Since its inception nearly 35 years ago, Chautauqua Striders has encouraged young people to channel their energies into physical activity and to persevere in pursuit of their goals.
Encouraging and promoting participation in the sport of track and field through USA Track and Field youth programs, athletes between the ages of 4 and 18 years old not only learn how to run, jump and throw, but run faster, jump higher, and throw farther.
In 2008 Chautauqua Striders "grew up" by adding a program for adult runners and walkers. Initially called the "Running & Walking Club," the program is now called the "Athletic Club." The Athletic Club has more than 100 members and its mission is to encourage and promote lifelong fitness through running and walking.
The Lucy Town Half Marathon was held Oct. 13.
One-year memberships are available for college students for $15, individuals for $25, couples for $35 and families for $40. All dues paid by membership help support youth track and field programs offered by Chautauqua Striders. Additionally, many of the members volunteer at youth track and field events or volunteer on several race committees. Some of the benefits Athletic Club members receive are:
Emailed race application, information and results.
25 percent discount on running shoes and apparel at Jock Shop in Jamestown.
Opportunity to participate on competitive or club team.
Social running groups and camaraderie.
Local runners can now become members of the Athletic Club and receive the rest of 2013 and 2014. The 2014 Athletic Club Race application is available at www.chautauqua-striders.org.
An additional benefit of an Athletic Club membership is entry into the Winter 5K Series. The Winter 5K Series is an "age-graded" five-race series and a way for runners to stay active during January and February. Age-grading levels the playing field for all runners, just as a "handicap" is intended to do in golf and bowling. It provides the runner with the percentage value of an "ideal" or best time for his or her age and gender. This percentage is then compared to other runners.
The runners are then ranked with highest percentages first.
The Winter 5K Series fills a void in the race calendar and introduces runners to "age-grading" results.
More information on 2014 Winter 5K Series and age-grading, is available on the Chautauqua Striders website at www.chautauqua-striders.org.
The Chautauqua Striders Athletic Club also hosts the Chautauqua County Runner of the Year Series. The Runner of the Year Series is sponsored by WCA Center for Orthopedics, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation and it is designed to determine the top area distance runners. There is no additional application or fee to participate in the Runner of the Year Series. During the year, runners accumulate points in selected area races. In 2013, the 12 selected races were:
St. Pat's Dash: 3 miles, Saturday, March 16
Salvation Army Anew Run: 5K (3.1 miles); Saturday, April 13
Wooden Shoe 5K: 5K (3.1 miles); Saturday, May 18
Ripley's Race to Wellness: 5K (3.1 miles); Saturday, June 15
Lakewood Family YMCA Firecracker 10K Run:10K (6.2 miles); Thursday, July 4
Laurel Run: 8K (4.97 miles); Saturday, July 20
Dunkirk Lakefront 5K:5K (3.1 miles); Saturday, August 10
Daniel Feather Memorial 5K: 5K (3.1 miles); Sunday, Sept. 1
Bemus Point 15K: 15K (9.3 miles); Sunday, Sept. 29
Lucy Town Half Marathon: Half Marathon (13.1 miles); Sunday, Oct. 13
Heritage Trick & Trot Run & Walk: 5K (3.1 miles); Saturday, Oct. 26
Amy's Run: 5K (3.1 miles); Saturday, Nov. 30
There are separate divisions for males and females who compete for overall and age-group titles as well as age-group competition. Points are awarded and accumulated for both overall and age group categories. Age groups are as follows: 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, and 70 and over. Runners are placed in age-group categories based upon their age on Dec. 31.
The Lucy Town Half Marathon was added to the 2013 WCA Center for Orthopedics, Sports Medicine and Rehabilitation Runner of the Year Series and had more than 400 participants.
In each category, the runner with the most points at the end of the year will be crowned "Runner of the Year." The Runner of the Year awards will be distributed at the Chautauqua Striders Annual Banquet in February. The 2013 Runner of the Year Series will conclude at the Amy's Run on Saturday, Nov. 30. Race and entry information is available at the Chautauqua Striders website at www.chautauqua-striders.org. The 2014 Runner of the Year Series race schedule will be announced in early January.
The Ultra Award is also an award available to members of the Athletic Club who earn points by participating in road races throughout the year. Participation can occur in any road race throughout the world. Individuals will earn points, based on their age and distance of the race. The purpose of this award is to recognize those who may not be the fastest in their age group, but show a passion for running and participating in races.
Any specific questions about the Athletic Club can be directed to Mike Engdahl, Athletic Club chair, at 485-6913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Originally founded in 1979 as a local track club, Chautauqua Striders has since developed into a multi-faceted community organization, proudly offering diversified programs that incorporate its mission to "mentor and guide youth through education, advocacy and athletics." The nonprofit agency, based in Jamestown, provides tutoring, mentoring, outreach and athletic programs to more than 2,000 Chautauqua County youth annually. The goal of Chautauqua Striders is to help youth graduate high school inspired with the knowledge, skills, and confidence required for successful college and career experiences.
For more information about any of the 28 programs offered by Chautauqua Striders to our community's youth and families, visit www.chautauqua-striders.org, call 488-2203 and like us on Facebook.