Meet CARA Hall Of Fame Inductee Ron Thomas
CARA and Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club member Ronald "RT" Thomas will be inducted into the CARA Runners' Choice Circuit Hall of Fame on Saturday, February 3, 2018. We recently asked RT some questions about his background:
When did you begin running?: 1976 (Age 36)
What inspired you to begin running?: Family health issues, and watching the 1976 Olympic marathon [editors note: American Frank Shorter won silver].
How many times have you run the CARA Circuits?: Around 35.
How did you first become involved with CARA?: Primarily through the Circuit, but also through early CARA activism.
What other running clubs you been involved in?: Arlington Trotters, but primarily Lake Forest Lake Bluff RC.
How has living in Chicagoland, and being part of CARA affected you?: I love living in Chicago with all it offers. CARA is part of that fabric and offers many opportunities to runners of all levels.
What inspires you to do the Circuit?: Primarily, the competition it provides, but also the camaraderie of all the runners on the circuit across all age groups. Also, Circuit Races are usually key races that are fun to do.
Who are some people who have influenced you most as a runner?: Based on my longevity, I have had many influences. Dr. Craig Dean who introduced me to anti-aging medicine and respect for personal fitness at the beginning of my running career. Early on were the local HS coaches who introduced me to proper training. Later, track coaches such as Greg Damonte and especially Jenny Spangler taught me how to run fast. Currently, my trainer, David Ashford, is helping me with my strength and agility as I age. Finally, a number of my age group competitors and fellow club runners are pushing me to train as hard as possible. The running community, especially Lake Forest / Lake Bluff Running Club members, have also provided a significant social network for me.
Share with us some notable achievements?: I had a great 35-year career at Motorola and was involved in the inception and growth the cellular industry, especially in the offshore markets. My top running accomplishments were a 1:17:01 Lake County Half when I was 51, a 16:37 Oak Park 5k when I was 49 and then a 19:57 Ravenswood Run 5K at age 67. I have also won awards at some of the big national races such as the 5th Avenue Mile in NYC, Gasparilla 15K, Cherry Blossom 10M, Miami Half Marathon and the Big Sur and LV Marathons.
What are some other passions you hold, besides running?: I have always had a love of family, reading, travel and staying healthy. As a lifelong techie, I try and keep up with current tech trends and use as much of the new tech as possible.