They are quite often two of the first two faces you see at a ShadowChase Running Club race.
But it may surprise some to hear that Karen Crane and Loretta Ghaner, two of ShadowChase’s most prolific volunteers, are not runners or walkers at all. You can say they “married” the club.
Crane, 64, joined ShadowChase about 1982-83 when her husband, Adrian Crane, signed up. Adrian is well -known in the ultra running community and a mountaineer who puts on his own adventure races in addition to being active in ShadowChase.
Ghaner joined the organization in 1987 with her husband Dale Ghaner, an avid runner who has served in various capacities on the SC Board of Directors. Currently he is Director of Races.
“We pretty much decided, if you can’t beat, join them,” said Ghaner.
“We’re the supporters,” added Crane, “and happy to do it.”
It’s that approach to family values that may be responsible for the Cranes, who met in Saudi Arabia where they were both working, being married 32 years. The Ghaners, who were high school sweethearts, have been married 42 years. All of their children have been involved in various aspects of ShadowChase through the years.
The women said they enjoy coming out to the races and volunteering. “Sure, there are some times when I don’t want to get up,” said Ghaner, “but you do. Then you go to breakfast with everyone after the race and you’re happy you showed up.”
“It’s like anything else,” said Crane. “Once you’re in, you’re in.” It’s not like there are people lining up to take your spot, she explained.
The two have found their niche in race day registration. They’ve got the routine down: Show up extra early. Greet runners. Make sure runners fill out their paperwork, give them a bib, and take their money. And all the while, they set an example of community spirit and ShadowChase pride presented with some quality humor.
Crane said her pet peeve, however, is “when people show up on race day to register for a race and don’t want to pay race day prices. … They say, ‘I only brought this much money,’” she says with a sigh. “It drives me crazy.”
“But we’re supposed to be friendly and nice,” she reminds herself with a laugh.
“Or when they want a shirt and throw a fit when we’re out, even though they’re only guaranteed to pre-registered runners,” adds Ghaner. “And these are people who should know better.”
But Ghaner said her pet peeve is greedy people. “You know, those people who run the race, then start grabbing all the freebies taking way more than their fair share and not giving a thought about those who haven’t finished. … I mean, how many packets of Biofreeze can one person use?” she laughs.
But they agree that the funniest part of their job is dealing with new runners. “They can be pretty amusing,” Crane said. “One was asking about what to do with the bib and how to put it on. … She ended up with like 15 safety pins on it!”
Spend any time at all with Crane and Ghaner and you’re treated to wacky stories about the club of old, side-splitting recollections, and fond memories of members past and present. They agree that the best part of ShadowChase is spending time socializing with its members. Some of those times involve crewing for their husbands during attempts at 100-milers. Other times they traveled along on group marathon outings.
One of their fondest recollections was when they caravanned to the Catalina Marathon in 2001 with the late Charlie and Dee Johnson, and a total of 28 club members. On race day, as ShadowChasers set off on foot, Ghaner and Crane rented a golf cart and explored the island.
“I like hanging out with the running club,” Ghaner said. “The people are so interesting and you never know what will happen.”
Crane, who works for a hospital, added that her non-running friends have a misconception that runners are “all health nuts.” She laughs, “If they only knew.”
Crane is known for her jovial personality and humorous outlook on life. Feed her a line and she’s ready with a witty reply. Meanwhile, Ghaner, a cancer survivor, radiates a quiet calmness and inner strength, with a no-nonsense, almost businesslike manner. Together, they are a dynamic representation of the community spirit and selflessness in giving of their time and expecting absolutely nothing in return, except maybe a good time with friends.
Written by: Karen Lozano
If you know a ShadowChase Running Club volunteer you would like to see in the spotlight, please contact Karen Lozano at email@example.com.