BROOKINGS – Dave Graves, an information specialist with SDSU Marketing and Communications, was honored as the 2020 Friend of Running by the Prairie Striders Running Club at its monthly group run at Wooden Legs Brewery on Monday, April 5.
Graves currently is race director of the Jack 15 Road Race, the longest running road race sponsored by the Prairie Striders and a favorite among many of the Striders.
Graves also serves as club president of the Prairie Striders Running Club, a role he has held since 2013.
“In a year when major races were canceled throughout the country, our club, under Dave’s leadership, conducted over 80% of its planned schedule. Dave was in attendance at most of the club’s races and always offered to help as needed,” said Bob Bartling, one of the founding members of the Prairie Striders.
In addition to his contributions to the Prairie Striders as a race director and club president, Graves lends his skills as a professional journalist to the Striders by publishing “The Pacesetter,” a quarterly publication of the Prairie Striders. For more than 10 years, Dave has served as editor and has authored a majority of the articles. “The Pacesetter” reaches 258 Prairie Striders members in 18 states, and many more through the Club’s website.
Bartling noted the club’s communication has never been better.
“The quarterly Pacesetter is a gem and a super reference source for those interested in all areas of running,” he said.
And Bartling would know. He’s been with the club since the beginning – over 50 years. “The Pacesetter” not only informs runners across the country of the running events on the Prairie Striders race schedule, but features profiles of Strider members, allowing many to connect with old running friends, near and far.
Graves has also promoted the Brookings Marathon through numerous Brookings Register articles since 2007. A major contributor to the Brookings Marathon’s 50-year history book “From Longest Day to the Brookings Marathon,” Graves led the Prairie Striders Club through its 50th year celebration in 2019 and was instrumental in a successful SDSU Track & Cross Country Scholarship Fundraising campaign that resulted in three fully endowed SDSU track and field scholarships.
“Some run in our events. Others choose to volunteer. Dave does both … often at the same event! In addition to participating in nearly every Striders race, volunteering from preparation to clean up and directing the Jack 15, Dave has served as club president for most of a decade. I can’t think of another person who has been more involved in moving the running club forward in recent years,” said Matt Bien, longtime Brookings Marathon Director and Prairie Strider.
Bartling added, “Selecting Dave Graves as Friend of Running this year was a slam dunk. Dave Graves, as our president, has provided unparalleled leadership in the face of pandemic conditions never encountered in the club’s history. He is our choice to be this year’s Friend of Running.”
Graves has always been athletic, years ago choosing small apartment furniture so there was room for his weight bench. His first home purchase included a contract stipulation that the former owner’s weight bench stayed with the home.
Graves’ own running career spans many years – but he was a football player first, even playing college football as a lineman for the University of Northern Colorado. When invited to go on a run with a colleague at The Brookings Register in the early 1990s, Dave became an avid runner. He has run marathons and many races over the years, including running the marathon course outside during the Brookings Marathon’s blizzard event in April 2000.
Graves grew up in Brush, Colorado, and a newspaper job with The Brookings Register brought him and his family to Brookings in 1991.
“We have not only a great leader, but Dave is also a top-notch ambassador for the sport of running,” Bartling said.
Graves’ welcoming personality and thoughtful leadership has strengthened the running community in Brookings and in the region, and the Prairie Striders are pleased to select Dave Graves as the 2020 Friend of Running.