Cleveland-Caldwell Advancement of the Sport Award - Martha Haynes

By David Yon

We live in a world that does not like to wait. Multiple news channels blare out the latest every hour or more often. The virtual world beeps at us with streams of data and information capable of overwhelming the hard drives we sometimes call brains. We demand to know now and to have a place to immediately go find the information we need when we can not remember it.

Running is not exempt from these pressures. It is a statistics-driven endeavor, with time, place, age and sex paramount. We have e-mail lists and web sites galore to tell us more than we could ever remember about the sport at large. And while there is no replacing the Newsletter, once a month just doesn’t do it in today’s world. Fran Bridges gave birth to the concept of a web page for GWTC. But this nominee for the 2003 winner of the Cleveland-Caldwell Advancement of the Sport Award literally lifted the club on her finger tips and advanced it into the electronic age. Martha Haynes probably touches GWTC more days of the year than any other club member. And in doing so she brings together a wealth of information and talent to build a virtual clubhouse for the very real community of runners that make up GWTC and Tallahassee. And while there certainly are many who assist by writing, researching and collecting information they would not be there if it were not for her tireless dedication. Her efforts have spawned a whole new cadre of writers for GWTC.

The computer does not sleep or take days off. From GWTC functions and races, to community events and to prep stuff she posts it all. She has toiled at the task since 1998, at least 200,000 hits ago, and as a result has probably impacted not only every GWTC member but a much wider part of our community. She is now working on her fourth President. This devotion has clearly helped spread information about the club to a whole new group of runners. I remember long ago as a fledgling President seeing an email pop on my computer screen inquiring as to whether the club needed some help with the web page. My life has not been quite the same since, as the page started by Fran Bridges took flight to new heights and I gained a very special friend to whom I will always feel indebted.

In 1998 the job of Web Mistress was obscure enough and Martha was unknown enough that she could be nominated for and win the Volunteer of the Year Award. (Appropriately enough, by Rex Cleveland.) The Volunteer of the Year award generally goes to someone who works behind the scenes and who most people don’t know enough about to appreciate all the effort they give. And at the time that was certainly the case.

However, Martha Haynes has not only transformed the web page into an indispensable, daily and well-known part of our lives, but she has also helped advance GWTC into a new era. Now, almost every member knows her and her work. The job demands a unique set of skills that few have – the ability to navigate efficiently in cyberspace, a sharp editor’s eye and the tact to deal with a wide variety of runners, race directors and writers. Perhaps most importantly though it demands someone who will be there day after day regardless of hard drive failure or other obstacles.

She performs her work at a level that, I know, makes the Cleveland in the Caldwell-Cleveland Award smile with pride. For that I believe she has more than earned the Caldwell-Cleveland Advancement of the Sport Award.