Next up in our ongoing series of interviews is Ron L, a regular volunteer and walker. Contact us via the usual channels if you'd like to be featured in the spotlight!
Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Ron Lochocki, age 58. I grew up in Tonawanda NY, a suburb of Buffalo. I’ve lived over half my life now as a Michigander, mostly in the Ann Arbor area. I work in Milford.
Are you married or in a relationship?
I’ve been divorced for 6 years and am the father of two daughters (college and high school). Elizabeth is 20 and Suzanne is 17. Both sleep-in on Saturday mornings.
So… I guess what you are saying is, we shouldn’t expect to meet them at Lillie Park.
When did you start running/walking seriously?
I ran regularly in the late 80’s but gave it up because I thought I was too slow and should do something else. I didn’t have a basis for comparison and have since found out that I was doing just fine with my 9.5 minute mile. More recently I wanted to find a walking community when I connected with Stephanie through Rajiv, and the original “Let’s bring parkrun to AA” Meet-Up gang.
It’s great that you were able to find parkrun.
Where is your favorite place to go walking?
With all my new friends, at our parkrun. Walking around my neighborhood is kind-of boring.
What do you like about Lillie parkrun?
The interesting community of people I meet walking the route. I’ve had some truly interesting conversations. I also enjoy coffee afterward.
The coffee is the highlight of many parkrunners. What’s your favorite volunteer role at parkrun?
Tail Walker followed by Run Director. Set-up and take down are fun too. I have some vision issues which prevent me from doing the other jobs well.
Any tips for parkrunners or first timers who are coming to visit Lillie parkrun?
Volunteering is a great way to meet people. After that continue growing the family we’ve all become. And help build the community of walkers so I have more company when tail walking! Additionally, it has been nice to see how people have gotten so involved since our beginning. And in ways beyond the basic infrastructure necessary to field our weekly 5k - in things like the softer roles such as this newsletter or 3D printing the barcode sorting rack.
Yes, parkrun does have a great group of volunteers. Have you toured at other parkrun events?
I’ve not toured elsewhere. I’d like to do so.
Are there other activities that you really enjoy?
I shoot competitively and have been doing so since childhood. These are very different sports in which everybody learns safety protocols and muscle memory techniques to keep safe. I also teach people safe skills should they desire to learn. When I became active in parkrun, I found the whole “cheering people on” as they run kind-of odd. But I’ve adapted.
Don’t your vision issues hamper your ability to shoot?
Shooting is muscle therapy for the muscles that focus the eyes. I have good central vision, but compromised peripheral vision. It's macular degeneration in the retina.
Do you have any hobbies?
I know my way around cars. I have friends who restore or build race cars. I usually have my code reader with me if your car is showing a “check engine.” Just ask. I also follow the work of Primal guy Mark Sisson and cold therapy guy Wim Hof. I say this because healthy lifestyle is a hobby of sorts.
I know that you have helped a few of our fellow parkrunners with diagnosing engine problems.
Do you volunteer your time anywhere?
These days it’s parkrun. In years past it was my children’s school, or my church and before that, Jaycees. I’m a past president of the Ann Arbor Jaycees and a Past Michigan Jaycees Vice-President. I have friends all over the state from this organization. It taught me how volunteer organizations are built and maintained.
Do you belong to any clubs or organizations?
The Society of Automotive Engineers, and various shooting organizations. And parkrun!
Do you have any pets?
My daughter’s bunny rabbit, Gimli, lives at my house. He is a mini-Rex and is very quiet and friendly. He is litterbox trained and has the run of the living/ dining room, which are not furnished, except with hidy-boxes for him. These are inverted cardboard boxes he "modifies" by ripping larger entry / egress holes. Most rabbits chew something, he chews cardboard. He can have all the cardboard boxes to modify that he wants. There is an endless supply at Costco! He greets me each morning and when I come home from work, like a dog but without the bark – running around in a very happy way begging for a treat. Otherwise he sleeps a lot. We don't take him outside because if he ran into the forest we'd never see him owing to his natural camouflage. And then he'd only survive 2 days thereafter (which is what the house rabbit people tell me).
He is adorable! Gimli sounds like a great pet – he acts like a dog, but you don’t have to take him outside when the weather is bad.
Do you like to travel?
I do, particularly when the company is paying for it. I’ve been to some interesting places on road trips in years past. These days with one daughter in college and another heading that way, there’s not much in the budget for travel.
When you are able to travel, where do you like to go?
I have an affinity for Cedar Point's amusement park and hotel packages that lets you relax on the beach.
Ron, I would like to thank you for taking part in this interview. I hope that were are able to see you at Lillie parkrun tailwalking and diagnosing engine troubles again soon. Until then take care and stay safe.
Check out Ron's parkrun stats here (look at all those volunteer credits!)