March 11, 2000
by Terry Hutchins
(additions by Jay Campbell on April 10, 2002)
The Kalamazoo Track Club started as the Mall City Pacers about 1967. Local running greats Tom Coyne, Terry Doxey, Jim Schafer and a few other dedicated runners were the nucleus of Kalamazoo’s first local running club.
The Mall City Pacers became the Kalamazoo Track Club (KTC) about 1975. A few former Western Michigan University track and field competitors convinced the road runners they should be supporting track and field athletes as well as road running. The Kalamazoo Track Club never became a local version of “Athletics West” that some of the members had envisioned.
About 1978 the club made another transition under the leadership of running legend Blaine Lam and others that recognized that not all runners were running to compete. The legacy of this last change that broaden the club’s inclusiveness is KTC’s philosophy: “The Kalamazoo Track Club is a non-profit organization that attempts to combine the social and competitive aspects of running.“
On March 14, 2002, the name of the club was changed to Kalamazoo Area Runners (KAR). The new name better described the purpose of the club. New challenges for the club included a smaller and more diverse membership.
In 2005, the Battle Creek Road Runners (BCRR) joined forces with the KAR to form one of southwest Michigan’s largest running clubs.
The club is the founder of the oldest continuous running event in Kalamazoo, the Kalamazoo Klassic, that began on June 30, 1979.