Andrean 24-Hour Relay promises good time for runners of all ages

2013-06-22T19:00:00Z 2013-07-08T15:38:17Z Andrean 24-Hour Relay promises good time for runners of all agesAl Hamnik (219) 933-4154
June 22, 2013 7:00 pm  • 

MERRILLVILLE | No one likes getting the run around.

Unless you're big on distance events, like Rick Torres and several of his buddies are.

On a warm, muggy Saturday morning, several dedicated runners got together for the Andrean 24-Hour Relay, an event first held at Bishop Noll in 1975 with Highland and Andrean later serving as host sites.

Many of the participants ran in memory of former Hammond High great Tim Keough, who died June 7 of a massive heart attack.

"I don't look at it as a highly-competitive athletic event. I see it more as nostalgic, old buddies from back in the day, the '70s and '80s, getting together as friends and buddies and hanging out," former coach Sean Schuster said of Saturday's gathering.

"We're running but there's down time. You run for five or 10 minutes, then you sit down, laugh and joke, and talk about old times."

Teams ranged from two to 10 members. You could either run or walk the four laps, then hand off the baton.

The relay runs from 9 a.m. Saturday through 9 a.m. today.

Late Saturday, approximately 40 high school runners were scheduled to do a 12-hour relay at Andrean, where Torres happens to be the track and cross country coach.

"When we did it back at Highland and Noll, we had like 20 teams," Sean Schuster recalled. "You'd be hard-pressed to do it now."

Torres and Rich Garza, now confined to a wheel chair, served as directors of this year's event.

"I could just be directing and not participating but, to me, it's just different," Torres said. "You can find a road race every weekend, but you won't find anything unique like this.

"You can talk somebody into running a 5K or 10K or even a mini-marathon. They can train for a marathon but try to get somebody to do this and the first thing they think about is 24 hours."

There were no ironmen at the track this day, just a bunch of guys -- and a few ladies -- getting a good workout at their own pace.

"Bonds are gonna be formed here," Torres said.

Parked in the southeast corner of the track was a huge motor home donated by Robert Hart, a running enthusiast from Calumet City.

Hart also provided chairs, food and a generator.

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