2012 Behind the Scenes Award - Presented to Vicky Verano

Mark Priddy, January 2012

Gulf Winds Track Club, as an organization, ifs fueled totally by volunteers…hundreds of different volunteers.
Most of the volunteers are highly visible.  You see them each weekend serving water, working finish lines, registering runners, and many of the other duties involved in putting on a race.

Some volunteers however, are not highly visible, and you may not be aware of the tremendous amount of work they do behind the scenes to make sure an event is successful.

Occasionally, the Awards Committee presents a Special Award.  We don’t do it every year, that’s why it’s called “Special”.  This year, we want to present one of those “special awards”, which we call “The Behind the Scenes Award”

It won’t take you long to guess the recipients’ name because “they” hold a unique position with the Club.

If you look over last year’s race calendar, you’ll see over 160 races listed.  Gulf Winds Track Club rented out equipment to over 60 of those racing events.  Now, you can do the math in your head, over 60 weekend events, and since there is only 52 weeks in the year, and some weekends in the summertime don’t have racing events due to the heat, it doesn’t take long to realize that someone has to be at the storage unit every weekend to distribute this equipment, keep track of inventory that is leased out, who is taking it, security deposits, and be available after the weekend to receive back and inventory the equipment.

It’s a huge time commitment and one that doesn’t allow many weekends to take off and leave town. It takes very good organization skills to pull this off.  Tonight’s recipient has mastered those skills

When someone reserves the equipment, our recipient tells them what day and time to be available to pick it up and what day and time they must return it.  If the race director cannot work within those time parameters, then they will hear, “Sorry, that‘s the only time I’m available to meet you”.

 Now, I have some firsthand knowledge of procedure.  As a new race director a few years ago, I couldn’t quite work my schedule around the appointed time.   Well, that wasn’t a problem because I had a little used spare key to the storage unit, so I arrived at my convenience to load up the truck, only to discover that someone had changed the locks! So I had to humbly make the phone call to tell this person that I would meet them at the appointed time.

Our Club President, Judy Alexander tells the story of showing up this past Veterans Day for the inaugural Veterans Day 5k.

“I ended up at the race site as the only person who knew anything about how to organize a race.  The problem was that I didn’t realize beforehand that I was going to be that person.  So in the midst of answering a lot of questions I didn’t really know the answers to, not having enough blank race forms, and pens that were so cold that they wouldn’t write, course volunteers who had no idea where to go, etc. etc.   I discovered something crucial missing from the finish line: age group boxes.   I was expected to compile awards information and there were no bibs so I had to have some way to separate the finish cards.  I was pretty stressed out and panicked at this point because the turnout was much larger than expected.   Awards and Results are important in any race, but especially in a first-year event, as people form lasting opinions from the first time and use those options to decide the following year whether or not to return.

I took a deep breath and called ‘tonight’s award recipient.’   Bear in mind that it’s 7 a.m., 34 degrees, the race is a point-to-point course downtown, and ‘this person’ lives out near Lake Jackson.

Judy:  Hi, this is Judy.  I need a really, really big favor
“—-“having been awakened from sleep…Hey Judy, what do you need?
Judy: the Vets group didn’t pick up the materials I need to compile the awards.
“—–“No Problem, Let me get some clothes on and I’ll go by the storage unit and deliver them to you. See you in a few!”

This is an example of how our award winner goes way above and beyond what is expected.

Oh, yeah, I think it is also important to note that this person has collected over $4000 for the Club this year for equipment rental fees.

At this time, I am honored to present the 2012 Behind the Scene’s Award to the Gulf Winds Track Club Equipment Manager, Vicky Verano.