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Featured Group—Dick Pond Fast Track Racing Team

The first of many groups featured By Jimanda.

For 2 years during summer marathon training we heard about the speed workouts held each Wednesday at the Harper College track in Palatine Illinois. They are hosted by a local running group called Dick Pond Fast Track Racing Team. Our perception early on was that this was a team of elite runners and we would be laughed off the track should we show up to a workout. Thanks to our good friend Moira, we discovered that was the furthest from the truth.

Moira got us to show up one week last summer and it was a decision well made. Everyone welcomed us with open arms.  It wasn’t at all what we envisioned. People from all walks of life showed and the workout was structured in a way that runners of all levels can participate without intimidation.

Wednesday night workouts at the track are always a blast
Wednesday night workouts at the track are always a blast

As we made our way around the track we were encouraged and cheered on by others. During one turn we heard the words “WAY TO GO” screamed in an abnormally loud tone from one of the team members. It was an energetic, military style, motivating and sincere cheer. Moira said, “That’s Dave! He’s the team President.”

Just over 10 years ago, Dave Schaefers, was used to training and racing with a handful of buddies on a regular basis.  After a couple of years that original group of six decided they should give their group a name. They called themselves the HardCore Runners. In 2006 they began organizing regular track workouts at Harper College and soon ordered screen printed singlets from Dick Pond Athletics. A running club was born.

Over time Dave learned the ropes of building a run club. He and his buddies continued to hold workouts all year round.  The word spread, the group grew and new friendships were formed. In the fall of 2009 Dick Pond Athletics became the official team sponsor and “Dick Pond Fast Track Racing Team” (DPFT) was created.

Dave and his wife Kathryn (also a DPFT team member) have 2 young boys. On top of the family life and busy full-time career Dave has poured his heart and soul into building what has become a huge family. When asked how much time he commits to the team he stated, “Hard to put a number on it but day-to-day or week-to-week tasks (training, apparel, registration, website, social media, budgets, team races), it averages 20 hours a week.”

Dave(2nd from right) Kathryn (rear left) and some of the DPFT family.
Dave(2nd from right) Kathryn (back left) and some of the DPFT family.

What started out as 6 members 10 years ago has grown to over 400 today. Dave says “Our members and the commitment of the members to one another is the reason for our growth and success.” The rewards for Dave for all of his hard work are the friendships, successes, and support of one another he witnesses on a daily basis. His vision moving forward is more of the same as the reward never gets old.

When asked what makes the DPFT Team so unique Dave replied “WE set ourselves apart as we have the biggest presence @ Chicagoland for the past 7 years winning the CARA team competition in multiple categories each of those years.  Over those past 7 years, we’ve also been the official pace team of 30+ local half marathons and 2 marathons.   We have multiple locations of the team, 5 this year, and the age range from 8 years old to 70 years old.”

The team holds fun runs, track workouts, and long runs at 5 different locations on a weekly basis. We also do many social activities together which include an amazing end of year gala, group dinners, wine tastings, and more. Because of the way the team membership is structured the cost is next to nothing when you factor in the benefits included which consist of track workouts, various discounts, singlet, store gift card, training and more.

Dick Pond Athletics specializes in anything running and has 5 retail locations throughout the Chicagoland area including Hoffman Estates, Park Ridge, St. Charles, Lisle, and Carol Stream. Visit them online at http://www.dickpondathletics.com/

Dick Pond Athletics - 5 convenient Chicago area locations.
Dick Pond Athletics – 5 convenient Chicago area locations.
Dick Pond Athletics- For all your running needs.
Dick Pond Athletics- For all your running needs.

You can find information on the DPFT Racing Team and membership info at the stores or visit the team site at http://www.fasttrackracingteam.com/

After we got home from our workout that Wednesday night last summer we were quite excited about all the new people we met. The next morning we signed up as team members. The friends we have made through this team have been such blessings in our lives.  We are very proud to be representing DPFT and wearing our team singlets on race days!

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