The mission of the Midland Multisport Racing Club is to promote health and wellness in the Mid-Michigan region through physical activity and participation in multisport activities. The Midland Multisport Racing Club was established in 2003 by Craig Elford and his wife Sherry. Our members range from beginning age-groupers to elite athletes competing in world class events across the globe. Regardless of ability, we strongly encourage those around us to participate in various multisport activities including triathlon, duathlon, mountain biking, road cycling, adventure racing, running, and swimming.
The History of M3RC
In 2003, after around 5 years of participation with various running, mountain biking, triathlon and adventure racing events Craig Elford and his wife Sherry noticed a few interesting trends withing the multisport world 1) more and more people were getting involved in triathlon and small “groups” around the state were getting popular and 2) many of the most competitive athletes a the events were not only part of these “groups” but were wearing some really cool race clothing! As any entrepreneur (some would call it being a cheapskate) would do, I thought of how I could not only defray some of the entry fee expenses but get a cool jersey in the process. So, Sherry and I started a DBA which was initially called Midland Multisport. I sought out sponsorship money from friends who owned businesses and in return, put their business logos on our jerseys! The first year we had enough money to buy 5 jerseys–the problem was that there were only a few of us so I literally had to call people from around the Midland area and ask if they wanted a jersey! In the beginning it was Me, Sherry, Kage Butcher, Mike Bassage, Mike McIntyre.
By 2005, we had a group of around 15-25 athletes who were part of the club which we had by now changed to the name of MidMichigan Multisport in an effort to encourage folks from Midland and beyond. Obviously working full time, starting a family and training took time so there really wasn’t much organization back then. Still we had fun and folks began to bond in many ways—training together, sharing tips, trying new events and more.
After the 2006 season, Kage and I called 3 Disciplines Racing to talk about a potential venue at Sanford Lake. Our goal was to get an event close to home and we believed Sanford was an excellent choice! 3Disciplines agreed and in 2007 the inaugural Sanford and Sun Triathlon and Duathlon came to be. By this time the club continued to grow and many members were commonly seen wearing race clothing which set them apart at local events. The wheels were really rolling–we had a club, we had a local venue, we had a LOT of people doing a lot of different events BUT we still had no real leadership. Try as I might to organized group events, outings, fundraisers and such it required too much time away from work and family–not to mention training. It became frustrating to attend events and see the results section littered with folks from Midland, Freeland, and Sanford—many of whom had never even heard of our club.
So in late 2011, I asked our current board to meet over some beers–they didn’t know my plans but didn’t argue when I literally went around the table requesting roles for what was to become M3RC, a 501c3 non-profit corporatoin. Kevin Fowler as President not just because of his noble grey goatee but because he has a positive, can-do attitude which resonates to those around him. We chose Jill Gushow and Greg Dardas because they are positive, they’ll talk to anyone, and literally know just about everyone in town. We chose Kage Butcher not for his good looks but for his integrity and abilty to handle finances. We chose Jay Ousterhout just because he kicks ass and dog gonnit, people like him. So it began, M3RC as we know it today………..
Our goals for the first year, 2012 was to get 50 registered members—we got 100. Year two–140+ with at least that many signed up to join us again in 2014! Can’t wait to meet you all soon.
– M3RC Founder Craig Elford
Board of Directors (Oct 2017-Present)
Education and Outreach
Laura is a local physical therapist at Active Orthopedics, specializing in treating athletes of all types. She has been participating in triathlon since 2006, as something to do to stay in shape. Since then, she has competed in sprint to Ironman distance events and dabbled in the aquabike. Sprinting is her favorite. She races in the Athena division for female athletes greater than 165 pounds. Swimming, in her opinion, is the best part of the triathlon by far and, with the help of a few friends, has inaugurated The Epic Swim event. Other interests include softball, volleyball, and ultimate Frisbee. Her motto in triathlon, and in life, is to “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming” Always sung in Dory’s voice.
Emily’s true multisport love is running, something she’s been doing for over 10 years! In fact, you may recognize her from her job at Runners Athletic Co. Emily initially started running in high school, but developed a love when it was no longer a requirement to keep in shape for other sports. Emily has competed in road and trail races from 5k to marathon, and in the past few years has found a love for triathlons. Her favorite events are half marathons and sprint triathlons. Other interests include reading, traveling, going to concerts, and eating chocolate. Wednesday night group swims and Thirsty Thursday runs are her favorite group events, so come on out and join us!
Caroline and her husband Milton live in Midland with their sassy tabby Lil Mama, and will be welcoming their first child (a girl!) this July. She works for Health Enhancement Systems, where she’s part of an awesome team that creates workplace wellness campaigns. She got into running and triathlons after being a swimmer from elementary through high school, and playing club ultimate frisbee at University of Michigan. She enjoys participating in various athletic endeavors to balance out her love for craft beer and tacos. Her proudest athletic moments of late have been completing a half Ironman distance event in Tawas, and finishing a half marathon in Washington DC — 29 weeks pregnant.