Who is Indiana All Star Running Club?
Indiana All Star Running Club is a not-for-profit running organizaton founded in 2000 by a group of local cross country and track coaches and running enthusiasts. Our purpose is to provide off-season training and competition opportunities for youth runners. The ultimate goal being the development of habitual daily exercise in our young population. We believe that running instills discipline, focus, and principles of hard work which inspire people to be the best that they can be in every area of their lives…as students, athletes, friends, family members, and citizens!
Who are the founders?
Coach Chuck Koeppen, former longtime Carmel HS Coach and current IUPUI CC/Track Coach.
Coach Kevin Kelly, former Fall Creek Valley CC Coach
Dr. K. Douglas Schmidt, DDS, Pediatric Specialty
How big is the club?
This varies from year to year. We have three officers, family and friends who volunteer faithfully, and currently we have 100 youth members who participated in our most recent Junior Olympics program.
Where do your members come from?
All over central Indiana, generally. In the beginning, we had student members from all over the state (as the runners wanted true “all star” teams for JOs). In the mid-2000s, this narrowed to the north side of Indianapolis and Carmel, but recently our draw has again expanded to include runners from schools as far away as two hours. The school districts most recently represented include Zionsville, Carmel, Westfield, Columbus, Bloomington, and Fort Wayne.
Who runs things?
Co-Director Matt Wire –
Matt, until 2015, was the Assistant Varsity Girls CC Coach at Carmel High School. A life-long runner, Matt has coached for seventeen years. He has coached at the Middle School, High School, and post-Collegiate levels; and he coached at his alma mater, Cathedral High School, as well as Carmel High School.
In fifteen years as either a head coach or varsity assistant coach at the high school level, Matt coached teams to the state championship meet in 14 of 15 years with 3 sixth place finishes, 1 fourth place finish, 1 third place finish, 2 runner-up finishes, and 7 State Championships.
In addition, he has coached boys and girls Junior Olympic Cross Country teams beginning in 1999, including one team and two individual USATF National Champions. He is active in the local running community and serves as the Co-Director for the Indiana All Star Running Club, which organizes and hosts the annual Middle School State Cross Country Championship, one of the largest events of its kind in the nation.
He is a licensed Secondary Social Studies teacher and also a USATF Level 1 Certified Coach as well as a NETA certified personal trainer. He has also spoken, on a variety of topics, at various clinics and programs including, but not limited to, the 2014 Indiana Association of Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (IATCCC) clinic and the Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association (ITCCCA) clinic in 2015. He is currently working as a Wellness Instructor for the Indianapolis YMCA.
Co-Director Kelly Wire –
Kelly is currently a fifth grade teacher at Holy Cross Central in Indianapolis and was also an assistant girls’cross country coach at Carmel and Cathedral High Schools. An avid runner herself, Kelly coached for nineteen years at the middle school and high school levels and is a USATF Level 1 Certified Coach.
Kelly has been a coach and board member with the Indiana All Star Running Club since 1999. Kelly also works and coaches each summer at the annual All Star Cross Country camp at Anderson University.
Many people ask about how Indiana All Star Running Club formed. It’s very important to us that you know who our primary founder was, what his dream was, and how important each and every runner was to him. His name is K. Douglas Schmidt and he passed away in June, 2007. He was planning a one-mile loop on his wooded property at the time of his passing, and we’re sure he has a beautiful and challenging one up in heaven.
Doug Schmidt started out as a wrestler for Indiana University, began running as a form of cross training in his junior year, and became dedicated to running while attending Indiana University’s School of Dentistry in the early 70’s. He liked that he could run in between classes and clinics. While still in his residency, Doug started the Indianapolis Swim Club and soon added Heze Clark and Ray Lawrence…who went on to develop the Carmel HS program into a national power. The team had numerous national age-group record holders and one Olympian.
As Doug’s running buddies became parents and those kids began running, Doug became involved in sharing his love of the sport and evolved into a coach/mentor for them and their friends. Doug coached the Brebeuf varsity girls CC team and the varsity distance boys in track for one year – highlighted by a 4th place finisher (Tim Robinson) in the 800.
