If you are a local, especially in the racing and running scene, you probably know Dick Forbis. He’s been in the area for 21 years and specifically in Carrboro for the last eight. After many years at DuPont Experimental Station in Delaware, Dick and his lovely wife Sheryl moved back to Chapel Hill where he had attended undergrad at UNC. He then joined the Chemistry department running the undergraduate lab program. Once he retired from UNC, he continued working hard doing something he loves almost every weekend of the year. Many of us know him as owner and operator of Cardinal Race Services, yet you may not know quite how he got there...
In 1971, Dick realized he was eating lunch out too often and decided to replace two lunches per week walking the local track with a few guys from work. Little did he know that a small health conscious decision of the wallet and waistline would truly change his life.
After a few month of walking, Dick decided to try running the straightaways and walking the curves. Soon he bravely said, “I’m going to run the whole way around.” Once he ran a quarter, he couldn’t go back! He was officially a ‘Lunchtime Runner’ and he and his friends started adding a Saturday run to their work-week routine.
Dick on Friendship… "Running has always been a great way to meet great people.” Those original work friends who he started out walking the track with are still the best of friends 40+ years later! Running makes it so easy to talk openly and easily about work, family, news, and anything that comes to mind. “Everybody is a character- sometimes you don’t see it until you run together.” Dick recounts that once they all started traveling together for Half and Full Marathons, that led to ski trips with the wives, cementing their friendships for life.
Dick still runs a few miles, a couple times a week, and is deeply involved in our local running community. He is an original member of the Cardinal Track Club which formed years ago to promote running and fitness in Carrboro. The CTC’s first race was the Franklin Street Mile which they conducted for about five years. From there, they produced the Four on the Fourth race, the Carrboro 10k, and the Gallop & Gorge 8k on Thanksgiving Day. This year celebrates the 10th running of all three- Le Tour de Carrboro! Dick and the CTC manually timed races by pulling tabs and clicking the stopwatch until about five years ago. Chip timing emerged on the running scene and now RFID tags on bibs works efficiently as part of services by CTC and CRS. He continued to time many more races and offer race consulting to many UNC Campus groups and local organizations as Cardinal Race Services, which he still does to this day. “What better thing to do on a Saturday, since I am not putting the miles in anymore? I can go help others and stay involved.” He loves bringing science and technology to the morning, and to offer the accurate results that he appreciated as a runner.
How did you get involved with Fleet Feet? “Well, I poked my head in during that first week, when Chris Bevin was opening down where the bottle shop is now.” That was 20 years ago and Dick has been a friend and partner to Fleet Feet Sports ever since. He’s worked with each of the three families who have owned and operated Fleet Feet Carrboro over the years, as well as the folks at Fleet Feet, Inc. He remembers from the beginning the sense of community Fleet Feet has always provided, as well as the positive influence the store has made on the community through training groups. Fleet Feet started No Boundaries in 2006, which was all female at the time, and ever since then we see people running every morning of the year on the pathways of Carrboro and Chapel Hill.
From Brian White, current operator at Fleet Feet Sports, Carrboro --
Dick is a critical piece of the running and walking scene in our community. His efforts, consultation, and services have allowed countless people over the years be able to enjoy our community during local running events. More importantly, Dick is a friend with a great heart, and we are very lucky to get to work with him.