To some of you the initials SMTC or the name Santa Monica Track Club won’t ring any bell. Some others will immediately recognize the name of the athletics or “track and field” club in which some of the all time best athletes ran, such as Carl Lewis, Leroy Burrell, Michael Marsh, and many others.
When preparing the planning of our honeymoon, and since I was going to be running some days throughout it due to the preparation for San Diego marathon, I thought it would be nice to go and check SMTC and see where did they train and do a training session there myself.
I checked the website of the club but it did not help much. However, searching in different forums in the web, I found out that the club is not going through the best of the times struggling to find sponsors. The coach, Joe Douglas, is still the same one who prepared Carl Lewis. They normally trained in either in the Santa Monica College track (in the “Corsair Stadium”) and in Ocean Avenue, at a park by the beach, and they seemed to keep training in those places.
Then, I contacted the Santa Monica College faculty members in charge of the sports installations to see if I could use the track for training. Given the hours in which I planned to train (between 6 and 8 am) I obtained permission.
On May 15, Luca and I set out early in the morning for the track, where I did a 10 kilometre training surrounded by several other people running, walking or warming up to practice other sports.
It was a good experience and I am happy to have checked it out. However, it was a bit disappointing to see no memory, no sign, no trace of what glory that place lived not so long ago (ok, between 25 to 30 years ago). When I think of the legend that Carl Lewis is in athletics, I am puzzled that they do not show any pride of him.
Another thing that I missed was finding a t-shirt of the SMTC. I searched in various local shops but I didn’t find any. I learnt in some of them that Nike is selling a cotton replica (not a technical t-shirt) to commemorate it, however I didn’t find it in the stores, only in the online shop. I may buy it at some point as my personal and private homage to the SMTC of the ’80s.