The University of Chicago Track Club Holiday Meet was founded in 1953 when coach Edward “Ted” Haydon organized an indoor meet for his growing club and for other Chicago-area track and field athletes home for Christmas. The UCTC continues to sponsor a holiday track meet, now known as the Ted Haydon Classic, every December in the Henry Crown Field House on the University of Chicago campus.
The UCTC strives to continue Ted Haydon’s goal of promoting the sport of track and field by providing a club for active athletes, by putting on track meets, and by providing officials for track meets at all levels. In addition to the indoor Haydon meet, the UCTC organizes six summer all-comers track meets. These events are open to everyone.
In recent years, the competitors have ranged from younger than 2 years to older than 70 years, and their abilities have ranged from complete novice to nationally-noted high school athletes. While the club occasionally sponsors a few elite athletes and is represented by some national champion masters runners as well as other adult runners of all abilities; in recent years, the UCTC has concentrated its energies on a growing youth program.
Faced with limited opportunities for Chicago-area youngsters to compete in track and field, the UCTC attempts to fill this void by offering competitive opportunities and coaching. Youngsters compete locally, regionally, and nationally. This program relies heavily on parental support and requires that participants keep up with their schoolwork if they are to compete in a club uniform.