In 1974, John F. Scimone founded the Lakeland Runners Club when he helped the Lakeland Parks and Recreation Department hold the 2.5 and 5 mile Civic Center Runs (currently known as the RP Funding Center), which started from the south parking lot and ran around Lake Hunter. The Civic Center Runs were the first organized road races in Lakeland in recent history and one of the first races in all of Central Florida.

John F.  was born in Medford, MA and ran on the cross-country team at prep school in Cambridge.  He ran a 4:52 mile and was captain of his cross country team.  In 1966, he brought his family to Lakeland, settling near Dobbins Park where John did his running.  He was a mail carrier, and as walking was a big part of his day, he competing in events as a race walker. 

The Civic Center runs were held until 1987. Scimone was also responsible for the Lake Parker 20K (1978-1983), the Denison Stadium 1-hour run (1978-1979), the Saddle Creek Park 4 mile (19??-19??), the Joker Marchant Stadium 4 mile (later named the Flag Day 4 mile) (19??-19??), and the Lakeland Senior High 10K (19??-19??).

In October 1978, Scimone was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer and he died at age 44 in December 1978. 

The club continued and joined the YMCA as a nonprofit custody account in the early 1980s.  In 1990, the club separated from the YMCA and joined the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA).  In 1997, the club incorporated as a non-for-profit corporation in Florida as the Lakeland Runners Club, Inc. 

Other events that are part of LRC race history are: the Toughest Race in Florida 10k (1978-1985), Christina 5k (1984-2016), Sun Screemers Biathalon (1985-1999), Last Chance 50 Miler (1989-1998), Go Green 5k (2010-2012), and Double Down 5k (2017-2019). 

The LRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit subordinate organization of the RRCA.

LRC Past Presidents:

Lakeland Runners Club

1974—1977: John Scimone

1978: Norm Strand and Rob Mason

1979—1982:  Rob Mason 

Lakeland Family YMCA Runners Club

1983—1987:  Rob Mason 

1988: Bob English

1989: Don Roberts

1990: Rich Mistretta

Lakeland Runners Club, subordinate 501(c)(3) under the RRCA

1991: Rich Mistretta

1992: Bob Trimble

1993: Dan Windley, Bob English

1994: Dianna Campbell

1995: Judy Cline

1996: Bob English

Lakeland Runners Club, Inc., subordinate 501(c)(3) under the RRCA

1997: Bill Little

1998:  Fred Wiechmann

1999:  Richard Fansler

2000:  Jim Pearson

2001:  Matt Werd

2002:  Nick Sudzina

2003—2004: Bucham Walsh

2005: Sue Abrahsom (a few months – transferred out of state)

2005—2007: Louis Irwin

2008: Steven (Hank) Hankins

2009: Rob Mason

2010—2014: Bryan Graydon

2015: Chuck McDanal

2016—2018: Gail Hardy

2019—2021: Sarah Kozul

2022: Michelle Hoffert

2023: Chris Baker