February Cat Bird Seat


By David Yon


Truly amazing, I would say. Despite the fact that the new Marathon course wound through dozens of neighborhoods and crossed what seemed like thousands of streets, almost every corner had a smiling race volunteer directing runners or blocking traffic. Last column I wrote about the tremendous effort it took to put on the Ultra. This month I write with amazement about the volunteer turnout for the marathon. The Stetsons, Deckerts and Griffins know how to recruit and organize. The marathon course, besides being hilly, could be a nightmare of traffic congestion without appropriate help from the sheriff’s department and from the volunteers. I do not know what the final turnout on volunteers was, but it had to be a record and a big thanks should go to all. It is fitting that such a superb effort occurred on the eve of Martin Luther King’s birthday celebration, given all of the emphasis placed on community service as a tribute to Dr. King. Several new sponsors also helped make this event a success including Tallahassee Nurseries, Realtor, the Core Institute and the Leon County Tourist Development Council.

The Tallahassee Democrat did a great job covering the race again this year. St. Clair Murraine spent most of his morning on site and the paper printed complete results the day after the race. There was a very nice pre-race story that focused on Hajime Nishi and his efforts to run marathons in every state and on every continent. I suspect Hajime, who is from Tokyo, broke the record for being farthest from home while running a GWTC race. And finally there was a good post race story, although I would have preferred a little less coverage of the second place finisher.

The board spent a lot of time at the January meeting talking about the budget for 1999. A final vote will probably be taken at the February meeting. Hopefully, by the time you read this a copy of the proposed budget will be posted on our web page. If you have any comments, you may contact any board member and pass them on or you may attend the meeting and make them in person. Sarah Docter-Williams and Wendy Smith have taken over the duties of social coordinators. They have promised a fun filled year of events. If you have any ideas for having fun, let them know.

It is true I have totally lost my mind. Perhaps it is the effect of participating in too many long runs lately, but on February 5, we leave for Antarctica to run what truly is a unique marathon. The good news is whatever caused this temporary loss of sanity is contagious and MJ is going as well. All I know about it right now is that the waves on the seas in the Drake Passage between South America and Antarctica are likely to be higher (in feet) than the mercury in the thermometer will be (in degrees) on race day. We hope to bring back some interesting stories and pictures to share. I feel confident there will be less traffic on that marathon course than there was in Tallahassee.

By leaving on February 5, I will miss the 30K for the first time in 14 years. I hope lots of you will join David and Judy Waters at St. Marks on February 6. This is one of the Club’s best events and the St. Marks Wild Life Refuge is one of Florida’s true treasures. The 30K and Run for the Cookies 5K are the February Grand Prix races, so try to get out there for both if you can.

I am also in the early stages of trying to plan this year’s 5 Mile Bash. Last we year we had an open mike social and fund raiser for the Chenoweth Fund at Forest Meadows. If you are interested in helping with this let me know. Our newest member on the Chenoweth Committee is Toma Wilkerson. The Fund made some positive strides last year and members and others have begun to think of it as a place for contributions. I look for 1999 to be another big step forward and look forward to Toma’s help on the committee. Bonnie Benge has agreed to serve a term on the Grand Prix and Awards Committee. She will replace Joy Opheim who did an outstanding job during her term. Bill de Grummond also agreed to serve another term. Bill has been the “backbone” and consistent force behind this committee for many years. He agreed to serve again upon learning that all committee members start the year with 50 points.

I hope your trails, as well as mine and MJ’s, take you to fun and away from the crevasses.