Downtown Runners and Walkers 25th Anniversary

Downtown Runners and Walkers 25th Anniversary

Downtown Runners and Walkers 25th Anniversary

Tuesday, the Downtown Runners and Walkers club packed the banquet room at Vivio’s restaurant in Eastern Market to celebrate 25 years as an organized club in the city of Detroit.
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Since 1983 the club has been meeting rain, snow or shine, every Tuesday at various bars and restaurants in downtown Detroit with some occasional field trips to join other clubs. Twenty to forty athletes of all abilities, from seasoned marathoners to beginning walkers, begin each week at 5:45 pm. They are usually joined by more club members as they gather afterward for a few beers and a meal.

There have never been membership dues. Money derived from hosting races and occasional sponsors have supported club functions, such as the annual black tie dinner dance held every December and their spring and summer picnics.

Ralph Judd, one of DR&W’s senior members has run all thirty Detroit Free Press/Flagstar Marathon. He helps orchestrate each week’s meeting locations. Judd had this to say about the club. “Besides running with them it also serves as a support group. I know of over twenty marriages of couples who met at our Tuesday night run, annual Christmas party or another club event. When a member is going through a job loss, divorce, death in the family or a serious injury that prevents them from running, the group is always available for support.”

Member Ken Davenport, who works at downtown’s Compuware, supports the club’s web site and keeps track of the 200 plus member email addresses on his database. Davenport noted, “The one thing about the Downtown Runners/Walkers that I'm proud of and still somewhat amazed at, are the friendships that have been formed over the years. Within our group I've seen members form bonds as if they were childhood buddies. Yes, we've had the occasion romantic relationship come from our group but to have long-lasting friendships is altogether different.”

John Scott, one of the DR&W’s race and party organizers sees the club as family. “It doesn't matter what your per mile pace is, you're always welcome. It delights me to see 40+ of us running, walking, eating, drinking, and most importantly, swapping stories every Tuesday night. The numerous friendships I have developed through the club are sincere, deep and ever growing. At times, it's even therapeutic. Where else can you find such a diverse group of people who are always glad to see you, whether you show up every Tuesday or only once in a blue moon. I love how anyone can become a member, just show up!”

Jeanne Bocci is probably best known as the director of Detroit’s New Years Eve Run and she’s been a member of many professional organizations in Detroit. “Because I raised my family with religion weekly and now that they have their own families, I now call my Tuesday Downtown Runners gathering as my "Going to Church" and will not make any other commitments on that night.”

“After I joined this group, they became my backbone of volunteers and co-directors. Their dedication to volunteering has encouraged me to give back to the group as much as I possibly can both in friendship and organizing annual picnics. Club members are always welcome to our home as we have an open door policy.”

As a club member myself, I’m impressed by the wonderful mix of young, fast and serious runners to walkers over eight years old. Mark Shehan is one of the youngsters organizing club teams for major races. He credits the group with helping him through a divorce as well as preparing for the Boston Marathon. Shehan said that “Within the club we have a pretty tight knit group that helps each other train for Detroit and Chicago’s Marathons, Dances With Dirt and the Great Lakes Relay.”

Want to run with the group? You can contact the club at 248-356-0825, [email protected] or go to their web site at: http://downto.hostme.com

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