The Hartford Track Club was formed in 1962. Charter members were Charley Dyson, Bill Smith, Willie Gagnon, Bob Bamberger and Don Pirie. In December of 1962, the club organized a race, which was called the "Holiday 6". This race was run annually at Keney Park in Hartford and attracted fields of up to 30 runners. In the late sixties, I believe it was in 1969, the race was moved to Goodwin Park and became the forerunner of the annual Joe Vailonis race.
In 1967, the club membership grew to 14 and then up to 18 in 1968. Dues were $1.00 a year. The club joined the A.A.U. briefly in 1965 but had to cancel its membership due to lack of funds to pay the annual dues. In 1968, we rejoined and have been a member ever since.
In view of the complete absence of road races in the area during the winter months, the club began a series of winter races in 1972 for club members only and these "Winter Series" races continue to be on weekends during the winter months.
The Hartford Track Club Newsletter was first published in 1972. The newsletter was printed irregularly whenever there was enough club news to warrant the postage cost of sending it out. In 1975, Cindi Cassidy became the first female member of the club. In that same year we also passed the 150 memberships number.
Today the Hartford Track Club numbers over 400 runners, almost half of which are female. The club provides motivation, group runs, training opportunities and regularly fields USA Track & Field grand prix teams, as well as teams at other events. In addition to the long running winter series, the Hartford Track Club also sponsors a four race series that includes the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon, Solstice Sprint 5K, Hogsback Half Marathon and the 8K Cross Country Challenge. Our race series has grown to include over 1,000 runners per year and since 2006 the race series has raised over $20,000 for charities such as the Blazeman Foundation, Camp Courant and the Hartford Track Club Scholarship Program.
The Hartford Track Club has people who run 5-minute miles and people who run 15-minute miles. Many of us run 5k's, many run marathons, and many do not race. All abilities are welcome – just bring an interest in running.