Pilgrimage Track Club started as a loosely organized group of runners in 1986 in Eugene,
Oregon. We created the club so that several runners from all over the United States could
claim an affiliation beyond "unattached" during the mid-1980s at Eugene All-comers meets
and various invitational track meets. All of us were on a "pilgrimage" to Eugene.
Now we are all on a Pilgrimage to Boston and other top races. The club moved throughout
the country, showing up in Pensacola, Florida, for several years (90-93) until arriving
in Memphis, Tennessee, in June 1993 where it continues to grow. In April 2001, the club
became an official USATF National Club (club No. 15-2037). We were a Regulation 8 B-1
club and considered a C1 club - Competitive club. As of January 1, 2004, USATF announced
that national clubs will be eliminated in favor of association clubs only. We now are a
member club in the Tennessee USATF Association as of January 1, 2004. We are club no. 159
in the Tennessee Association. Most recently, on November 20, 2004, the Club voted to pursue
the Elite Development Club status of the USATF. We will submit our paperwork in early 2005
with a goal of gaining this designation at the 2005 annual meeting for 2006. Mark Newman
became the first member of the club to qualify for the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials as a
member. Newman previously qualified in 1996 and 2000 for his shoe sponsor. Brenda Walton,
still a top master's runner, had also qualified for the women's Olympic Trials marathon in
1996 prior to becoming a member of the club.
The story goes that Brian Fendrich, Joe Curtin and Bradley Cordts were on a run in Eugene,
Oregon, trying to come up with a name for the club. We all came from somewhere far away to
run in Eugene, in the mists of history that is Hayward Field. At the time, REM was the band
that bound us, and fittingly enough, they had a song that had completely unintelligible lyrics
but a title we loved - Pilgrimage - has gained momentum.
Our club mission is to provide technical guidance as to training and competition schedules,
provide logistical support, negotiate for athletes, advise as to available medical services,
make provisions for equipment, encourage educational pursuits to prepare for life after
competition and encourage participation in national and international competition sponsored
by USATF and the IAAF.