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He’s been there since, working with volunteers, greeting familiar faces and dealing with small emergencies. The other night, he assisted a runner facing a minor health scare, “but everything was OK.” Once, a runner got locked inside briefly when he didn’t hear that the place was closing.
Security has always been top-notch, Recker emphasized. “Cameras and security people are everywhere,” he said. “It was pitch black one night on the field and they knew I was there.”
Early on, Recker ran with the pack. Then he decided he liked socializing better, so he runs during the day on his own, arriving at the Dome around 4:30 p.m. to get everything ready. Then he spends three hours doing what he loves — “absorbing all the energy being thrown my way.”
The Dome rarely closed to runners, with the exception of Thanksgiving and other major holidays that landed on a Tuesday or a Thursday.
Recker remembers having to cancel one night in the 1980s. The Rolling Stones were in town.
“We’re flexible,” he said.
Mike Warden, of Eden Prairie, became a volunteer that first year and has worked closely with Recker since. “Rick is Minnesota running,” said Warden, 61, who has noticed one obvious change since the early days: “We all got older.”
Warden often had to talk himself into showing up. “All I wanted to do after work was go home,” Warden said. “Traffic was terrible, the weather was terrible. But once I got down [to the Dome], you’d connect with people you’d met over the years. That’s what I’ll miss.”
Recker, the father of three and grandfather of six, will be 71 when the new stadium opens. Expect to see him there, in his running shoes.
“I created something 31 years ago that’s lasted this long,” he said. “I can do it again.”
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