by Dan Gould & Charlie Grotevant
There are runners who are passionate about our sport and there are runners who are passionate about our sport. Bob Pool was, clearly, one of the latter. Bob, 84, years young, sprinted across life’s final finish line on February 4, 2021, at the Prairieview Lutheran Home in Danforth, Illinois, where he resided since November, 2017.
Bob with brother John 1999 —
Bob was introduced to this running life in the mid-80’s by brother John. John had started in 1978 to lose some weight when he feared his waistline was turning into a wasteland and continued to run until 2010 when his knees said no more. He would log 670 races, many of them with Bob. They gave new meaning to the word car-Pool and many of us learned there was a village in Iroquois called Thawville (Pop. about 240).
Unlike John, Bob didn’t keep track of his miles or races, but he embraced the world of road racing with hundreds of 5K’s, 10K’s, and half marathons in his approximately 35 years of running which ended in 2017. His name was on the membership list of numerous running clubs including the Kankakee River Running Club, the Kennekuk Road Runners, the Lake Run Club, the Starved Rock Runners, the Vermillion Valley Striders, and the Second Wind Running Club. Bob was the Second Wind Running Club’s Runner of the Year in 2000.
In his Illinois Half Marathon shirt —-
While Bob never identified a favorite race, he spoke fondly of the River-to-River Relay in southern Illinois, an 80 mile race from the Mississippi River to the Ohio River which Bob ran several times. Each of the eight members of the team runs three legs of about 3 miles. A team event is rare in road racing and River-to-River is a day long bonding experience that begets some lasting friendships. Bob thoroughly enjoyed these shared opportunities to run and socialize.
The Kilbride Family Classic 5K on Father’s Day was also, apparently, one of Bob’s favorites. In 2010, Bob was one of three runners recognized for having participated in all of the first fifteen races.
Charlie Grotevant – Bob Pool – Dan Gould 2010 —-
Kilbride Classic 15 year perfect attendance plaques —-
When Bob retired from farming in 1998, he discovered golf and it became another passion, an every day event. Golf became his “cross-training ” as he walked the golf course while carrying his bag, sometimes 54 holes after a morning run. He disdained golf carts and resented having to ride in one for his golf league. As John had introduced Bob to running, Bob introduced John to golfing when John put the tractor in the barn for the last time in 2003. They shared starting lines and tee times for many years.
Our running world is populated with good, interesting people of all ages and from all walks of life. Bob was one of those guys, one of the people we looked forward to seeing on race day. He would be there with a smile, a positive attitude, a kind word. Bob, we will miss you. Thanks for the memories!