2009 Bellin BoothWhat a whirlwind the last few days have been at the Bellin Run promoting Run at Destruction!   Talk – Book Signings – Run – Books Signing – Party!

At the 33rd Bellin Run – I was awed to share the  pre-race stage with Marathon Olympians Joan Benoit Samuelson and Bill Rodgers. Kelly McBride from the Green Bay Press-Gazette also ran an article about me. Because I’d done research for my book, Run at Destruction, a true murder mystery about my best friend’s death, set in Green Bay during the 1980’s running boom, I’d become a bit of a historian about the sport’s beginnings in our community.  In addition to reading excerpts from my book – I shared how our running movement was launched.

In 1976, George Kerwin, now Bellin Health’s President and CEO, attended the Quiet Company 10K in Milwaukee where Frank Shorter, the Olympic Gold and Silver Medallist ran. Following that race George contacted my husband, Jim Drews (an all-American cross country & track runner), Dick Lytie (our local running guru), and Ron Dauplaise (former East High Track Coach & father of fellow author, Mike Dauplaise.) The four of them met at Dick’s house, sitting around his kitchen table, discussing how Bellin might approach this kind of run in Green Bay. Then in June of 1977, the first Bellin Run was held, attracting around 700 runners. A big turnout at that time! (This year’s had more than 15,000.) I looked back at that first year’s participant list and within the top 40 runners, 20 were personal friends of Jim’s and mine from college. Sure they thought the race sounded interesting, but honestly most of these guys, that were in their mid-twenties, also liked the idea that Jim and I were hosting the post run party in

1986 Bellin - Joan Benoit Samuelson at my house

1986 Bellin - Joan Benoit Samuelson at my house

 conjunction with Bellin – and it included free beer.

My husband had been used to winning races, but because Frank Shorter had agreed to come, Jim placed second, running a 30:41, ten seconds behind Shorter. In later years, I remember George Kerwin escorting the elite runners over to our home. I told the audience that both Bill Rodgers and Joan Benoit Samuelson actually sat on my couch eating potluck food, compliments of our Fun Run Group.  

So… after my talk – Joan and Bill took the stage. Joan told a story about how she kept special “treasures” in a tackle box in her bedroom. One of these was her 1984 Olympic Marathon ring. A friend called her and said that he’d seen it for sale on e-bay. Sure enough, she checked and it was indeed missing!  Luckily she got it back, but she turned to me and said, “Lynda, maybe that can be the next mystery you write about!”   In turn, Bill Rodgers talked about his previous Bellin Runs. He’d brought his first place plaque that he’d won in 1978 to donate back to Bellin. But instead, he decided to sign it over to my husband. At the second annual Bellin, Jim had once again placed second – running a 29:56 – this time 19 seconds behind Rodgers. 

Finally Jim has a first place Bellin plaque!    

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