The first newsletter was published in September 1977 by the original running club in Hattiesburg, called the Hattiesburg Track Club. John Pendergrass was founder and first President, and later received the national Club President of the Year from the RRCA for his work with the club over the first several years. This club thrived for a number of years during the running boom (e.g. we had 200 runners at an early Labor Day 5K), and then was succeeded by an active YMCA running program, the Y Runners.
Eventually Van Lowry, the Y director, retired and the Y running program died down. Luckily soon (same decade) thereafter the Ryders retired to Hattiesburg and revived interest in a running club, which the new members decided to call the Pine Belt Pacers.
In addition to the photos below, this first newsletter had the mailing list of over 65 members in 40+ families. Some of the folks on that original list are still active in running or biking locally and included Lewis Hatten, Steve Herring, John Pendergrass, Tom Puckett, Terry Delcuze, the Woolbrights, Carl Touchstone (founder of the MS 50), and the Beardshalls.
Some fun facts:
The old Driver's Ed lot is the current Payne Center parking lot.
This was before the days of PCs and the newsletter was hand typed and mailed to each member family. Post cards were used to remind members of races and meetings.
HTC = Hattiesburg Track Club
¢ = Cents (indicating the price of something was less than a dollar!)