2008 GWTC Male Runner of the Year - Gary Griffin

Presented by George Palmer

To Transcend:

            To rise above or go beyond the limit of

            To triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of






Common running world jargon:

            Giving 110%

            No holding back

            Full Throttle

            Red lining


It’s understandable how these verbs, synonyms and sayings apply to the world of athletic competition; however they apply just as appropriately and comfortably on the other side of the competition/life balance sheet of the 2008 GWTC Male Runner of the Year award recipient.

You are standing on the threshold of stepping into the life of a caring, unselfish and dedicated individual that has blessed not only the lives of those in the running community, but also the lives of those who embrace other crusades.

This previous GWTC Volunteer of the Year award recipient has been involved in the Leon County American Cancer Society Relay for Life since its inception, elevating to Chair of this distinguished and worthwhile event, raising over $400,000.  He also has capably served on the Leon County American Cancer Society Executive Committee. 

This outstanding citizen has a powerful spiritual side to his makeup.  He has served as a Deacon and an Elder at Faith Presbyterian Church.  For over 15 years, he has ministered to the spiritual needs of others as a Lay Preacher at the Seafarer’s Chapel at Shell Point.  He has also been seen and heard spreading the Gospel at Westminster Oaks.

Most of us would be content with church involvement at the local level.  Remember the definition of “transcend”?  Well, our Male Runner of the Year has answered the missionary calls from Cuba, South Africa, Mexico, Jamaica and Costa Rica. 

He has served as the Race Director of one of our signature running events and currently is the Race Director of another outstanding venue where an abundance of running talents have been displayed. 

It’s difficult to imagine that there is any time left in his 24-hour day to take on another task.  Guess what?  He is a current Master Gardner and volunteer.  I’m not through yet.  He is now pursuing a Master’s Degree in Biblical Studies. 

Whew!  That wears me out. 

Now, for the competitive side of the balance sheet.  What will be imparted to you will probably reveal who this individual is if you haven’t figured it out yet.  It is because of the unique nature of the races in which he participates that makes it simple to know who he is. 

Let’s go anyway. 

This GWTC Male Runner of the Year has established himself as a perennial and premier ultra distance athlete, underscored by his performance in the 2008 Lean Horse 100 mile Ultra, where he recorded the fourth fastest time ever for a 58 year old male.  That’s ever

Do you remember my reference to competition/life balance sheet?  This guy still found time to compete in 9 ultras in 2008, racking up 376 miles or 42 miles per ultra.  Incredibly, he walked away from these races garnering a 1st Overall, a 2nd Overall, a 3rd Overall, two 6th Overalls and a 7th Overall.  And this is going toe to toe with outstanding fields in all races.  Not bad for a 59 year old. 

This person deserved our club’s recognition because: 

            of his incredible running performance;

            of his involvement in and contribution to GWTC;

            of his dedication to, respect for and investment in our community;

            of his spiritual gifts;

  of his devotion to his family, and

            he is who he is. 

In closing, here are his words explaining why he runs ultras, which is also a peek into his approach to living: 

          “They are 90% mental, I think.  I love the peaks and valleys that you

experience, and the knowledge that no matter how badly you feel, it

will always get better.  The feeling at the finish line of the ultra,

knowing that you fought your way through the tough times and

prevailed is the best.” 

Would everyone please stand as Bill, Dana, David, Ed, Gordon, Jeff, Ron and Peg escort to the podium, our friend and the 2008 Gulf Winds Track Club Male Runner of the Year, Gary Griffin