Cleveland-Caldwell Advancement of the Sport Award

Presented by David Yon

Do you remember what it’s like to be a kid waiting on that special present? One you are afraid toask for because you know it will break your heart if you don’t get – you know that brand new bike! Well, that is what it was like when I decided to submit a nomination for this year’s Cleveland-Caldwell Award.

So what does it mean to win this award? According to the description for the award, it is given “in recognition of those who make significant contributions to the advancement of the sport, whether through research, education or some other area of expertise.” That definition leaves a lot to think about.

How about improving athletic performance through new coaching techniques or maybe through performance-enhancing drugs. There is improving the efficiency of the sport overall -getting rid of red tape. There are people who make it easier for people to participate in the sport. You could improve the quality of events. You could improve communication among runners about the sport. You could do thinks to protect the sanity of race directors everywhere.

All of the above (well, except performance enhancing drugs) are now part of the legacy of therecipient of this year’s award. This person has been a member of GWTC forever. He has had some great running streaks – at the ultra for example. He is a mentor to anyone who is smart enough to listen. He systematically identifies and attacks a problem and finds a solution.

And as I said this person has been a member of the club forever. She is in fact the “core” of whatmakes it a great place. When you want something done, and done correctly, she’s the one. She is organized and persistent. She has to be to take on the load she does.

Good ideas are fine, but these people doesn’t stop with ideas, they make them happen. We used to tell race directors at the race director clinics that Jeanne O’Kon so skillfully organizes how scary it was to direct races. I have to tell you, they have advanced some aspects of race directing so far that race directors can actually sleep a couple hours the night before their races now.

I was not at all surprised when I asked them if they would take over the job of scoring the resultsin the Tallahassee Turkey Trot when they said “We will look at it.” And then came back with a yes. With four races to score and a rule that says you can change races on the course, it is not an easy meeting. Long ago we farmed it out to professionals. But they never produced the way Iknew these two people could. They put in hours of research, skill development, and generallearning to make it happen. And sure enough in 2015, for the first time in probably 10 years, Ididn’t have to throw my hat on the ground after the race, disgusted. Instead, I looked up on the result board and found accurate and complete results. I am very happy to introduce to you to the 2015 Cleveland-Caldwell Advancement of the Sport Winners for the extraordinary work they have done to advance the sport of running – Bill Hillison and Peg Griffin