Doug’s home was open 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, 52 weeks/year for runners. He never locked his doors. He turned his lower level into a locker room with shower facilities, a sauna, a Jacuzzi, an ice-bath, and an ultrasound machine to aid fellow runners through sore muscles and minor injuries. He even stocked large glass-fronted refrigerators with every kind of drink a runner might possibly want (even Yoohoo)!
Doug ran every day for almost 14 years, missed one day, and then went another 17 years without missing another day. And he wasn’t just “into running”, he was good. He competed on the Masters level with a number of nationally talented runners here in the Indianapolis area. As a team, they placed 1st, 2nd, and 3rd at the Club Masters National Championships over a three-year span and his 1:17:31 in the Mini at age 47 earned him a 3rd place national ranking that year.
Through his close friendship with former Carmel HS Coach Chuck Koeppen, Doug started welcoming young runners to his home on weekends for long training runs with his Masters-level running buddies. These were always followed by ice-baths, sports drinks, and great conversations about racing, setting goals, upcoming seasons, staying healthy, etc. Doug knew of Coach Koeppen’s huge success with All-Star Cross Country Camp, saw the desire of high school and middle school runners to compete in the off-season, and the idea for a club grew in his mind. Beginning in 1997, All Star Cross Country Camp teams started competing in and dominating USATF’s Junior Olympics Cross Country Championships. In 1999, these teams won four National Championships and counted 25 All-American individuals. In the summer of 2000, together with his long-time running friends, Kevin Kelly (Coach – Fall Creek Valley MS), and Chuck Koeppen as Co-Founders, and dedicated volunteers Matt and Kelly Wire and Craig and Connie Martin, Indiana All Star Running Club was born.
In December of 2000, eighty-eight athletes, accompanied by ~30 adults, flew to Reno, Nevada for the JOs National Championships. Bob Kennedy and Ashley Johnson, representing The Running Co. (our 2000 team sponsor), came to the Indianapolis Airport to see everyone off and wish the runners good luck. The club’s teams performed like none others, with our teams winning every high school age-group competition, and Indiana All Star Running Club was awarded the National Club Trophy. The stage swarmed with people dressed in the club’s black team jackets and black warm-up pants.
To help keep travel costs down for the athletes and coaches, Doug personally footed the bill for the entire team’s three nights’ stay at the Meet Headquarters hotel!
That was just the first example of Doug’s generosity to “his kids”. Doug never held back in giving to runners. Whether it was his home, his drinks, his money, or his time and advice, Doug was always generous. He thought about each and every runner and was insightful regarding their running and personal issues. If it was girl troubles or a sore Achilles tendon, Doug was ready to listen and help. And Doug truly believed that if the club could make running look fun, then more kids would try it. He knew that by the time young runners would discover that training hard could sometimes really hurt, they’d be hooked on it just like he was! And they’d be determined to keep going.
The fall of 2001 saw the first Indiana Middle School Cross Country Championship with 541 kids participating. The 2011 Championship saw ~1,750 registrants with ~5,000 spectators in attendance! The success and popularity of this wonderful event is a testament to Doug’s dedication and passion for bringing the sport he loved to Indiana’s youth and to the dedication of the Wires and Martins in carrying on the club’s mission following Doug’s passing in June, 2007. It’s been asked what impact Doug Schmidt had on Indiana’s running community. How many Indiana high school and college runners remember seeing that skinny guy in running shorts running along the cross country course yelling at them to run faster and reach their goal? How many athletes did his thoughtful advice help see through a tough season? How many runners ran better races each Saturday because they ice-bathed at Doug’s house each Thursday night? That’s hard to measure, but we can tell you how many elementary school kids have come running up to the packet pick-up table at the Indiana MS CC Championships brimming over with excitement from watching all of the day’s races and begging to register at the last minute for the 3rd-4th-5th grade race!…and Doug and Indiana All Star Running Club made another conquest. The club’s efforts inspired yet another young kid to try running…because it looked like such fun!
It’s hard to quantify the effect that one person has on a sport. But Doug’s legacy now is living on in every runner that he loved, hooked into this sport, and inspired to “be the best they could be.” We’ll see it every cross country season and track season when his runners set new p.r.s dedicated to Doug. We’ll see it every year when graduated runners run a road race in their club singlet. And we’ll see it every fall as new young runners compete in the Indiana Middle School Cross Country Championship and learn to love the sport.