Bill Arbeleaz

“I was unaware of my BQ for another year. I knew it was a pretty good time, but I merely thought it was just a good race!”

The Beginning:
Bill Arbelaez had been a solo runner for almost twenty years, and enjoyed it, but after running several Strider-produced races over the years, including Clyde’s and The Columbus Chase, he started running some of the weekly races, and got to know a number of the regulars. He joined the HC Striders in 1997, thinking he might be able to help out, and looking forward to a long association, decided to sign up for the Lifetime Membership offer.

Bill’s Proudest Running Moments:
Bill’s proudest running moments were about running with or coaching other runners. Starting with the Junior Striders, when his sons were involved, progressing to the Next Step programs, as a coach or coordinator, he had always been the proudest of the runners who embraced their own challenge, and succeeded in their efforts. In 2006, Bill was asked to take the RRCA Coaching Training Course, so he could be certified, and help the club. He was honored by the request.

As for his own efforts, qualifying for, and running in the Boston Marathon, was a humbling and memorable experience. Running unexpected PR’s was also quite rewarding. As for other moments, running the sixth leg of the first American Odyssey, which included a relentless climb on the backside of a mountain. Running with a team, and helping their effort, Bill’s proud of that experience. He ran the American Odyssey six more times, because of the comraderie and the experience it offers.

Best Races of a Lifetime:

  • April 26, 1992 – Clyde’s 10K – 39:35. A PR, breaking 40 minutes. Cool and wet; a great day for a race!
  • July 4, 1997 – Meade Fest 5K – 18:13. A hot, humid morning, resulting in a PR. Totally unexpected!
  • April 8, 2001 – Cherry Blossom Ten-Miler – 68:22. A huge PR, on a cool, wet, perfect day!
  • October 20, 2001 – Inaugural Baltimore Marathon – 3:30:35(chip) extra hills, Northern Pkwy, and all… – At the age of 44, Bill decided that running a marathon might be possible, the first Baltimore Marathon was his second effort at that distance, but it seemed like a perfect fit. A gorgeous day, and fantastic event. Bill was unaware of his BQ for another year. He knew it was a pretty good time, but he merely thought it was just a good race!
  • March 20, 2010 – Charlottesville Ten-Miler – 71:12 – Bill’s first really good race, post his spinal fusion. This course is in a beautiful town, that happens to include a lot of hills. He had run this race the year before, but this was an improvement of almost 8 minutes. This was one he really worked for, and it showed!

Volunteer Extraordinaire
Bill’s major goal for joining the Striders was to find ways to help out, and carry on a pre-existing tradition. Within the first year of Bill joining, he was marking the courses for the weekly races in Jeffers Hill, and the summer races in Oakland Mills. This continued for the next fifteen years. In 1998 he started helping the Junior Striders, as a coach with the Cross Country program, as his own sons started to run. He also helped with the spring track program, starting the following year. In 2000-2001 Bill worked with Jim Carbary as lead coach and coordinators for the spring and fall Junior Striders programs.

  • 2004-2006 – Served as Membership Chair on the Striders Board.
  • June, 2006 – Took the 2-day RRCA Coaches Training Course, in Rockville, along with Jim Carbary.
  • Fall, 2006 – Began coaching with the Striders Next Step program.
  • 2006 – Present (2017) – Bill has either coached and/or coordinated every single training program offered by the Striders, with the exception of F.I.T. This includes, Next Step Zero to Weekly (Coordinator 2016, and coach), Building to Bagel (coach), Hibernation to 5K (coach, Coordinator 2014-today/continuing), NS 10K/previously also 10 Mile (coach each session since 2006, unless injured, Coordinator multiple times, including the past three years, and continuing), NS Half/Full Marathon(Coordinator several times, and a coach, from its inception).
  • 2010 – Bill was asked to serve as Vice President of the Striders, starting in January, 2011.
  • 2011 – 2013 – Vice President, Howard County Striders.
  • 2013 – 2015 – President, Howard County Striders.
  • 2014 – 2017 – Race Director, Clyde’s 10K.
  • 2015 – Present – Board member, Howard County Striders. First as Immediate Past President, then as Newsletter liaison.

The tenure of a HCS President usually involves unexpected situations and a couple examples show that Bill’s was no exception. Supporting a Towson teacher severely injured during the Boston Marathon bombing, on short notice the Striders hosted an emotional 4.09 mile fund raiser race. This drew hundreds of participants including the teacher’s family members. Also, Bill deftly handled media interviews after local runners were harassed while running on trails.

Bill has lead and/or served on several committees over the years, including The Tripp Scholarship Committee, and the annual awards committee. He continues to share his years of experience on these committees.

Bill exhibits the attributes of the ideal Howard County Strider – a dedicated runner; a volunteer who devotes time to almost every club activity; the ability to help other runners meet their goals; and, a compassion for people, making him a steadfast friend to so many.