By Doug Kish, MA
Frank Shorter’s victory in the marathon at the 1972 Olympics was the beginning of the running boom in the United States. Caught up in the frenzy, Terry Lewis became a runner. Lewis says, “Running provided a mental release from the day’s stresses and your mind could wander as you covered the miles. Long runs became the ordinary and I remember a period of time in life when if I was not going at least 5 miles, it was not worth getting dressed in shorts and shoes.”
The downside of the new sport was that in the 1970s it was hard to find running shoes. Nike was still a young company, sporting goods stores carried few if any of the available shoes and internet sales had not yet been discovered. Lewis decided to open a retail establishment dedicated to providing the essentials needed by runners. The first Runner’s Supply store was opened on February 1, 1978 in Canton, Ohio. Lewis recalls, “It was the landlord’s opinion that the store would not last more than a few months.” Over the years, Runner’s Supply grew and at one time they had three locations in Northeastern Ohio.
Runner’s Supply began to organize races, one of the first being a 5 mile race in historic Zoar, Ohio. That race became a favorite of runners with a record of 1,300 participants in the early 1980s. Becoming more involved with running events over the years, in 1999 Runner’s Supply began what was then called the Nike $10,000.00 Challenge, subsequently renamed the Subway Challenge Series and now called the Ohio Challenge Series. Timing methods were improved. In the early 2000s races began to use the ChampionChip to allow timing of more events. This method started with the shoe tag, progressed to the double bib tag and is currently the single disposable bib timing tag. RS Racing partnered with ChronoTrack Timing through the years to advance this most accurate system of timing racers.
Although the scoring format changed over the years, the basics remained the same. Points were calculated from a number of events and at the end of the year there were winners both overall and in age groups. The ability to sign up for various races has also improved over the years. RunSignUp and Chronotrack now enable participants to register for events, receive media updates and review results in a timely fashion.
For complete information about Ohio Challenge Series events, check out their website at www.ohiochallengeseries.com. In 2016 they will feature a 5K Series, 10K Series, Half Marathon Series, and a Walking Series.
RS Racing Ohio