Wally Herrala, 74, is a wise man.
A prominent competitor actively involved with the Ann Arbor Track Club since 1978, Herrala, is “appreciative” not only of those who started the Club, but of all the “forward thinkers” who have made the Club what it is today, a fortress of strength and support in the Ann Arbor community.
To celebrate its 50 year anniversary in conjunction with the 45th running of the Dexter-Ann Arbor Run, nearly one hundred fifty like-minded individuals representing numerous generations came together on the last evening in May for the AATC 50th Anniversary Party held at Weber’s Ann Arbor where guests enjoyed a veritable feast of “light hors d’oeuvres” featuring prime rib, fresh fruit, warm rolls, elaborate desserts and more, followed by an inspiring video, entertaining speakers, trivia games and dancing.
The video, “You Will Never Run Alone,” and its catch phrase, “Come Run with Us,” delineate the Club’s inclusiveness for every age, gender, talent level and every other quality that makes us so wonderfully unique.
AATC President, Mitch Garner, has always believed, “There is more to our sport than running fast.
“Compete,” Garner explains, “comes from the Latin word, competere, the true meaning of which is to seek together,” something Mitch is most proud our Club promotes – “the feeling of being on a team, connecting people as we seek together, achieve fulfillment and learn about each other in the process.”
Humbly proud, Garner acknowledges how wonderful it is to be President while simultaneously giving credit to all of the past presidents and “people behind the scenes,” volunteers whom our organization could not survive without.
Andrew Schofield, one of the Club’s most recent and youthful additions to its Board of Directors, “likes that the work he puts in goes back to the community. And it’s not only the running community that benefits. Over the years, much in part to the success of its Dexter-Ann Arbor Run along with a variety of other Club races, Garner estimates that “the AATC has donated hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars” to a wide variety of charitable organizations, including the likes of the Wounded Warrior Project, Burns Park Elementary PTO and City of Ann Arbor Parks & Recreation Services Scholarship Fund to name merely a few.
So while this momentous occasion celebrates our Club’s history and expresses gratitude to the many past and present Club officers, race directors, members and volunteers, it most certainly also celebrates you.
Without your participation in a Club race or mention of us to a friend or continuing to spread the beauty of our sport by being out there putting one foot in front of the other, inspiring others to do the same, the Ann Arbor Track Club would be at a loss.
So “Come Run with Us” or volunteer or simply come and hang out, bless us with your presence, your feedback, your “forward thinking” and innovative ideas.
Because as Herrala so profoundly points out, no matter how ‘change’ may appear at times to be a ‘four letter word,’ it is essential for growth and survival which our Club plans to do for at least another half century, and we welcome you to join us.