“I love running and I love being a goodwill ambassador of our sport. There is nothing I enjoy as much as being with runners and trying to help and inspire them. Everything I have done for our sport has come from my heart.” ~ Mitch Garner, Ann Arbor Track Club President 2008 – 2018
To be a dynamic leader, any number of qualities is needed, but at the very top of the list is passion. Mitch Garner, Ann Arbor Track Club President since 2008, embodies the essence of passion for ‘all things running.’
University of Michigan student athlete, Sullivan Award finalist, AATC Board Fellow, Erin Finn, reflects on meeting Garner for the very first time in 2016 –
“I met Mitch before a Tuesday night AATC workout at Ferry Field as I was leaving my practice for the day. Mitch’s enthusiasm and excitement were the first things I recognized and his kindness left me smiling. In the years since, I have learned that this joy is Mitch’s natural state; I have never seen him not radiating positivity. He has improved my life and the lives of runners in the Ann Arbor community.”
It is this unadulterated ardor and kindheartedness that draws people in and brings them together allowing for a congenial, inspired working environment resulting in truly extraordinary achievements.
A few highlights of the valuable work accomplished under Mitch’s leadership as president, which will come to an end on the final day of 2018, include –
~ Significant increased funding for the AATC Youth Division
~ The establishment of a college scholarship program for local high school students and a travel stipend for local athletes who have qualified to compete in the USA Olympic Track & Field Trials
~ An enhanced relationship with the University of Michigan’s Department of Athletics and an established rapport with MRun, U of M’s non-varsity running club
~ Support of untold numbers of local and national charities through Club donations and AATC hosted races
~ Participation, for the first time in Club history, in the University of Michigan’s Board Fellowship Program
~ Road Runner Club of America Runner Friendly Community designation, Most Outstanding in 2015, for the city of Ann Arbor
These feats and more are all in addition to helping countless runners of all ages and abilities achieve what at times may have seemed insurmountable goals, along with enjoying the bonds of friendship and discovering innumerable wonders of running.
Good leaders, no matter their achievements, know when it’s time to entrust responsibilities to capable successors; great leaders willingly do so even before their fires have dimmed.
“The AATC needs a facelift,” Garner surmised. “Times have changed, and we need to adjust to the times.”
While Garner will remain an active member of the Board of Directors, he is excited to support the new executive committee (effective 1/1/19) including president, Dina Shtull, vice president, Laurel Park, secretary, Javier Pescador and treasurer, James Edwards, take the Club to even higher levels and attract more runners with their fresh ideas and perspectives.
In addition, Garner will continue his second term of service as RRCA President through April 2020 and is the first to ever hold the distinction of both offices.
Through the years, over and again, Mitch has thanked us for the opportunity to serve the AATC and running community at large, but the pleasure and honor of having such a formidable leader is akin to a light that will always shine and stand the test of time.