Running Shorts Summer 2021

Memories – Made on the Run!

By Tom Bresko

Throughout their existence, clubs across the country have enabled runners from beginner through advanced to gather in an atmosphere of camaraderie and competition. The Youngstown Road Runners Club has been doing so since the seventies. I’m proud to say I have been a member since then. Over the decades, a haze can dim the memories of race volunteerism, fun runs, picnics, “chili” Sundays and so much more. But for many members, a particular day, or perhaps even a single moment, will forever bring a smile when remembered years later. And if you’re really lucky, as I have been, you may be able to recall a period of years of magic and enchantment.

And here’s where Carolyn DeChristofaro comes into my story. Carolyn was, and still is, a tireless contributor to the YRRC. It would be hard to express the impact she had on the Club and its members during the early 2000s. During that time, Carolyn held various positions and was a constant volunteer at finish lines, picnics, and club functions. She was an outstanding YRRC ambassador who met all runners with a smile and a word of encouragement. Carolyn was energy in motion bringing a sense of optimism, calm and confidence to those around her. I have endless fond memories of Carolyn but a few of my favorites would be her “Ultimate Running Tours and Experiences.” You see, several times Carolyn found an interesting race, booked a bus and driver, reserved rooms in a hotel, collected fees, scheduled the itinerary and then acted as a personal guide to all who participated. And as the saying goes, “A good time was had by all!”

Once, a busload of us went to the Niagara Falls half and full marathons. If I remember correctly editor Rick Hart completed his second full marathon that same trip and conquered blistering Peace Bridge headwinds from Canada to the USA. All of us cheered his well-earned accomplishment! Most of us ran the half-marathon and crossed the finish line next to the rumble, roar and spray of a true Wonder of the World. This experience would be a highlight in any runners’ recollection.

In another instance, Carolyn opened not only her heart but literally her home—her condo in Fort Myers served as our command station for the Naples, FL. half-marathon. It was another runner’s “life event” organized and coordinated by Carolyn. There must have been 12 to 15 of us that made the journey. A day after arriving in the Sunshine State we ran the race course past palm trees and huge mansions in the gentle, golden Florida morning light. When we returned to her condo, we bragged of our efforts and experiences where Carolyn was the ultimate host (serving Digiorno’s pizza!) while everyone else “kicked back.” We talked and joked late into the night before falling asleep scattered about her condo’s floor.

Carolyn was quite the runner back then. I remember she ran a marathon, didn’t like her finish time, so ran another marathon seven days later. Who does that! Over the years Carolyn won dozens of age group awards and the whole YRRC was proud of her when she qualified for the Boston Marathon.

On a personal note, Carolyn, along with her husband Vic, helped me cope with a deep loss in my life. I am and will be forever grateful for their compassion and friendship.

Carolyn’s running story isn’t finished yet. Neither is her time with the YRRC. But those years at the turn of the millennium were special, and filled with laughter, friendship, and adventure. To me, it was Camelot, and a time of memories that will last forever.