Cleveland Caldwell Advancement of the Sport

Bonnie Wright, January 14, 2018

I am pleased to present the Cleveland Caldwell Advancement of the Sport Award for 2017.  Previous recipients include Gulf Winds Track Club luminaries such as Peg Griffin and Bill Hillison, Paul and Myrna Hoover and last year’s recipient, Tracy Godin.

The award 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.

This year’s honoree has a very long record of varied and significant contributions to our Track Club.

  • Co-directing a major GWTC race for 32 years that has grown from a hundred or so participants to thousands. Transforming a relatively simple race into a community event that showcases the best of GWTC and the best of Tallahassee. Also one that provides significant financial support for three local charities.
  • Serving as the president of GWTC
  • Serving as a GWTC Board Member

But this evening I would like to focus on some innovative ways our honoree has advanced the sport.

This year’s award recipient led the charge for sustainable practices by providing pop-up recycling bins for use by race directors and exploring other ways that we can all contribute to ‘Keeping Florida Beautiful’.

This honoree continues the professional program for race directors in our community that will improve the quality, efficiency and professionalism of all our races.

Initiating and and organizing a women’s running program inside the prison this year’s winner has been responsible for the most unique course, a 500-meter oval in Gadsden County, inside the fenced perimeter of the Gadsden Correctional Facility for Women.  

A running program behind barriers has been a life-changing event for many inmates. breaking down barriers for the women who participate, giving them an opportunity to develop running discipline through training; by experiencing the joy and pride that comes from training and finishing a 5K race, or a marathon, as well as breaking down barriers between them the GWTC volunteers who serve as running and life mentors.

After a bit of initial awkwardness, the women of the facility are concerned with many of the same things we all are. What was my time?  Did I get a PR? How fast am I going? What do you do for shin splints?

Perhaps besides changing lives one 5K at a time, a phenomenal result of this program is the  Gadsden Correctional Facility built a 500-meter track inside the prison recognizing the strength the program can have on advancing lives through running.

I am pleased to present the 2017 Cleveland Caldwell Award to a truly remarkable woman, Mary Jean Yon!