Cleveland-Caldwell Advancement of the Sport Award – Chika Okoro

Presented by Beth Alexander

The Cleveland – Caldwell Advancement of the Sport Award was first presented over 30 years ago to recognize those who make significant contributions to the advancement of the sport. 

I first met the award winner about a decade ago when this person, with a couple of friends from school, joined the Beginning Running Group led by Nadine Dexter.  After completing the class, this winner continued to attend not only this group but eventually participated and volunteered in most of the different classes or training groups the Club offered.

Often participants in these groups show up that are not prepared for the beginning level of a class as suggested.  Tonight’s recipient is found accompanying these new people, making them feel included and staying on the correct run course. What a service to those to ADVANCE their fitness.  New comers are often intimidated at the first class, not yet understanding that ALL speeds, fast, slow, anywhere in between are accepted into Gulf Winds. They see the more advanced runners, their clothes and gear, but this winner helps them feel at ease.   Tonight’s recipient advanced these newbies’ progress by providing company and encouragement.  Isn’t this an invaluable contribution?  Don’t we all begin somewhere?  We build the courage to show up but we are still intimidated by the fast runners.  THIS winner puts every new runner at ease.  Today we have many new members because of this contribution.

And there are many additional examples of jobs our winner performs including: volunteering at packet stuffing and pick up for various races and helping to clear the cross country course at the ARP.

Some of this person’s more visible areas of service include: serving on the Grand Prix committee, leading the beginning running group, collecting food at races such as Miller Landing Madness and Turkey Trot for Second Harvest.

For all she has done to make GWTC a warmer, more successful organization and to advance our sport i