PEORIA Ill -- As nearly 5,000 participants paced themselves through either the Steamboat Classic's 4-K or 15-K on Saturday, one large group trailed behind, surrounding the man who started the race 40 years ago.
"Anything that is running related in Central Illinois, it's DNA links back to him," said race director, Philip Lockwood. "Everyone who moves on two feet in active sports events, running or walking, owes a great deal of thanks and credit to Steve Shostrom."
Founder of the Steamboat Classic, Steve Shostrom was honored in a Team Steve 4-K walk of his own.
Shostrom, who has suffered several health problems in the past, kept a steady pace, pushing his walker every step of the way.
It's been 15 years since Shostrom participated in the Steamboat Classic, and this year he was able to finish thanks to the support of family and friends.
He was joined by his wife, Joy Kessler, who is also one of the few to have participated in the Classic for the entire 40 years.
"Steve's walking today is part of the concept that anybody can be involved in this kind of activity," said Kessler.
"Ever since I lost my balance I haven't been able to do much aerobically," said Shostrom. "I do the exercycle maybe a little bit. Generally, I haven't been able to do much, and this marks the start of trying to do stuff."
Race Director, Philip Lockwood said they will be putting more energy into the 4-K walk/fun-run in the coming years to bring in more young runners and individuals with disabilities.
"It's always exciting because Philip always adds a touch that I didn't know about," said Shostrom. "It's exciting to see."