Joe Schmitt writes a weekly blog called The Good Life, featuring information about the region’s history, culture, climate and economy. The blog also showcases new residents, clubs and organizations, outdoor recreational opportunities and local events.
Despite the reported high of 20° F and a low of -2° F, over 160 runners turned out for the opening day of the Winter Race Series put on by the Hard Core Runners Club (HCR) of Yakima. The course covered 3 miles on the Yakima Greenway and was the first in a four set series that takes place now through January 19th.
The race series was devised 21 years ago by HCR member, Kenn Zahn, as a low key way to stay motivated through the cold winter months. The first race saw a turnout of 30 runners in subfreezing biting wind that had runners scrambling for footing atop several inches of icy compacted snow. Multiple injuries ensued as runners slid down slippery hillsides, but that didn’t stop the race series from forging on for the next 20 years.
“We never went back to that course,” said HCR club President Frank Purdy.
Purdy, who has been running since eighth grade, was impressed with the quality of the people and organization of the club when he joined in 1978. He left for a brief stint and has been a member since 1989.
“I got out of college in the mid-1970’s just in time for the first running boom, so I never really stopped. This is a sport that truly can last a lifetime,” Frank reminisced.
Founded in November of 1977, the name is a play on words of the local fruit industry and the logo is an apple core. The club sponsors and puts on the Frosty Four Miler Race in February, the Yakima River Canyon Marathon in April, the Clear Lake Memorial Races (5 Miles & 1/2 Marathon) in June, the Grey Rock Trail Runs (50K, 25K & 12K) in July, the Sun City ½ Marathon & 5K Race in October and the Winter Race Series in December-January. The club also co-participates with the Junior Gap to Gap and Gap to Gap in June at the Yakima Greenway.
For more info on becoming a member or for race schedules, check out their website.