The mission of the Illinois Valley Striders (IVS) is to promote wellness through running and walking activities, while striving to enhance our community. IVS serves its members, the running community, and the community at-large through its active involvement in programs, events, and organizations that support this mission. View the IVS fact sheet.
Over 40 years ago, Dave Snider, who was then the Director of Recreation at the Peoria Park District, invited local running enthusiasts to a meeting to start a Central Illinois running club. Ed McGraw, an aspiring East Peoria Cross Country Coach, and Steve Shostrom, a novice marathoner and energetic labor attorney, were the only two to accept this invitation. This trio founded the Illinois Valley Striders in 1973. During the next year, the Illinois Valley Striders put on two races, a fun run series, and had a membership of nineteen. Read the first issue of the IVS newsletter "Off The Track" from 1974.
Since it's founding, IVS has grown to become one of the premiere membership groups in downstate Illinois. With over 700 members, IVS hosts more than one hundred events in and around the Peoria area, and is known nationwide for the Steamboat Classic Race. IVS members pride themselves on community involvement through participation in many area wide causes. The Striders are the administrators of Peoria's Race for the Cure (one of the nation's largest), providing professional finish line coordination and results for this important event. In addition, the Striders provide finish line, course control and results for the Illinois State Cross Country Championship which is hosted yearly in Peoria. Along with these two very large events, IVS provides race results, finish line volunteers and services to local road races around the area. As an organization, the Striders are committed to the ongoing development of Peoria's riverfront. Working in alliance with The Peoria Park District, Peoria Police and other local government bodies, IVS hosts training runs, group runs and run/ walk races on or near the riverfront.