Fragments Vol 4


By David Yon

Running and Talking

Ever run for mile after mile next to someone with barely a word or two spoken? I didn’t think so. One of the joys running with a companion or in a group is the conversation that occurs on runs. Training for a marathon with someone is one way to learn much about a person that would otherwise remain hidden. Running in a group changes the tenor of the conversation, but there are still lots of words flowing and much banter. I am definitely not knocking it and I love the camaraderie that grows from these experiences.

For a moment at least though permit me to make a case for the “quiet” running experience, a bit more on the “being” side. Much, probably most, of our lives are spent “doing.” We work, we play and talk. How often, when we are not sleeping, do we ever just stop and do nothing? Sit on the couch and you probably reach for the remote, a book or the newspaper. For many of us it is almost impossible to just sit and let our thoughts drift. That is probably a sad comment. Ironically, the time and place I can get the closest to abandoning the “doing” process is when I run. There are certain runs when the rhythm and the effort of the run blend into a state where the mind seems to stop “doing” and finds its state of “being.” It is the run where you head out the door and after the first twenty minutes completely lose track of your surroundings and your body. Eventually, awareness returns and you wonder how you got from the point where you last remember being to the one where you are at the time. It is more likely to happen when you run alone, but it can happen when you run with someone also.

Silence is uncomfortable at first whether it is in a restaurant, on a run or riding in a car. But sometimes it permits us to hear things that voices drown out and learn things that get lost in the noise of words. Speech and hearing, like sight, are senses we rely on to get us through life because they work well in our busy world. But they are like loud music that drowns out more subtle, but important information. There are messages spoken by bodies pushing themselves across a trail that can easily be missed when there is a lot of noise. And every now and then there is something to be heard in silence that is every bit as intimate as what comes from the spoken word.

Grand Prix – Greatest of All Time

GWTC has had grand prix competition for as long as I can remember. While individual runner’s attitudes toward grand prix competition vary from year to year, there is always a core ready to compete. Some years chasing the points is addictive and cool. Another year, a runner may be “too cool” to chase points. We have all heard the term “point whore.” But grand prix competition has stood the test of time and remains one of the most popular participatory activities the club offers. Regardless of what they say, most runners chase those points (age group or overall or both) if they think they have a chance to earn them. And there is no doubt that granting a race “grand prix” status remains a much demanded prize.

It is fun to see two relatively new names on top of the 2006 competition after five races. Carl Nordhielm is truly a first timer, but he has been proving his mettle building up a 35 point lead. Stephanie Liles is not new to grand prix competition, but as far as I know it is her first time leading the circuit and she is running her best times ever. Her lead of 66 points is even more impressive than Carl’s.

Thinking about all this triggered a thought in my head. Who is “the greatest grand prix runner in GWTC history?” Now I realize that is an impossible question to answer and whatever answer you come up with could be debated endlessly. But there is an objective measure for a test – just count the points. Well, that might take forever too, so I did a modified test. Who is the greatest in the 21st century? (Maybe I will keep adding a year here and there as I get time and see how the results change.) Since men and women don’t compete against each other I figured I would compile two lists. And while age group competition is a critical part of the competition, there was just know way I could gather all that data in any reasonable amount of time. But I did build a spread sheet with totals for all runners who scored a point in the overall competition during the period 2000-2005. The results are clear. For the men, Tim Unger set the standard with dominating performances. Tim scored a total of 1210 points and won the overall title twice and tied for it once. Gary Droze was second with 814 points and Reid Vannoy third with 799. Then there was a big drop. On the women’s side Sarah Docter-Williams has been almost as dominant. She collected 1180 points and three titles. Her margin was not as great though as Jane Johnson has second place locked up with 919 points. Julie Clark was third with 714 points. You can see the complete list here.

Relay for Life

The GWTC Relay for life raised $3,529 for the 2006 relay for life. To make it happen they washed cars and solicited donations from over 100 people. The team, led by Paul Ahnberg, consisted of Gary and Peg Griffin, Juancie Hagan, Paula Kiger, Fran McLean, Judy Shapiro and Peggy Shashy. They did us all proud.

Gary Griffin and “The Jim”

GWTC has a treasure in Gary Griffin. The “preacher” in him comes through quickly when he begins telling the story of yet another unique ultra he ran. His piece on “The Jim” is yet another wonderful example of his ability to share his experiences in a way that makes you feel like you were there with him. I hope you find the time to check out his story else where on the web page about running the Strolling Jim Ultra, a 41.2 mile event in Wartrace, Tennessee. He completed the hilly monster in 5:52:06 for 13th place overall.

High School Stars

The Big Bend high schools have produced some outstanding track and field athletes over the years and 2006 was no exception. Godby coach Chris Sumner has been outstanding at collecting and reporting honor roll performances all year. The final list for 2006 is contained under the Prep section. The Florida High Girls and Godby boys won the 2A state championships. Individual State Champions included Maclay’s Girls 4x400m relay team (4:08.51), 1A Girls Triple Jump champ Michelle Jenije from NFC (37’8.5″) and 1A Boys 110m hurdles champion John Dady from Jefferson.

Some of the other highlights Chris reported are as follows:

National Elite Performers:

Girls: Kelli Morrison (Florida High), 200m – 24.35

Dayonne Rollins (Rickards), 400m – 55.96

Kayla Parker (Florida High), 300m Hurdles – 43.98

4x100m Relay (Florida High) – 47.39

4x100m Relay (Rickards) – 47.73

Traci Lewis (East Gadsden), Long Jump – 18’9.5″

Kayla Parker (Florida High), Long Jump – 18’6.5″

Shayla Jones (Godby), Shot Put – 42’2″

Boys: Justin Terry (Leon), 400m – 47.08

Joe Franklin (Godby), 800m – 1:52.74

Joe Franklin (Godby), 1600m – 4:16.95

Damarius Carroll (Godby) 110m hurdles – 14.22

4x100m Relay (Rickards), 41.55

Lavon Downs (Godby), Pole Vault -15’0″

Performance of the Week

Tom Lancashire, Florida State, set a Georgia Tech Track record with a 1:45.76 800 meter.

Next time you run remember,

Back Roads never carry you where you want ’em to

They leave you standin’ there with them ol’ transcendental blues

~Steve Earle, Transcendental Blues