“The Old Days at NTTR”
by Jay Norman
I have been asked to do a write-up to reflect on the past 25 years of North Texas Trail Runners. I quickly realized what a daunting task that would be, especially for someone whose memory is as unreliable as my legs are these days. You’ll find two versions of “A Brief History of the North Texas Trail Runners,” both written by Fred Holmes (attached). Fred was the spark, the driving force, and the inspiration behind NTTR until his move to Costa Rica in 2005.
In the early years of NTTR, there was no internet.. at least most of us didn’t have an email account. Fred would cut and paste the layout of the club newsletter which was published and mailed out to members periodically. He would design and print flyers announcing club races, and I would drive around town and drop them off at the local running stores, and place them on the windshields of cars at other races being held. I had 10,000 waterproof calling cards printed with NTTR info on them for members to carry with them and hand out as we were out running on the trails… anything to get the word out.
Northshore Trail at Lake Grapevine was our home course, as it was the most convenient trail for the majority of the early members. Back then it was a single-track trail, so we would see other runners (and mountain bikes) as they were coming back toward us. Back then there was much less mountain bike traffic on weekends than nowadays. Once a month different club members would plan a club run on different trails around the Metroplex. This gave us a chance to see each other and experience trails other than Northshore. Someone would volunteer to bring fluid replacement, etc. Then there was the Night Run, where we each predicted our time to run the course; then everyone removed their watches so we couldn’t tell what our actual time was. The person that came the closest to their predicted time was declared the winner. This gave us slower runners a chance to win. The first Night Run was held at Suzi and Michael Cope’s place on the south side of Lake Grapevine. Subsequent runs were held at MADD Shelter. Afterward, someone, usually Antje Spethman, would cook a big pot of stew and we’d all sit around and socialize often til after midnight.
For the most part, our trail runs were our social events. Except for the Christmas Party, that is. In the first years, our hosts were Jay and Jenny Allison. We feasted and told tall tales and presented the annual “King” and “Queen” of the Trail awards, not to the fastest runners, but to the ones who finished the most Texas trail runs. Then, for a number of fun years, Michael and Suzi Cope hosted the event, and we all brought joke presents. Imagine the free-for-all that took place when one huge box was unwrapped, to reveal bicycle parts picked up along the various dirt trails! Nowadays our Christmas parties are more “elegant,” but fun and educational too!
Fred’s writeups tell about the creation of Rockledge Rumble and Grasslands. As the years passed, Betty created NTTR’s first website and a Yahoo group account was set up. But by then most of the members had email accounts and most club members used the internet to communicate. I don’t know what the maximum number of members was, but in 2008 the membership was about 200. When the club was first formed and for the first year, we would meet in one of the member’s homes, but as the membership grew we had to find a place to accommodate more people…usually a restaurant that had a large private room. We all came early to eat before our meeting. As social media, mostly Facebook, came into being, communication became scattered and disconnected. Club members were not all following the same means of communicating, and membership started to decline. It wasn’t until the current officers were elected that NTTR began to recover. They have and continue to do a superb job of directing our club.
Join/Renew your membership at active.com.