Female Runner of the Year Award

Presented by Stephanie Liles-Weyant

So, I am not a person that enjoys public speaking.  In fact, I avoid it as much as possible.  But when I was asked to present the “Runner of the Year” to this special person, I just could not say “no”.  The “Runner of the Year” is someone I have known for many years and it’s been amazing to see what an incredible athlete she has become.  And when I looked up her race results, she has raced 23 running races in 2016 and raced 21 races in 2015.  Clearly running is her passion.  Her first race was in 2008 with a time of 29:05.  Since then, she has made big improvement with her best 5k time of 20:23.  That shows how hard she has worked to become the great runner that she is. 

David Yon has some great racing experience with the “Runner of the Year”.  And he knows exactly how she races, because they have gone back and forth in races.  David says that every so often he’ll get to the finish line ahead of her, but it’s pretty rare.  He has told me that he’ll run past her late in a race and thought she was done for- huffing and puffing as if she were going to stop.  David has thought, “This is my day!”  Then all of a sudden, that huffing and puffing starts sounding more like a freight train and by the time he hears the whistle blow, she is blowing right by him to the finish line.  And many times, she is off at the gun and David never sees her.

Not only is she a competitive runner, but she is a great friend.  She is a dependable friend who will be there when she says she’ll be there.  She’s a loyal friend and one who takes care of others.  She volunteers a lot for the club and has been a great help with the YTS races.  The “Runner of the Year” is stepping up her volunteer efforts this year and is going to be a race director for the first time.  I have to also mention the fact that she has finished 2ndOverall in the Grand Prix for 2015 and for 2016.  And to impress you all even more, she is not only a great runner, but a triathlete and a darn good one.  I never enjoy racing against her, because she is a fighter and is not afraid of pain.  Her training partners call her, “Billy Goat”, because she will fly up a hill on the bike when the rest of us are just trying to not fall apart.  I can’t tell you how proud of this girl I am and how lucky I feel that she is my training partner and friend.  I love her with all my heart and am happy to award the “2016 Runner of the Year” to Jillian Heddaeus!