The Youngstown Road Runners Club will be holding its annual banquet on June 28 and as part of the agenda, four members will be inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame.
According to club publicity chair Dan Shields, the four new candidates were selected during a meeting on March 1. The selectees include Lou Lodovico of Ellwood City, Pa., Wilma DePiore of Youngstown, Carolyn DeChristofaro of Niles and Matt Folk of Toledo, formerly of Boardman.
The Youngstown Road Runners Club has an active membership of more than 200 runners, from singles just staying fit, to entire families who enjoy running together. It was first formed in 1975 when a group of local runners had begun conducting organized races in the area. It grew into a non-profit organization that is now involved with several large events. Back in March, the club hosted the Mill Creek Distance Classic, that Shields said drew 650 runners. More recently the members took part in the Weight Watchers Walk It Challenge at the MetroPark Farm in Canfield.
In August, the club will play host to one of its largest events to be held at Boardman High School. The event is a pre-season cross country race for middle school and high school runners.
“It’s open to all high school and middle school runners,” Shields said. “It attracts roughly 400 runners and we have an adult open race as well as one for the younger kids.”
A lot of the members who run at the various events may be among another group to earn a very special award at the banquet. Shields said the club normally has 40 to 50 members who will receive the 100-mile club award. To earn the award, a runner simply needs to put in 100 miles over the year by running with fellow members. The awards banquet will also be the location where all volunteer and national awards will be presented, but the biggest honor will be for the four who will join other runners in the Hall of Fame. Each will have a short biography read of their running accomplishments.
DePiore has been a consistent performer since her days as a Cross country runner for Ursuline High School and the University of South Carolina. While a student athlete at South Carolina, she was selected as the school’s NCAA Runner of the Year. DePiore still holds one of the best times in the 5K (17:35) and 10K (37:17) distances for USC. While living in Charleston she was instrumental in developing the Cooper River Bridge Kids Run. During her Ursuline High School days, DePiore ran a 5:09.4 in the 1600 meters and an 11:18 in the 3200 on the track.
Folk, a former Boardman resident, started his running career at the Oregon, Ohio High School. Folk continued that running career at Youngstown State University. While at YSU he was involved in two conference championships, qualifying for the 1998 Division I Cross Country National Championships. Folk was the first YSU cross country runner to compete at the national level and was named a two-time Mid Continent Conference Champion. Folk’s major accomplishments include being a two-time U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials Qualifier (39th in 2007); Road Runners Club of America Open Male Runner of the Year in 2004, 2005 and 2007; 18th in 2007 USATF Club Cross Country Nationals; 15th at 2005 U.S. 10-Mile Championships’; 6th at 2005 Penn Relays Olympic Development 5k (14:11); ninth at the 2004 USATF Club Cross Country Nationals; first 2009 Columbus Marathon and first in the 2009 Peace Race. Folk was an assistant cross country and track coach at YSU where nine of his teams were involved in conference championships during his 10-year tenure at YSU.
DeChristofaro has been the Youngstown Road Runners Club Treasurer since 1998. Under DeChristofaro’s stewardship, the YRRC Treasury has maintained a constant and growing account. She has volunteered for nearly all of the club-sponsored events since joining the club in 1996. She is a member and cofounder of the Shoes For High School Cross Country Runners Program and a member of the YRRC Endowment to YSU. DeChristofaro singlehandedly organized all of the YRRC’s marathon trips, and has qualified for the Boston Marathon twice while running eight marathons.
Lodovico selected as an “honorary member” because of his outstanding performances during his decades of running. Lodovico is a resident of Ellwood City, Pa. Since 1994 “Lodo” has been selected as Masters Age Division Runner of the Year in 1994, 2000, 2006 and 2009 by the USTAF. Running Times Magazine has selected “Lodo” as its Masters Runner of the Year in 2005 (second), 2006 (first), 2008 (second) and 2009 (first).
“He didn't start running until he was in his 50's. Not just a top athlete but a role model for younger runners around him,” Shields said.
Photo special to the Town Crier
Youngstown Road Runners Club members Matt and Lindsey Folk accepted the RRCA Runner Of The Year award in 2008, and this coming June 30, Matt will be among the names added to the club’s Hall of Fame.