Dill

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