The Avondale Running Club
ABOUT THE AVONDALE RUNNING CLUB
Black runners began running and participating in local road races around 1978. In 1984 Six of these runners began running together regularly on
weekends to stay fit. At some point it was suggested they form a running club. An exploratory meeting was held at the Cincinnati Bible College on
Reading Road in Avondale. In February of 1984, the first recorded meeting, the group decided to call themselves the Avondale Running Club (ARC).
Officers were appointed, bylaws written and a Mission Statement crafted. The members continued to meet and run through out Avondale and other
areas of Cincinnati. ARC members participated in area foot races and met other runners who were encouraged to join and share the weekly fun, and
sometimes the pain, of running.
The ARC began growing almost immediately. At first they were all runners but during the late 80’s several walkers joined the thriving group and its
character began to emerge. It became a club of Runners and Walkers. Today the club is organized to promote health and fitness through programs
of brisk walking, road racing, bike riding, cross country runs, and other field events in a spirit of fun and competition. And while the club encourages
members to adhere to a consistent program of physical fitness, those members who enter competitive activities enthusiastically supported and
FOCUS ON CHARITY:
The meeting location was eventually moved to the Melrose Branch YMCA in Walnut Hills. The number of Black runners and walkers continued to
increase and the club became involved in YMCA programs. ARC coined the phrase “Feet in the Street” to label the 5K foot it organized and directed
to support raising funds for youth programming at the Y. The 5K course through streets around the YMCA branch is USATF certified. ARC has also
organized and directed races and fun walks for the Marva Collins College Prep (now Cleaster Mims) charter school, the Sickle Cell Anemia support
group, the Avondale Community Council, YMCA Summerfest, Moms on the Move and the Center for Closing the Health Gap. By 2006 a total of 45
runners and walkers held club membership.
The Club will aware its first $1,000 scholarship through the YMCA youth Black Achievers program in 2007 to a high school student entering the
college of his/her choice. In 2007 the Avondale Running Club dedicated itself to making a difference in the Avondale Community Councils effort to
promote good health in the community. The club organized and led a 5K fitness walk to launch the annual community Festival and Health Fair. The
club also sponsored Miles for Moms, a one mile walk for moms and their little ones. In 2008 the Center for Closing the Health Gap contracted with
ARC to develop a model walking program for the Walnut Hills and Norwood Neighborhoods.
We have made charitable donations to the Masonic Learning Center benefiting children with Dyslexia, and Re/Max Miracle Miles, benefiting the
children’s Miracle Network, an alliance of premier hospitals for children. The Hirsch Recreation Center, Girls CAN, Girls on the run, the Red Cross
and Katrina Hurricane relief and the Avondale Youth Council have all been recipients of ARC financial support.
The club participated in the 1998 inaugural Flying Pig Marathon by staffing a station to provide fluids for runners at the about the five mile location on
the 26.2 mile course. This event proved to be a big turning point for the ARC. The Pig fluid station created the opportunity for visibility and a
consistent means of raising funds to support the clubs charitable activities. More than 60 club members and friends participated in staffing that first
fluid station. In 2006 ARC had the most enthusiastic fluid station as voted the marathon runners voted. The ARC placed second in 2007 voting and
again claimed first place in 2008 voting. In 2007 the club the Flying Pig Marathon staff asked ARC to staff two fluid stations in recognition of the
efficient and enthusiastic way we run a fluid station. ARC is the only organization to staff two positions. We have also been enlisted to assist other
organizations new to the event to organize their fluid station.
In 2005 ARC established a presence on the World Wide Web and began to receive attention and inquiries from the local and regional racing and
walking community. ARC is located on the web at www.avondalerunningclub.com. The ARC became affiliated with the National Black Marathoner's
Association, NBMA, in 2005. One of our members is a director on the NBMA board and ARC is one of the largest affiliated clubs to participate in the
annual NBMA targeted marathon events around the country. We had a significant presence at the inaugural event in St. Louis in 2005 and at each
In 2008 ARC members accompanied State Senator Kearney during the first five miles of his walk from Cincinnati to Columbus to raise awareness in
infant mortality. We also drove to Columbus and walked out on the road to meet and accompany Senator Kearney and accompany him on the last
five miles of the journey to his senate office.
INDIVIDUAL MEMBER ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
Avondale Running Club members enjoy walking, running, cycling and swimming. Over the past 25 years they have left their marks around the city,
the region, the country and the globe. Judith Harmony, Elizabeth Brown and Najiyyah Duncan have been rated in their age groups as runner and
walker respectively. Gillis Bowden has run in every marathon in Ohio and is now focused on completing a marathon in each state in the union. We
anticipate he will get them all by April 2014. Elizabeth Brown has completed the prestigious Boston Marathon four times, 1993, 1994, 2005 and 2006.
She has completed marathons in Paris and Pauillac, France; Amsterdam, Holland; Lisbon, Portugal; Quebec City, Calgary, and Montreal Canada;
Lausanne, Switzerland, Belo Horizonte, Brazil and Vienna Austria. Natalie Graves has Lisbon, Portugal; Quebec City, Calgary, and Montreal Canada;
Lausanne, Switzerland and Belo Horizonte, Brazil in her international race calendar of events. Frances Gilbert has participated in each of the NBMA
target events. Frances Gilbert, Elizabeth Brown, Kim Zellars and Najiyyah Duncan have all scored awards at Fleet Feet Lady Distance Classic,
women’s only event. Finally, Frances Gilbert will be inducted in the inaugural class of the NBMA Hall of Fame at the Richmond, Virginia on November
16, 2014. The club has finishers medals and awards too numerous to count over the years.
NEW YEAR’S DAY TRADITION:
Annually the Avondale Running/walking Club members begin New Year’s Day with a fun run and walk brunch. The day starts at 9:00 AM when
members, family and friends, meet for the annual combined 3 to 5 mile run/walk. Immediately afterward, we chow down on member-prepared side
dishes. The club provides the main dish, usually chicken and turkey. It’s a great way to get the New Year off to fun, fitness, and good health. For
more than 25 years the event has taken place, no matter the weather!
The first Saturday of the each month, except for May, July and August, the club holds it business meeting at 9:00 AM. Initially meetings were held at
the Melrose Branch YMCA, then in members homes until 2005 when meetings were held at "One Mo Cup", a quaint coffee shop in North Side. Since
2005 meetings have been held at the Avondale Community Pride Center, 3520 Forest Avenue. Cincinnati, Ohio. Annual membership dues help to
support the administrative responsibilities of the club.
The Club publishes a yearly calendar of scheduled runs, walks, races and fund raising activities for members and friends.
Walkers, in cohort groups take to the Streets of Avondale, Glenwood Gardens in Woodlawn, Spring Grove Cemetery & Arboretum during the week
beginning as early as 5:30 AM but normally at 7:30 AM. They also join the runners at a set location on Sunday mornings.
Runners have a regular Sunday RUN SCHEDULE and rotation that begins at 7:30 AM. They run at Sharon Woods, Winton Woods, Glenwood
Gardens, Lunken Airport, Eden Park Overlook and Mt. Airy Forest.
The club is open to all who wish to join us in staying physically fit and spreading wellness and good health to others. Whether you run, power walk,
just walk for fun or you are training for competition you will find willing ARC club members ready to participate and provide support.