2014 Community Involvement AwardPresented by Sean Hudson
Just as important as individual awards, it is also essential that the Gulf Winds Track Club recognize members of the community that make an impact on the great sport of running in the Tallahassee area.
We are lucky and blessed to have a vibrant running community with many people and organizations that contribute every year to the enjoyment of running in the Big Bend area.
As runners, one of our first tasks before each run is lacing up our latest pair of running shoes and enjoying the ride as we gobble up miles on the road or trail. Shoes have transformed from just a few options, to a multitude of options. The Nike Cortez or Waffle Trainer of the 70s, the famous New Balance 1300 running shoes in the 80s, the Nike Air Max models in the 90s all became running shoe icons that runners relied upon routinely.
Instead of having just a couple of shoe brands to pick from, runners now have a ridiculous amount of options to choose from these days. In fact, many of my running friends have at least three or four different models to choose from, depending on the type of race they are running. It makes it difficult to select the best shoes for any runner’s feet.
Before I began to take running seriously, I had no idea what shoes, shorts or shirt to put on before beginning my run. Let’s just say, running in high tops with long basketball shorts without the proper undergarments was not the right choice. It was a tough running lesson to learn for a newbie runner. All I can say is OUCH, and that did not give me a great first impression to the world of running.
Soon I found out that listening to some seasoned runners about proper running gear was an important to the enjoyment of running. Providing advice about the correct running gear is just one area that our next Community Award recipient can assist runners with locally.
In 2010, two local running stars noticed that Tallahassee was lacking a store devoted strictly to runners. Yes, we had other options to choose from locally, including some national retail stores, but these two runners knew we could offer more to the runners of Tallahassee.
In that year, Capital City Runners was founded as a cooperative business venture by two former Olympic runners Kevin Sullivan and Nate Brannen. Once Nate decided to continue his professional running career in early 2011, Jonathan Manry bought out Nate’s share of the company and has continued to be the consistent on-site business owner of Capital City Runners.
Early on, it was clear that Capital City Runners was not created to profit off a hot sport in Tallahassee. Part of their mission statement is to build a community and retail environment that is “For Tallahassee Runners, by Tallahassee Runners.”
They always want to stress to its customers that Capital City Runners is not ‘our’ shop, but rather it belongs to the Tallahassee Running Community. They believe in the power of encouraging folks to better their health and overall sense of self through the sport of running.
They also think it is important to use their expertise and influence to assist their customers who are in need of training, nutrition and general running advice. When competing against online mega retail store options, they realize that in order to win the support of their local customers they have to be outstanding in not only their expertise, but also in the support and contribution to the thriving running community in which we live.
And in the past year 4 plus years, Capital City Runners has been ever present in supporting the Gulf Winds Track Club, numerous local races and most importantly, individuals who need assistance with learning more about running.
Just in this past year, Capital City Runners has provided financial, in-kind and volunteer hour donations to multiple races on the Gulf Winds Track Club calendar. Capital City Runners has provided sponsorships to more than 20 local races, and they have hosted packet pickup for at least nine local races
They were also instrumental in heading up the Turkey Trot Training Group and will begin heading up the Springtime 10K Training Group runs this year. And it is important to note that both of these groups are free training groups for the public.
The faces behind Capital City Runners are recognizable to any local runners, because this group is ever present in the running community.
I would like to recognize owners Jonathan Manry and Kevin Sullivan for being instrumental to the operation of Capital City Runners. Both have always been supportive of the Gulf Winds Track Club and to me personally ever since the opening of Capital City Runners.
They also rely on a great support team that many of you know and I would like to mention a few of them.
Roger Schmidt, Anna Busby, Stephen Cox, Kevin Chin Shue , Jana Stolting, Kathy McDaris, Val Martinez, Sarah White and Gary Galvez.
Let’s congratulate Capital City Runners as this year’s Gulf Winds Track Club Community Award winner!