Lakehead Masters Running Club has a long and varied history in the running community of Thunder Bay. It began in the early 1990s when a group of experienced runners were looking for a group to train with in a structured manner to help them become better and faster runners. They joined up with the Lakehead University Athletics Club (LUAC) as community members and trained along with varsity athletes. LUAC was coached by Dr. Ian Newhouse, an experienced track runner and kinesiology professor at Lakehead University. By 1994 the number of community or masters members was so large that a decision was made to select a coach and develop a separate training program but still remain LUAC members.
John Garland agreed to be the coach for what became known as the “masters group”. John is also an experienced runner on road and track as well as a certified coach and took over designing monthly training schedules and conducting the weekly sessions. He remains as head coach to this day. Training occured at various locations around the city including the Legion Track at the Fort William Stadium. The masters group numbered around 20 to 30 members during that period and meet 3 times a week year round. During the winters, the whole club moved to the indoor track at the Confederation College Fitness Centre.
The master’s group basically ran its own affairs and became known as the Lakehead Masters although still affiliated with LUAC. In 2003 LUAC was restructured into the Lakehead Athletics Club and included a liaison from the Masters on its executive. Along with the varsity and masters groups there were also a Junior Development and Track Basics for younger runners. The masters continued with John as its coach and maintained its own training schedule. When the Hanger indoor track was built in 2005 at Lakehead University, the whole club including all its sub groups moved there for their indoor workouts.
In 2012 the masters group separated from Lakehead Athletics and began to operate as an independent club with its own executive, membership fees and constitution. The group selected new colours, developed a website and became known as the Lakehead Masters Running Club. The Club rents space at the University Hanger track during winter months.
Membership has grown to over 40 with a variety of ages and abilities. Hundreds of runners have benefited from the training with the club. The master's program is designed for runners who wish to improve their running or want to concentrate on preparation for road racing from distances of one mile to a marathon. Members do very well at races placing at the top of their age groups and in some cases at the top of all race finishers. Participants range in experience from first time runners to veterans. The common training program can be individually modified to suit all abilities.