The Tidewater Striders Track Club, more commonly known as the Tidewater Striders Running Club, was formed in September, 1972. The club has become the largest running club in the State of Virginia, and one of the ten largest in the United States as part of the Road Runners Club of America. Although the club was originally a haven for runners, it grew to incorporate the sports of race walking and multisport competition, such as the triathlon. Over the years many individuals have contributed to the success of the club, which has continually increased its influence in the Hampton Roads community.

In early 2020, the President of the Tidewater Striders, Thomas Hicks, recommended to the Board of Directors that an updated history of the club be developed to celebrate its 50th anniversary. An excellent 40th anniversary history was completed in 2012 when Jean Phelan was club president. Randy Cook, club historian, volunteered to coordinate the project. Cook became the historian in 2013 and has kept the club’s history since that time. The three authors were Mel Williams (1972-1987, 2009-2010), Randy Cook (1988-1997, 2003-2008, 2012-2022), and David Harrah (1998-2002; 2011). Although a uniform outline for each chapter was used by all authors in drafting this historical account, each author provided their own unique perspective as to what information to include under the various outline topics. Thus, the reader may notice some distinct differences in content and style among the various chapters.

Several other Striders supported the development of this historical account. The key advisors were Ada Lester (1972-2012) and Jim Martin (2013-2022). Lester served as both the production and photo editor of the first 40 years of the book, converting the electronic typewritten chapters into an appropriate page format for publication, and also coordinated the collection and presentation of the photographs utilized to embellish the historical account. Jim Martin, the webmaster, completed the task from 2013-2022. Other advisors included Dan Edwards and Jordan “Buddy” Levitin. In addition, Al Albers served as copyeditor for the 40th anniversary edition providing excellent feedback to the authors relative to accuracy in both content and style.

The primary sources of information to support this narrative historical account over the years included the various publications by the Tidewater Striders, primarily its newsletter. Archived files containing minutes of the Board and general club meetings, race flyers, race results, and other sources of information were also available to the authors. Some of the early documents included hand-written minutes and faded mimeographed copies. Personal interviews with key club officers and members also provided useful information.

This history, broken down into 5 year increments, is available on this site (see links below). Annual additions to the history will be posted here as they are completed.

Several previous histories of the club were also available to the authors. The History of The Tidewater Striders Track Club, 1972-1997, authored by former club president Raymond Ochs, provides a perspective of the club’s development during its first quarter-century of operation. Portions of Och’s history are based on an historical review article written by Charles Hester for the club’s 18th anniversary. Additionally, Jordan Levitin authored The History of Walking in the Tidewater Striders Inc. 1972-2009, a thoroughly detailed, documented, and indexed record of the development of competitive walking in the club from 1972-2009. For those who are interested, Hester’s, Ochs’ and Levitin’s historical accounts may be found below.

WALKER History