Bellin Legends Profile: Scott Thompson

May 2, 2022

As part of our push to gather participation stats for our new Bellin Run Faithful recognition program, we are highlighting our longest-running participants — our Bellin Run Legends! Legends are the 20 individuals who have participated in every single Bellin Run since the event’s inception in 1977 — that’s 45 years and counting. We will continue to share the profiles and memories of our Legends on our Bellin Run blog and via social media. Next on our list is Scott Thompson!

Scott Thompson takes us on a “jog” down memory lane as he recalls some of his favorite Bellin Run experiences. From dining with the elite athletes to admiring a fellow participant’s race day apparel, Scott has no shortage of memorable experiences from the Bellin Run.

Non-typical Chicken Dinner at the Distillery
Bellin sponsored that nice meal and program a number of years back at a local banquet place, a chance to visit with everyone and reminisce about the annual run. Sitting down for the meal, things just worked out that joining my wife (Amy) and me at a table were Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter and Uta Pippig. Didn't seem that long ago we were watching these runners on ABC Wide World of Sports or in the Olympics. However, here they are asking me to please pass the platter of chicken their way. Bill Rodgers was so talkative about everything, while Frank was really busy taking phone calls. After a bit he apologized and explained that he was involved in a conference call with Olympic and Russian officials regarding their use of performance drugs during international competitions. Uta was lots of fun to visit with! I recall how she wanted to dig into the dessert tray full of cheesecake. Each time she reached for it, her trainer (who was also sitting with us) would shake his head. Eventually, she was given the ok to take one small forkful and went on and on about how good it was. What a fun memory for this guy.

Biking and Chatting with a Real Legend
While biking along the Fox River Trail near De Pere one morning in early June, I spotted someone running up ahead who had a very distinctive running style that somehow looked familiar to me. I couldn't place who it was or why I thought that, but then realized as I got closer it was Bill Rodgers. He was out for a run while in town for the Bellin Run. It was quite fantastic to be cruising along chatting about the Bellin Run and the weather with a world record holder and Olympic champion. That's the nature of this sport I guess – the champions are so approachable and welcoming.

Lost in the Park
One of the milestone years of the Bellin included our group posing with Bill Rodgers and Frank Shorter for a photo in Baird Place Park. I lost track of time and feared that I missed the photo, when suddenly I heard someone calling my name through the crowded park. It turned out to be Frank Shorter, who had volunteered to go out looking for me. I was a bit embarrassed but also pretty thrilled. It was an honor to pose with the group and those two real legends.

Not an Approved Course Vehicle
I have a handful of memories from the early years of the Bellin. One year, there was a bed on wheels being pushed along the route with someone riding in it. I never heard the details, but they were having a grand old time. Lots of switching places, trying to steer that thing and dealing with potholes. I recall a runner along the way asked how they were going to handle going down the Greene Avenue hill. They didn't seem to know much about it, which really got a laugh out of the nearby runners. I wonder how they managed …

Say Hello to a Good Buy!
Another odd sighting one year was a gentleman near the starting line who was dressed up like he was headed in for a day at the office. He wore a suit, tie, dress shirt and even had a briefcase with a big sticker on it that read, “Say Hello to a Good Buy at Shopko.” He did have running shoes on, though. The guy looked pretty serious, not very friendly – maybe he was freaking out because it was one of those high heat/humidity years, and he wasn't really dressed for the occasion. I never did find out how or if he finished. Someone did tell me that he was a Shopko employee who lost some type of work-related bet.

Personally, my memorable years had to do with swing-shift work while still making it to that starting line. The weeks leading up to the race were used to prepare a bit so a few of us would get off work at midnight, then meet up on Webster at the starting line to run the course. It was pretty awesome. When race day arrived, it wasn't unusual to be working through the night and sneak away for an hour nap prior to the race. Then it was back to work that evening.

It's been extra fun during each year's event knowing that my high school cross country coach, Dave Moore, is also a member of the Legends group.
 

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