Not unlike the 1987 comedic movie sensation, Three Men and a Baby, the four incoming Ann Arbor Track Club Board members due to begin their tenure at the January 2018 Board of Directors meeting, are decades apart, each with their own unique wisdom, passion, humor and perspectives, qualities which will enable our club to flourish for many years to come.
Boomer #1, Aaron Pratt, is a self proclaimed “old guy” with a heart and lifestyle that defy geriatric living in the most literal sense.
After a lengthy hiatus from his high school running career from which he graduated in 1971, Pratt rekindled his relationship with our beloved sport.
“I needed something to improve my health,” Aaron explained, “so I started running somewhat desperately and started making an association between running and feeling better.”
Despite his earlier claims that “running’s too boring,” this devoted father, husband and computer programmer by trade is “pretty much hooked on marathon training.” Having reaped numerous social, health and training benefits as a member of the Club for nearly two decades, Aaron noted “I just thought I’d give being a board member a shot. Hopefully I’ll be able to give back to the running community.”
Dina Shtull, boomer #2, recalls the beginnings of her running career which commenced not quite ten years ago –
“When I began running more often after starting on a cruise vacation, my friend suggested I go to the indoor track on Tuesday nights. That’s how it began.”
And when she was invited to join Club members for a beer following the workout, Shtull was “hooked” and has since conquered her first marathon and half Ironman in March and August of 2017 respectively.
For Shtull, “running is the hardest part of a triathlon,” but Dina clarified “I’m thrilled when my feet touch the ground; I feel safer, where I belong.”
In Shtull’s decision to join the Board, she detailed, “Organizations grow with active lay involvement and constantly need to question their relevancy and added value. I hope to help the AATC maintain its status as a premier running organization and venue for all runners regardless of age and pace. When I began, I felt comfortable running at my own pace and working on my own PR. Joining the board is part of showing some gratitude and giving back.”
Rounding out our newly ordained boomer Board members is Javier Pescador, Michigan State professor and documentarian filmmaker with a love for movies, books, cooking, and sports, as triathlons, film festivals and bike tours make up his most favorite hobbies.
Javier joined the Club in 2016 and adamantly articulated, “The AATC has been a crucial element in my experiences in races and triathlons. I decided to participate in the club’s board in an effort to express my gratitude.
“I love the fact that the organization is open to all types of runners and that it has made a systematic effort to establish connections with larger causes and other organizations to touch as many people as possible. I look forward to contributing to the strength and prestige of the Club and continuing its progress as a model organization in promoting fitness in an inclusive, diverse, professional and collegial fashion. I would also love to play a role in creating a memorable event for the 50th anniversary of the Club.”
Last but far from least is our millennial, Andrew Schofield, a twenty-nine year old pharmaceutical sales professional who is enchanted with the competitive aspect of running.
“Competition is the truest form of athletics,” Schofield attests. “The time I run is a direct result of the effort I put in. Competing against the clock creates no room for excuses, either you ran the time you wanted or you didn’t.”
A former track and football hero at Hope College in Holland, MI, Andrew continues a regimented training schedule.
“I rarely miss a workout because not only is it important physically, but I think it gives you a psychological edge throughout the day.”
Ambitious and strong, Schofield leaves little doubt that he will achieve success in his goals to shave sixteen seconds off his current mile best of 5:16 and draw in a younger group of runners to join the Club.
Proud and grateful, Ann Arbor Track Club President, Mitch Garner concurs, “It is important that younger members of our club come forward and answer the call to service so that our club will continue to prosper as current Board members step down after completing their Board service.”
And Garner adds, “I am confident that Javier, Dina, Aaron and Andrew will take the baton of leadership and run with it, making their own unique contributions as Board members.”
The beautiful bond of love whether for a child, partner or sport unites generations of all sorts leading to bright, prosperous futures, and I for one cannot wait to see what transpires for the AATC with its continued preeminent, passionate leadership.