ADR organization thriving as it enters 2024 season

Feb. 10—The Ashtabula Distance Runners Club put the 2023 season to bed, and is actively gearing up for the 2024 campaign.

The organization had its annual season-ending banquet recently, honoring runners from 2023, getting ready for 2024, and enjoying the camaraderie of one another.

"We had a nice crowd of 70-plus people," ADR President John Hutchison said of the banquet. "There were a lot of good stories."

Jennifer Hanson, who is on the ADR board, was the featured speaker.

"She really moved the crowd, sharing her journey," Hutchison said. "She's had some health issues. We've been following along with her journey, and it was very inspiring."

Hutchison said the 2023 season was fantastic.

"We had more than 30 races on the Grand Prix schedule," he said. "The Bridge 2 Bridge Half Marathon [run Oct. 29] & 5K [run Oct. 28] had a significant increase in participants. A lot of people ran the club races. We had 35 people run five of the seven club races."

There are around 30-35 races scheduled in 2024.

At the end of the year, a participant's top-15 finishes for the year in terms of placement overall or age group for a race will be tabulated to determine final Grand Prix results.

Bonus points for completing any race will be added to the score for every race the participants finish even after 15 races.

Even after completing 15 races, there's still an opportunity to earn Grand Prix points and also to give a participant the chance to improve on what their top- 15 finishes will be for the year.

"I think people like to run different courses," Hutchison said. "The running community is as strong as it's been."

Hutchison said the running group has its ebbs and flows.

"There's always a new group of people who want to be involved," he said. "Some may just be getting back into it. Each year is a unique year, and there are always different challenges."

The first scheduled race this season is the Shamrock Kick-off 2 Mile (ADR Race) on March 16. The race is slated to start at 9 a.m. at the Ashtabula Arts Center.

"More races will be added to the schedule," Hutchison said. "We anticipate another 10 to 12. There may be changes in races."

In addition, Hutchison said the Run For Your Life program may be divided into two sections.

"We're looking to have a spring program in May, and one in the fall starting in mid-September," he said. "We're looking to create a new race the week before Bridge 2 Bridge."

The ADR organization also provides scholarships.

"We've given about $2,000 each year to high school students who run cross county and/or track," Hutchison said. "We're looking to give even more money. Applications will probably be available in May."

While running is an integral aspect of the organization, there are other potential benefits to being involved.

"They really enjoy the running community," Hutchison said. "We're a good group with health and fitness, but it's about relationships. After the race, people hang out and see what the running community is like and want to be part of it."

More information about the running club can be found at