A Brief History of the Badgerland Striders
excerpted from 'Times Past: Now and Then' by Ron Winkler originally published in The Strider on April 2000
We were born on October 1, 1959 which puts us in the 40 to 44 year-old age group as listed on race entry forms. The baby was named The Milwaukee Track Club. Brian Murphy was the sparkplug of the club, and kept things organized until he moved away in 1970. Brian was an all-around track man who competed in almost every event.
Another early pioneer was George Corns, who did a lot to promote distance running and cross country. Another pioneer was Wulf Koehlert, who also promoted distance running and cross country. He drove many of us all over the Midwest to races. Other pioneers were Bengy Altheimer, Terry Rebholz, Garvin Smith, Larry Whiteside, Wally Schuk, Pete Glaser, Dave Griffiths, Doug Irwin, Bill Marquette, and Clarence Trinkner. Support was given by John Tierney, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee cross country and track coach, and Herman Kluge, UWM athletic director.
Dues were Low
Club dues in 1965 were $5, with the option of a lifetime membership for $50. Lifetime memberships included free entry in all club meets, and meets that the club competed in. Benefits such as car washes were held to raise funds for the club. The club competed in track, cross country, and race walking. Competition was against colleges, universities and other track clubs.
National 10 Mile Championship
In 1961 the club successfully bid for the United States Track and Field federation National 10-Mile Championship. This was run on a two-loop, five-mile course on Milwaukee's Lakefront between the old gun club and the Milwaukee Art Museum.
Cudahy Oldest Race
As numbers grew this race was moved to Cudahy, where it continues to this day on the first Sunday of August. This race has the distinction of being Wisconsin's oldest continuous distance race. This year's race will be the 40th running.
In 1973, UWM took charge of the club under cross country coach Russ Coley. The club was renamed the UWM Track Club, and the focus was on retaining more athletes after graduation. Wulf Koehlert was the first president. Developmental track meets and fun runs were added as family participation was encouraged. The club fielded two cross country teams--one for men and one for women. An annual banquet was held each December to honor the teams. The banquet eventually evolved into the Christmas party and then the now-familiar January Holiday Party.