Crim Weekend Part 1 – The 30 Year Club
The Crim event has a long history of innovation in the world of road racing. Dating back to the first Crim in 1977 when it linked world class runners with charity. Then was the method of tracking thousands of runners through the finishing shoots, which evolved to the use of a microchip tied to the runners shoe laces, and ultimately led to the ubiquitous bib tracking system. Crim was also a trend setter when it came to including other race distances to accompany the featured 10 mile race. But the one truly unique and extremely popular feature is the establishment of the 30 Year Club.
The 30 Year Club was formed in 2006 as a part of the celebration for the 30th anniversary of the Crim 10 Mile event. Prior to that time the Crim organizers, led by the volunteer effort of Riley McLincha, who is today, one of the remaining 17 runners to compete in each and every Crim, had actually been tracking a group of runners who had completed each and every Crim since the first race in 1977. This small group of runners were recognized before the start of each Crim and given a special head start ahead of the field of thousands.
The club remained active and in tact over the intervening years primarily due to the efforts of John Jerome. John has run every Crim except the first one. However, this year John announced his retirement from his unofficial duties as the CEO of the club and when word went out about John’s retirement, newcomer Dan Bishop answered the call. I think I speak for all of the club members by wishing you well in your new career and we all offer our help in the future.
In 2006, this field of special runners were officially designated as 30 Year runners and the 30 Year Club was formed. Every year since, runners who would be running their 30th Crim were welcomed into the Club during a special ceremony the Thursday evening prior to race day. Since then, the number of members in the club has grown to over 175 including the 20 new members this year.
There is also now other subsets within the club, these are members who will be running their 35th and 40th Crims. As you might guess, the next subsets will be the 45 year runners in two years and the 50 year runners in seven years! All members receive a special number on their bib indicating their level of seniority in the club.
This year was my 33rd running of the Crim. I am a proud member of the 30 Year Club Class of 2016. Since that was also the 40th Crim, my classmates were welcomed into the club by Bill Rogers and the winner of the first Crim British runner Steve Kenyon.
The ceremony includes each new club member being introduced with a special story about their running history and what the Crim means to them. There are as many various special reasons each member loves the Crim as there are members. Most members are from Flint or have ties of some sort to the Flint area, including me. Genesee County is where my running career began while running for the Grand Blanc High School cross country and track teams. I was also working downtown Flint in 1977 during the first Crim but was totally unaware of the race. Probably because I was about to be married several weeks following that first race. Regardless, I am very happy to have discovered the Crim and it is the highlight of my running year!
Thanks for reading my post and be sure to check back next year following my 34th Crim!
Coach Lee, The Running Architect