Community Award

Presented by Herb Wills

This year’s recipient of Gulf Winds Track Club’s Community Award would deserve consideration just for its grant program to bring sporting events to Tallahassee. This program has benefited many local running events, including Gulf Winds’ Tallahassee Marathon. Aside from the grant program, you’d want to recognize this organization for bringing the high school state cross-country meet to Tallahassee’s Apalachee Regional Park in 2012 and keeping it here, year after year. Our local athletes benefit from getting to compete on their home course and avoiding the expense and stress of travel. The state’s athletes benefit from getting to race at a world-class venue. And the community benefits financially from hosting the state’s cross-country runners.

But this past fall our community awards recipient was especially successful in bringing even more championship cross-country events to Tallahassee. In 2016 the organization was involved with:

  • The FSU Cross-Country Invitational
  • The FHSAA Cross-Country Final
  • The NJCAA Region 8 Women’s Championship
  • The USATF Masters 5K Cross-Country National Championships
  • The NCAA Division 1 South Region Championships
  • The USATF Region 4 Youth Championships
  • The FACA Senior All-Star Classic
  • The USATF National Club Cross-Country Championships

There are three national championships on that list. This isn’t the first time someone has brought a national championship running event to Tallahassee. Three in one year, though, is unprecedented.

For service capped with bringing these races to Tallahassee in 2016, this year’s Community Award goes to the Tallahassee Sports Council, represented here this evening by Brian Hickey and Amanda Heidecker.