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Proud of Pushing the Limits With Darkside Running Club

Date: 
06/01/2017 - 18:42

By Scott Ludwig

It started out almost as a joke. ‘The Darkside’ as we called ourselves in the mid-1990’s when Al Barker, Valerie Howard and I started running weekly 20-milers so we would be ‘marathon ready’ year round. While all of the other runners in town were eating pancakes or getting ready for church after their six or eight mile Sunday morning runs, the three of us were still on the trails doing what we liked to do best.

In 2002 the three of us, along with Kelly Murzynsky, Paula May and Sue Bozgoz decided to form the Darkside Running Club. I was selected (not elected, but selected) to be President. Little did I know at the time the title of President also bestowed upon me the duties of the Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Newsletter Editor, Race Director. Volunteer Coordinator and essentially any other job that needed to be done at any given time.

Over time the club — primarily via word of mouth — took on additional members and during the winter of 2017 we welcomed our 500th member — or ‘Darksiders’ as we prefer to be called. I always said that when our club membership reached 500 it would be time for a new President, although truth be known I’ve been searching for a new President for the past two years. Coincidentally, one of our members stepped forward to take over as President at just about the same time we welcomed our 500th Darksider. I’m guessing karma had a little something to do with it.

As of July 1, 2017 Joye McElroy will assume the Presidency of the Darkside Running Club. Joye has asked me to stay close in an unofficial capacity, to which I agreed … as long as I’m referred to as President Emeritus. (Note: I was half kidding when I mentioned it, but when she agreed I thought it sounded sort of cool. So I’m using it. Try and stop me.)

Whatever the case, after more than 15 years directing the club I was part of putting together, it’s going to be a little hard for me to let go. I know what you’re thinking: “Baby steps.” That’s probably how it will be, and I’m good with that. But it won’t be the same.

After directing well over 100 Darkside events, publishing 63 issues (totaling more than 4,000 pages) of absolutely true … Takes from the DARKSIDE (our quarterly newsletter) and doing everything in my power to promote our running club to the rest of the world, it’s going to be quite a change for me to step aside.

I’ve enjoyed being in the driver’s seat all of these years. Welcoming new members into the club, seeing so many runners doing things they never dreamed possible, introducing so many people to the sport of running and, best of all, promoting their accomplishments are the things that made being President of the Darkside Running Club so darn rewarding.

I’m proud of what the Darkside Running Club represents: Setting your goals high, encouraging and supporting your fellow runners, never giving up or backing down from a challenge and doing things you always dreamed of doing but never thought possible. Best of all, it’s the only running club I know of that essentially pays you to be a member.

Allow me to explain: dues are $35 per family. There is nothing else to pay to be a member…ever. Any profits the club incurs (primarily through entry fees) is given back to the members through reduced entry fees to Darkside events, occasional stipends for sponsored races and various other fringe benefits that you’d have to be a member to know about.

I doubt you’ll find another running club anything like it. If you do, chances are they borrowed their formula from us.

Here’s to many more years of pushing the limits of human endurance and making the impossible possible. Here’s to many more years … of the Darkside Running Club.

We’re in it for the long run.

(Scott Ludwig is president and founder of Darkside Running Club (.com). He lives in the Atlanta area and is the author of 11 books – 7 about running – and is working on others. Scott’s book “Running to Extremes: The Legendary Athletes of Ultra Running” is now available. It features stories on Ray Zahab, Dean Karnazes, Larry Macon, Mark Covert, Ed Ettinghausen, Mike Morton, Tim Twietmeyer, Ann Trason and seven other amazing athletes of long distance running. You can find it on Amazon and most major booksellers. The book is inspired by and dedicated to the enduring memory and legacy of Ted Corbitt. Scott can be reached at darksiderunning@comcast.net. He also has a blog at ScottLudwigRunsandWrites.blogspot.com where his books are available – or at any major online bookstore.)

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