every runner has a story

Dave & Cookie Quarles

When people ask what they are going to get if they join the Lakeland Runners Club, I tell them you’re going to get people like Dave and Cookie Quarles. They have been graciously welcoming new members into this club for over 30 years.

You may have met Dave and Cookie if you’ve run the Saturday morning runs out of Black & Brew or Thursday hill runs starting on Johnson Ave. at Florida Southern College, as Dave and Cookie have been hosts for both runs for many years. When they’re not running or hosting you will see them cheering and photographing with their beautiful canine companion Brindi-Lou.

Cookie started out as a walker when she was a dance teacher at the Highlands School of Dance and then a nurse with the Clark and Daughtry Medical Group.  She also did aerobics at the YMCA and would walk or run to and from her sessions.  One Saturday morning on Cleveland Heights Boulevard as Cookie was running past Dave he commented “Nice legs!” and Cookie said: “You have nice legs too.”  And that was the beginning of what we now know at the inseparable team of Dave-Cookie Quarles.  Cookie admired the fact that Dave was the overall Masters winner finishing the Lake to Lake 10k in 35:55 minutes and Dave admired Cookies dedication to running and the fact that she was not a competitive person inspired him.

Dave and Cookie joined LRC in 1990 and started setting up races with Dan Windley and then eventually took over those duties and set up races themselves until the last few years.  They said they were setting up race courses and running them too ! They enjoyed every minute! Their favorite races are Lake to Lake 10k, Mayfaire 5k, Watermelon Series and Aching Quad……They also enjoyed The Tour De Pain in Jacksonville many years and eventually Dave did Boston !  Dave-Cookie said they have met so many people running the Saturday Downtown Fun Run and the Hill Run on Thursdays for more than 30 years. Well, we’ve been running 40-50 years by the grace of God and with new joints here and there. “We’re still going.”

Thank you, Dave and Cookie, for making so many people feel welcome and being true ambassadors for the Lakeland Runners Club.  I personally will always be grateful to you for making me feel like I could belong.  Be Strong, Belong!  ~Roxanne Youngs

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