Times Remembered

Mary Jean Yon, GWTC President,

You’ve heard it before. One of the great joys of our sport is that athletes of all levels can conceivably come together and run any given race on any given day. The peeps and the pros combined, if you will. Enter the New York City Marathon and you might find yourself running with Lance. Or, later this month, when Warren Emo, Jack McDermott, Hobson Fulmer, Kathy Lindsay, Kirsten Baggett and Sheryl Rosen head to Massachusetts for the 111th running of the Boston marathon; they’ll be joined by the likes of Deena Kastor, Peter Gilmore, Robert Cheruiyot (last year’s men’s winner), Rita Jeptoo (last year’s women’s winner) and scores of other elite athletes. You can’t help but admit that it’s a tingling feeling to be out there running the same race as all those fast or famous people.

But you know what? Every now and then, it’s also fun to sit back and simply be a spectator and nothing provides a greater venue for that than track & field at Florida State University (FSU). Coach Bob Braman, who has been with FSU’s program since 2000 and became Head Coach in 2004, is probably still grinning from last year’s season. That’s where the Florida State men’s team won the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships; a first for the men and the third national title for the program overall. Coach Braman is also fresh off a number two finish at Indoor Nationals last month. When asked for his thoughts on this year’s outdoor season, he replied, “The men have been tabbed the outdoor track favorites by Track & Field News and the women are one of the favorites to claim the ACC Outdoor Track & Field crown.”

Look for plenty of exciting moments as returning seniors Andrew Lemoncello and Tom Lancashire pursue school records in distance and middle-distance events, respectively. Walter Dix (a Junior who is the 200 meter indoor champ) and Ricardo Chambers (also a Junior and the 400 meter indoor champ) bring their solid 2007 indoor performances to the outdoor sprints. On the women’s side, all eyes turn to Barbara Parker, another senior, for distance events and Alyce Williams, also a senior, in the sprints and jumps.

Florida State’s outdoor season kicked off in March but by April and May, it’s in full swing with the Seminole Invitational scheduled for April 13-14. Come on out! It’s fun to watch this kind of talent. For more information concerning the schedule or the team in general, check out www.seminoles.com and good luck Noles!

If you’re more prone to racing than spectating, April is also a great month to start seeing if all that winter training has paid off. Maybe watching some of those collegiate wonders on April 13th will fire you up to run the Palace Saloon 5K on April 14th! Time to see if all that advertising Herb Wills has been doing will pay off and allow he and Reid Vannoy (our 2006 GWTC Race Directors of the Year) to exceed last year’s impressive number of finishers. Here’s hoping you run like a collegiate runner and enjoy the socializing at the Palace after the race!

And speaking of socializing, I leave you on this note of contentment for the city in which we live and the trails on which we run. How heartwarming it was to attend the Gulf Winds social on March 13th where club members were invited to mix and mingle with the members of the Boulder Training Group that you read about in last month’s column and tracked through stories on the web site and Gary Droze’s columns in the Tallahassee Democrat. Speedsters Jason Hartman (3rd overall in this year’s Gate River Run), Jorge and Ed (11th overall at River Run) Torres (twin brothers), Christine Bolf and their coach Brad Hudson warmly embraced the opportunity to tell us how much they’ve enjoyed training in our fair city. They’ve nicknamed our pride and joy to “Trailahassee” and promise to tell all their other elite running friends about the goodness that abounds here. It doesn’t get any better than that!