“Representing” the Empire Runners at USATF Masters Nationals, by Doug Murdoch

If you’re an Empire Runners Club member, you may not realize how unique our club actually is.

Last year when I ran in the Pacific Association USATF track finals, I was wondering why there were so many people from other clubs at the event, and in comparison so few from Empire at the track meet. So I went online and checked out all the websites for the other bay area running clubs and found out the answer.

The Empire Runners puts on an astounding 17 races during the year! That’s including our five track meets. And we participate in up to 10 Cross Country meets by traveling  to a number of places including San Francisco, Hayward, Folsom, Martinez, San Rafael,  and Sacramento!!!

The vast majority of the other running clubs encourage their members to participate in races, but either they don’t put on their own running races, or only a couple. The only exception is the Tamalpa Runners, our southern neighbors, whom  I believe also put on approximately 17 events as well!

I’m proud of the club and I don’t take what we do for granted. And I’m proud of the increasing participation were getting in our Summer Track Series, boasting over three hundred participants at our Track Meet #2 which was also our Olympic Day celebration.

One of the greatest joys I receive from the club is simply running with kids, teenagers, college students, thirty somethings, and people of all ages. Experiencing this energy from other club members  is really remarkable.

And of course there is the incredible support that we all receive from other club members, who are amazingly positive and supportive, despite the litany of injuries and the trials and tribulations of life that we all go through.

So when I toed the line at the start of the Senior Men’s 50-54 division of the 1500 meters, it meant something to wear that Empire jersey. I was truly representing an exceptional club with a long-standing tradition now almost forty years old. A club that has amazing competency and experience putting on races for the whole extended running community to enjoy, and participating in the PA USATF Cross Country program.

The short story of the race is that I was in third place most of the race and with three hundred meters to go I surged and moved into second place, and then finished .9 seconds behind the leader for second place, in 4:23.12.

But this blog post is not about my race. It’s about “representing” the club by wearing the racing singlet in a track meet, a road race, or a cross country meet, and being proud of that.  And trying to expand our members perception about what we do as a club.

Speaking for myself, I totally took for granted all the races the club puts on,  and participates in, and in ignorance I thought all running clubs did the same. I’ve been an Empire Runners member now for five years, and it took me four years to realize that the core competency of our club is putting on races.

It’s so easy just to show up at a race and run, and not be aware of the organizational zeal it takes to put one on. But now having had some exposure to the behind the scenes organization of the races, it’s A LOT OF WORK. And the Empire Runners Club has a dedicated core group of people that put these races as well as organize our cross country program  that deserve recognition.

So I encourage our club members to wear the Empire Runners jersey proudly, to not only represent an extraordinary club with a long tradition of dedication to the running community, but also to appreciate what the club has done for you personally.

Here is the race video: https://www.facebook.com/dan.monteau/videos/10206680083468059/?pnref=story

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