2014 Cleveland-Caldwell Advancement of the Sport AwardPresented by Stanley Linton
When I was a freshman at Wakulla High School, I had no idea what cross country was. Didn’t know what it was about or why people did it, until that sophomore year when I joined the track. That was 5 years ago, and as the years went by, I grew a love for running that was overwhelming. I threw myself into the Gulf Winds Track Club. I wanted to know all about the history of running, the records, and the legends. My coach and his wife had no problems sharing stories of how things were and how things are today. They introduced me to the world of running and I would not be a runner if it wasn’t for them.
If you don’t believe ME, here are some short statements from other runners they’ve coached in the past. One runner said “I can honestly say that those long lonely workouts were some of the most memorable times in my life. Without his influence I would not have enjoyed near the success that I did nor would I be the person that I am today.” Another said “They introduced me to the sport, after that senior year they weren’t just coaches to me they were friends and still are! “
I had asked many others who were coached under these two, and the responses were almost identical. They have made a big difference in my life, and in many lives. And the best thing is they instilled a love for running in all of us. Their philosophy was much more than winning. That first year the program had just enough people to make a team. Now the program has 40 to 50 people come out each year. We all find joy in the sport, which leaves no doubt in my mind that they deserve this award.
The two awardees have been involved with the Gulf Winds track club for quite some time now. One of them serves as a member on the Chenoweth committee while the other received runner of the year in 1993. You can almost always find them working the water tables at the Turkey Trot 15k and Tallahassee Ultra Distance Classic. And on some occasions, they’ll lace up the shoes and race a bit.
To this day I still hold a tight bond with the two award winners. They even save a spot for me at Thanksgiving. Ladies and Gentleman, the winners of the Cleveland-Caldwell Advancement of the Sport award goes to Paul and Myrna Hoover.