Arrowhead Run Team honors Joe Moreno for ten years of support of their program

Joe Moreno and the Arrowhead Run Team in 2017. Photo from the Hola America Archives Joe Moreno y el equipo de carreras de Arrowhead del 2017. Foto de los Archivos de Hola America 2017

By Nicholas Cunningham, Hola America

Ten years ago, Joe Moreno took a call from Arrowhead inquiring about helping him with the Firecracker Run in hopes that their residents could participate in the event as part of a new therapeutic running program they were creating for the youth at the facility. Arrowhead is a private, non-profit treatment facility serving at-risk youth aged 12-21 that’s been serving the community since 1945. After a decade and nearly forty races later, Moreno and Arrowhead are still working together and continue to provide a positive outlet for the residents in the program. “At the time, I never thought it would be a long-term relationship,” says Moreno. “You think it’s just for that one race, then it turns into a year, and the next year here you are.”

That support from Moreno and his staff grew from the Firecracker Run to include the Freedom Run, the Quad Cities Marathon, and the Ganzo’s 5K. They became some of the largest and most recognized community service events for the Arrowhead youth, and continue to be a part of their program.  “I think it’s a mutual benefit,” says Moreno.  “I know those kids benefit being in this environment that we offer, and we absolutely benefit by having their support.”


Arrowhead CEO, Dr. Luis Moreno, Joe Moreno and Nicholas Cunningham Arrowhead Run Team coach.

For Moreno, working with Arrowhead is close to his heart. He relates on a personal level to the youth in the program, especially those he meets at his events.  “I can relate because I was a troubled teenager,” explains Moreno.  “There’s been times over the years that I do share a little tidbit of experience with the team.  I tell these kids that one time in my life, I was in their shoes, and I hope that it’s a message of hope that anything is possible.”


Hundreds of kids have met Moreno over the years, and he is always happy when he runs into them after they have graduated from Arrowhead’s program.  “It’s cool to see a young adult who has been through the program that now has their head on straight. The cherry on top is that they recognize me or remember me. They are very gracious and talk to me and ask me if I remember them.  In some cases, they say I helped them.”

Moreno will continue to direct the Firecracker Run, the Freedom Run, and the Quad City Marathon where he currently has two assistants to help with that weekend’s festivities. Arrowhead, like every organization, has adapted to the changing times. With numbers being lower now than they were a decade ago, Moreno has made it clear that he and Arrowhead will continue to work together to ensure the area’s youth always have a positive outlet to become more responsible members of their communities. “Even if it’s just one kid,” explains Moreno.  “That could be that young Joe Moreno that needs it and needs that environment.”

With the year coming to a close, Moreno is excited for what the 2024 race season will bring. “Ten years ago, I never thought I’d be in this position with these races,” says Moreno. “You don’t wake up one day and say, I want to be a race director, it just happens.  What I want people to know is that I am lucky to have a great team around me.”

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