Rich Holmes

2 June 2013 was a bright and sunny morning in Stockholm following its marathon the day before. Anders “Biking Viking” Forselius, my daughter Kathleen Holmes, and I met for fika (a Swedish cultural coffee break) at a sidewalk café, bemoaning that the only marathoning club that counted countries had no rules, and the “world record holder” who ran the club counted things like flying into a country’s airport, renting a car, driving it 21 km from the airport, jogging back to the airport and then back to the car, and then going back home to “count” another country. It did not seem right that no official race was needed, nor that members got no say in what rules governed the club. I had approached that club leader unsuccessfully about making the marathons real.

The three of us decided there needed to be another club, that it should be democratic like the UK 100 Marathon Club where the members elected the officers and determined the rules, and that cheating should be strictly prohibited. Kathleen’s plate was already full with working long hours, so she was supportive but not willing to promise time to build the club. Anders also had a gruelling schedule with his two-sport steady diet of travel and racing and was willing to take on a role as an ambassador to Europe for the new club, but he did not want to become an initial officer.

I returned to the USA and began badgering friends to serve initially until elections could be held. I drafted a set of proposed rules (club bylaws) and welcomed key volunteers like Cheri Pompeo (who was doing awards and membership for the North American 100 Marathon Club, and who also had been one of the twelve who started the Marathon Maniacs), and Kevin Brosi (who apart from being a workaholic as I’d discovered from rooming with him at races, was also just about the most social guy I’ve met in my life!) Cheri took on an initial role for publicity, and Kevin for managing membership. I knew from the start we would need a website and club gear, but I can no longer recall whose idea it was to find the willing volunteers of Hideki Kinoshita with his exquisite website skills and “Cowboy Jeff” Bishton, who agreed to initiate getting shirts/singlets/caps and the like with the club logo. Later, “Kino” suggested a sixth initial volunteer (now called board members) of David Holman. (My role at the time was called “Coordinator”.) All six of us built the structure and finalized draft rules about members and counting countries, and I acted as the race site host to coordinate the first club meeting on 17 January 2015 at the marathon in Nassau, the Bahamas, 18 months after that initial Swedish fika. It was at that meeting that the full members adopted the bylaws and elected the club officers to create the club as we know it today.