December Cat Bird Seat


By David Yon


Another year has flown by at record pace, much unlike my race pace, which keeps slowing. Sometime in 1998 I ran mile number 39,000 and, if I avoid the injury demon, my feet will likely take me through mile 40,000 during 1999. I won¹t try to explain why someone does such things, but it has been a great journey. Every mile has brought me closer to something, I just cannot figure out what it is, other than abuse by my running companions.

It was a very active year for GWTC; it seemed there were at least 40,000 things to do besides run. The range of events included a track mile, unique socials and, ultimately, the Ultra. There were innumerable events and distances in between, and the mix of people making it all happen was just as diverse; the awards committee, on which I serve, had many excellent candidates for most of the awards.

One of my favorite projects has been the GWTC web page. Thanks to Martha Haynes, this year it has developed into a great tool for keeping people updated on Club happenings. I am sure there is much more we can do as we learn more about this technology and get more people involved. If you have stories or results from races, please send them to us.

Also this year, Doug Gorton got our official Club team competition off to a good start in Birmingham with second place finishes for both the men and the women. And the Chenoweth Fund got a rebirth and some new direction in fund raising. Of course the loudest thanks must go to our Newsletter editor and the Andrews¹ household, who for yet another year put together and mailed out the state¹s best production. As always, trying to thank everyone leaves out too many people. However, I do want to thank everyone who served on the Board or a committee and everyone who took an active part in directing or helping to put on a race or other event.

December brings three events to test your mettle. Dawn Brown has brought new enthusiasm to the 10-Mile Challenge. We all know what a long way back it can be after the turnaround in that race. The Ultra Distance Classic is the final Grand Prix event of the year and may decide the overall championship. Fred has promised to have a 50k check point for Grand Prix for anyone silly enough to think about running the 50-Mile event. The annual GWTC party is December 18, at the American Legion Hall. Bring a covered dish and be prepared to listen to great music by the Jones Brothers Band while you dance the night away. If there is one event all year that you should not miss, this is it.

GWTC has made a special effort to support youth running in Tallahassee. This effort includes, among other things, support for the Partners in Excellence awards, the Champ days run, the summer track series and numerous special grants and awards. As I have mentioned before, we also have several members who are youth coaches. One of them, Gary Droze, climbed a very special mountain this year with his teams. Both the Maclay boys and girls teams brought home the class 2A State high school cross-country championships. The girls team was led by senior Elizabeth Wester, who overcame last year¹s asthma problems to finish second overall. The boys helped Maclay become (according to the Tallahassee Democrat) the first 2A school to win both titles in the same event by improving on last year¹s runner up position. Thure Caire overcame off-season injuries to lead Maclay with a second place finish in the 2A competition. Port St. Joe¹s Rod Givens was the state 2A champion with a time of 15:45.63. Track Club member Michael Joanos ran 16:00 for the three mile course and finished 13th in the 5A competition to lead Leon High school¹s boys team.

The Scratchankle Invitational and Social at Anne and Jerry Draper¹s restored tobacco barn was great fun. The Draper¹s have a great place for hosting such events and have invited us back in 1999. Imagine having a yard big enough to have three different running trails.

Kathy Mora has been social chair for several years now and has decided it is time to pass the job to someone new. Kathy has done a great job and I hope if you have made any of the socials over the last couple of years you will tell her thanks for all of her efforts. It will take two people to replace her and Wendy Smith and Sarah Docter-Williams have agreed to co-chair the committee. If you have ideas for them or are willing to help with planning events for 1999, please let them know. Breeda Dennehy-Willis is the Lecture series speaker this month. She is a world class runner who is willing to share some training secrets and war stories. Monday, December 7, is a great opportunity to learn about life at an elite level with an Irish twist.

By the time you read this column the 1999 Board will have been elected. Please get to know these people and let them know what you want to see the Club accomplish during the year. There are many ways to communicate. Speaking to Board members at races and other events is one of the best. E-mail is another. So there is no reason not to make yourself heard. One of the first things the Board will do is vote on a budget for 1999. If you have comments or ideas about the budget, now is the time to speak up. I hope to post the proposed budget on our web page to give more people an opportunity to comment. I believe in 1998 we had a good balance of fiscal responsibility and support for races and community programs. The Club is fortunate right now to have a solid financial base. But that can change quickly, so it is important to plan carefully to get the most out of what we do.

Thanks for a good year and for all of the help from so many people who seemed to keep a tail wind at our back. I look forward to 1999 being even better.