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'Meet two Bellin Run Legends with stories spanning 48 years.

Bellin Run Legends have participated in the event every year since 1977.
Posted at 6:52 PM, Jun 06, 2024

GREEN BAY (NBC26) — The Bellin Runs returns for another year and so are pioneers who helped shape its history.

  • Video shows two Bellin Run Legends — people who have run in every Bellin Run since 1977.
  • There are 20 Bellin Run Legends.
  • The Bellin Run was only meant to be held for one year, but due to high demand, it returned for a second year.
  • Learn more about the Run's history and the story behind both legends. You can watch the 48th Bellin Run at NBC26.com.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

For the 48th year, the annual Bellin Run brings fitness and community together in the streets of Green Bay.

Within its rich history, is an elite group: The Bellin Run Legends.

Paul Steckart is one of 20 legends participating in all 47 Bellin Runs.

"The longevity part of it is something that they thought of starting the second year of the Bellin when they decided it wasn't just the original Bellin Heartwarming Run," Paul Steckart, a Bellin Run Legend, said. "I think from that point a lot of people set goals to keep it going."

Steckart said he found out about the run while at Red Owl Grocery store in De Pere and mailed in his entry.

"The rest is history," Steckart said.

John Des Jardins joins Steckart as a Bellin Run Legend.

"If it was 20 below zero, I would run. If it was like high 90's, humid, I would run," Des Jardins said. "It was a positive addiction, I love it, I loved being outside."

Des Jardins found out about the race while returning from school in Atlanta.

He says he took part in runs in Atlanta but there hadn't been any in Green Bay.

"All of a sudden I heard Bellin is going to have a road race, I got real excited and said I've got to participate in that race," Des Jardins said.

The run was created by George Kerwin, Bellin Hospital's founder when thinking of ways to fund a new cardiac unit.

"The first event went on without a hitch but it was going to be one year," Assistant Race Director, Linda Maxwell, said.

Maxwell said the run was as an immediate fan-favorite — Prompting it to return for year two.

"It's more like a get-together for all the people that are goal-setters and that really enjoy the outdoors and just being active," Steckart said.

Steckart and Des Jardins said they aim to keep their Legend status.

They also say people running for a personal cause are legends in their own way.

NBC26 is the official television sponsor for the Bellin Run. Catch the livestream of the race on our website.