Traverse City Track Club is 55 Years and Running

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In 1962, George Kuhn started the Traverse City Track Club with a weekly summer race. Today, the non-profit organization still maintains that tradition and over the years has added on races, training programs, and charitable events.

We chatted with Lisa Taylor, the executive director of the Traverse City Track Club, to learn more about Northern Michigan’s largest and oldest running club.

For someone who hasn’t heard of the Traverse City Track Club (TCTC) before, how would you describe it?

The Traverse City Track Club is a running club (running includes walking, jogging, fitness walking, race-walking) that offers over 70 events and programs each year including fun runs, training programs, great events, and a grants and scholarship program that all align with its mission to promote health and fitness through running and walking.

We’ve heard you have several new programs. Can you share some details with our readers?

Our newest programs include an amazing training program that features mentors to help participants have better success. Since this program started in 2016, we have had over 100 people of all ages, abilities and goals participate with goals ranging from beginning a running program for the first time to completing a marathon.

What program is your all-time favorite?

Having been a member of the club since 1989, I would have to say my favorite event is the Bayshore Marathon, which is one of our first events and was started in 1983. Since I have participated in or volunteered for this event ever since 1989, I have been able to watch it grow and thrive. Now I also can help ensure its growth as the first-ever staff person for the club (executive director). I feel like Bayshore is our club’s “baby.” Today the Bayshore makes so many things possible in our community including all of our charitable giving which has now exceeded the $1.6 million mark.

From your perspective, what is the importance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and how does the TCTC support that notion?

Running and walking are aerobic activities that are so important for good overall health. In addition, through our events and programs, we see people get the added benefit of feeling connected in their community. The friendships that develop in the name of running can last for a lifetime, and we all know the health benefit of having good friends in our world.

What advice do you have for people creating an at-home running schedule?

I always give the same advice—that in this day and age there are so many opportunities to engage in a running program because of the internet. The best example of this is the “Couch to 5K Program” which is a self-administered program accessible to anyone. But it is even better to have face-to-face support or local “coaching” in person to be most successful with goals. (Check out these 10 tips from TCTC to help you run your first 5K.) 

Of course, I think everyone wanting to start should check out our TCTC Training Programs.

Lastly, how can TCTC help people reach their running goals?

Membership in the TCTC can help open doors to so many opportunities, and a membership has great benefits. For only $15 a year, a TCTC member gets a cool club logo T-shirt, free Jingle Bell Run, Free Frozen Foot Run, free organized Fun Runs, free Summer Series, early access to Bayshore events—to name just a few. Members tease me every time they see me because my favorite tagline is our membership is “the best deal in town.” Everyone should join!

Written by Courtney Jerome.

Read: “Lisa Taylor, Evangelist of the Running Life” featured in Traverse Magazine.


Shape Up North is a community collaboration dedicated to helping northern Michigan residents benefit from healthy eating habits and an active lifestyle. Living a healthier lifestyle can and should be an enjoyable adventure. Small changes in habits at school, work, and home can have long-lasting, positive effects on your health. With an abundance of great local foods and a four-season playground right outside your door, you and your family can lead a healthy, fit, and fun life.