“He Never Ran a Mile He Didn’t Like!”
The Tal Morrison Scholarship Fund (TMSF) is a Texas non-profit charitable organization created to pay tribute to and honor the contributions of Tal Morrison to the Dallas running community. A strong health and fitness advocate, Tal was a pioneer of Dallas-area organized running groups and events. He founded the Cross Country Club of Dallas (now known as the Dallas Running Club), the White Rock Marathon (now known as the Dallas Marathon), and the DRC Half Marathon, also known as “The Half.” The TMSF provides financial assistance in the form of first year college scholarships to Dallas area high school students. To be eligible, the high school student must be a graduating senior and have been an active participant in a high school cross-country running program. Winners are not required to run in a collegiate program, but each applicant must demonstrated the discipline and competitiveness in the sport of cross-country running to be considered for the scholarship. Candidates are judged on their overall academic, athletic, and school activity performance, as well as their written essays. Please visit the TMSF Facebook page for more information!
In April 2013, Dallas Running Club donated $15,000 to TMSF. More info of past and current scholarship winners listed here.
So who is that Tal guy, anyway?
Tal Morrison founded the Cross Country Club of Dallas in 1969, and served as the president for the club’s first four years. He started running in 1960, inspired by the push President Kennedy was making at the time for physical exercise. “President Kennedy didn’t want any fat military,” Morrison recalls. Three years later, in 1963, he did his first 50 miler – a race in Washington, D.C. named after President Kennedy.
When he retired in 1967, he continued running and usually found himself at White Rock Lake. He decided to start a running club, and he wanted to pattern it off the New York Running club, which had a race the first Saturday of every month at 8 a.m. To get members, he would stop other runners he would see at the lake and ask for their contact information.
The first year, dues were a whopping $3 and the club had about 20 members, including Don Lucas, a lawyer-turned-shoe-salesman. He went on to open his first running shoe store – named after his dog, Luke.
At the very first Dallas Turkey Trot in November of 1969, Tal’s new club members cleaned up. “We had about 15 of our members run the race and everyone placed,” Morrison remembered.
In 2006, the club was renamed Dallas Running Club (DRC), to highlight its roots in Dallas.
To honor of the great contribution he has made to DRC and the Dallas running community, DRC’s April race is officially called The Tal Morrison Classic. The Tal Morrison Scholarship Fund was set up to give financial assistance to local high school runners. Tal (though now in his 90s) still joins us every year to give the scholarships to the winning runners at the Tal Morrison Classic.