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Art Kitze

Year Inducted: 2022

Art was, from his earliest days as a runner, a proselyte. He believed from the very beginning in the discipline and positive impact that the fun and freedom that drew him to running was much more. Art was an influencer and by his nature a proponent of all that was good in running. His love of running was modeled in his philosophy of life. 

Art’s high school PR’s and accomplishments include: 880 = 2:01; Mile = 4:26; 2 Mile = 9:29, 10th place in XC State meet = 15:26 (1974); 1st place XC Junior Olympics Midwest Regional (1974). 


At Hillsdale College in Michigan, his photographic memory gave him a unique insight into his teammates, competitors, and coaches. He knew his teammates better than they knew themselves based on their past performances and established “track record” and his observations always served to bolster and encourage his    teammates and friends to perform better than they believed possible.


Art was the first person at Hillsdale to achieve Athletic All-American status while on an academic scholarship. He set the school record for the Indoor 2 mile (9:00) in 1979. He was a four-year letterman in both cross country and track. Art earned All-Conference and All-District honors in cross country. 


Post college, Art was a four-time Motor City Striders Overall Club Champion (1981-1984). MCS is the largest running club in Michigan. 

Over the years, Art recorded some impressive PR’s on the roads: 5K = 14:20; 10K = 30:15; marathon = 2:26:0. 


Upon his move to Dayton, Ohio, he took on an intermittent racing schedule as he and his wife Michelle were starting a family (sons Matthew and Stephen), along with Art starting his own CPA business. They made the decision to let Michelle focus on racing while Art focused on his business. Even with his limited racing he continued to run, train seriously and race at a national class level well into his 60’s. While his later years were riddled with injuries, each time he came back, he did so with that same focused drive and ferocity of determination to achieve his best. His most recent races at age 64 would have placed him among the national leaders in the mile, 5K and half-marathon, had he chosen to submit his race times to Those times (age-graded) would nearly equal the times he was running in college, and all of them age grade above the National Class standard of 80%, some much closer to the World Class standard of 90%. His 1-mile time of 5:34 from the ORRRC Dash for Cash in 2021 age grades to a 4:19 on the WMA age graded tables, and 85.8%. 


On March 5, 2022 Art started his next journey. He is tremendously missed by all who knew him. All of the passion, drive, enthusiasm, and commitment Art exhibited in his running also came through in every other part of his life. Add to this, his generous heart for helping people improve their lives in whatever way he could and his loyal commitment to family, friends and clients; one may be left with the obvious understanding that knowing Art was a life enriching experience for all those blessed to know him.  

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