From Doubt to Accomplishment – Times Remembered

Mary Jean Yon,

For each of us, I believe there is a point where we cross over from doubting we can do something to celebrating that sweet sensation of accomplishment. This is particularly true for running. Whether it is completing that first race or dipping below a target finish time, we’re always challenging ourselves. I don’t recall having much fear and trepidation for my first race, which happened to be the Heart & Sole 5K at Lafayette Vineyards in 1985. I had great company and literally no fear. But one month later, when the chance to run the Azalea Trail 10K came along, I was convinced I couldn’t do it and I set my sights instead on the accompanying 2-mile race. The pressure on the home front was non-existent but one of my buddies at work was a different story. He was 20 years older than me and wasn’t going to put up with letting me sell myself short. He gave me a pep talk and a push and off into the 10K I went. To this day, I recall the thrill of completing that race in a time that I would kill for today. My smile in the finish chute was captured in a photo that still remains one of my all time favorites. And to this day my buddy, who has now retired, takes full credit for my running career and you know what? I let him!

The beauty of this sport is that athletes of all levels can always find ways to challenge (or is it scare) themselves. Case in point: Jack McDermott, recently celebrated the running of his 100th marathon. What could he possibly do after that, you ask? Jack’s response is to run a 100-mile race! He warmed up for this challenge recently by setting a course record at the Delano Park 12 Hour Run in Decatur, Alabama. The race consisted of multiple laps of a one-mile loop through Delano Park. Jack completed 78 miles during the 12 hour period. As fellow Gulf Winds member Andy Roberts points out, that time is roughly equivalent to running three 4-hour marathons back to back! Jack’s next big challenge will come at the Umstead 100-Mile Endurance Run on April 5th in Raleigh, North Carolina. Good luck to you, Jack! Make sure you eat a lot at those aid stations!

While Jack tested himself on April 5th, another endurance event took place at the home of Gary & Peg Griffin. The Griffin hosted the Third Annual GWTC Relay For Life Team Car Wash and Dog Wash. This popular event is one of the many ways that Gulf Winds members raise money for the Relay For Life which will be held on May 9-10 at the Leon County Fairgrounds. If you missed it, check out the story on Relay for Life to find out how you can still participate. Paula Kiger has stepped up to lead the team this year and gives you the details about the event. The Relay For Life is a fund raiser for the American Cancer Society and many of us fondly remember the many Gulf Winds members that we’ve lost to this dreaded disease over the years. We will always miss and remember Kent Vann, Tim Simpkins and Ed Wilde to name just a few. But this year there will be a new luminary burning at the Ceremony of Hope when those who have been lost to this disease are remembered and honored. Mary Kronenburg, wife of long time club member Tony Kronenburg, passed away earlier this year after a long and hard fought battle with breast cancer. Many of you likely remember Tony as a race director long ago for the 30K but his real claim to fame is that he’s the only person to have run every Pine Run 20K. No doubt he was bolstered through those efforts by Mary who was just as much a fixture at those races as any runner doing the course and readily lent her smile and cheerfulness to any gathering. We miss you Mary!

Gulf Winds is all about people helping people. Whether it’s encouraging a new runner to step across that proverbial line, supporting a seasoned veteran runner as they explore new frontiers or simply being there for a grieving friend…we can all benefit from each other. Stay strong and I’ll see you soon!