2001 Female Runner of the YearBy Fred Deckert
It is my great pleasure to make the presentation for the 2001 Female Runner of the Year. This young woman is no flash in the pan or one year wonder, but she has been one of the most consistent top competitors male or female since and even before Margarete and I arrived in Tallahassee in 1988. My records only go back that far, but she has been 1st in her age group every year but two when she took 2nd. In addition she was in the top 5 at least 4 time during that period. Her record of consistently superior running at every distance from the mile to the 50K has very few peers in GWTC.
In 2001, she was again tops in her age group and first in age group for the Half Marathon, Couples Caper, Bowlegs 5K, St. Marks Trail 5K, Palace Saloon, Springtime 10K, Rose City 10K, 2nd of 43 in her age group in the highly competitive Gate to Gate race, First in age group for the Breakfast on the Track mile, Critter Run 5K, Women’s Distance Festival 5K, Wild Run 5 mile, Echo Run 5K, Pine Run 20K, Prefontaine 5K, Florida Festival 5K, and the Apalachicola Seafood Festival 5K. I might add that she probably holds the female record for miles traveled in search of strange running locales.
In addition to this dazzling record of performance, she has also been instrumental in every facet of Gulf Winds Track Club operations, having served as an officer, a board member, an activity coordinator and she has co-directed many races over the past years. There is hardly an area of club activity that you can’t find a sign of her presence, and always in a positive sense. During the infrequent occasions that she hasn’t been able to compete, she’s been working the sidelines as a volunteer.
I’ve often noticed her warming up with other groups of runners, often only with males who could keep up her pace. Unfortunately I’ve always been too slow to join in and learn the source of her attraction. Just recently I got a clue. It seems a few years ago she was driving some friends home from a rafting trip in NC. Our runner of the year drives like she runs…fast, and was caught by the highway patrol in a speed trap. She assured her friends she could talk her way out of a ticket, but for once words failed her when she noticed the trooper was no frail male, but another woman!
All this physical activity has been accomplished while pursuing a demanding professional life. It’s with great pleasure I present to you the woman who richly deserves our designation as Runner of the Year, Mary Jean Yon!