Tracking down a longtime Swiss Days runner

We’re all getting psyched for the 40th running of the Swiss Days Race on July 27, and on a whim I tracked down longtime participant Mark Shorter — a Kokomo math teacher who turned out to be the guy who took our tickets* for Norwell’s Semistate baseball game — to get his perspective on the race.

“By my calculations this year will be my 30th Swiss Days,” wrote Shorter, longtime treasurer of the 400+ member Club Kokomo Roadrunners, in an email. “I ran in 1982, ’84, ’86, ’87 and ’89-2012.”

Shorter said he’s run 20-25 races a year since he started running in 1979, and it seemed natural to run a race in Berne since his wife, Adams Central graduate Debra Neadstine, is from the area.

Though there are many races in Kokomo and the surrounding area, few approach the number of participants that Swiss Days does, Shorter said, “which is a testament to the hard work that everyone on the committee does in preparation prior to the event and their work during the event.”

“Many people think having a race is easy,” he added. “Having been involved in the financial side of races dealing with pre-registration, race-day registration and finish-line work in several races each year, I can tell you that it is NOT an easy task.”

Swiss Days is one race where Shorter gets to just show up, socialize and run.  He does a decent job of that, by the way, having won his age group last year with a time of 24:07. (He ran a bit faster the year before but didn’t place as high because he was in a lower age group. One of the cool things about Swiss Days is that they award prizes out to 10th place in each age group.)

Though Shorter’s in-laws have passed on now, and their kids are grown and living out-of-state, he and his wife still enjoy their annual Swiss Days tradition, he wrote. And come September, they see some Berne area runners in Kokomo for the annual Girls Night Out 5K, a women’s only race held this year on September 14, a Saturday evening.

Sounds like fun. We’ll have to see if we can fit it into our schedule.


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