Presented by Gary Droze
Running author John Parker once likened the emergence of successful distance runners to the approach of a steam locomotive, noting that you can see them coming from a long way off. His point was that most talented runners tip their hands early, and folks are given to pointing at them and saying “look out for that one.”
Frankly, Parker’s analogy needs tweaking for our current runner of the year. She came into view not with the foreshadowing of a steam engine, but with the abruptness of a bullet train. Witness this: just a few seasons ago, our winner was ambling along with 5k times in the 22-minute range, and 10k performances circa 48 minutes. Not pedestrian, but hardly runner-of-the-year marks. Even last year, she finished with an unremarkable 50 points in the Grand Prix standings, and 11th place overall. Fast-forward only slightly, to 2004, and check out these stats: a sparkling 5K PR of 19:45 at the Greensboro Firecracker Race, and a dandy 41:40 on the brutal Springtime Tallahassee 10K course.
All told, this year’s winner racked up 244 points in 11 Grand Prix races, up an amazing 488%, compared to last year’s points. I wish my 401K had one-tenth the year she had!
Incredibly quick improvements like this beg for investigation, so I launched one. Strictly in keeping with my obligation to professional research on my subject, I rummaged through her trashcans for signs of illicit purchase, performance enhancers, or anything else that might spice up this write-up. And you wouldn’t believe what I found:
Despite the fact that his year’s standout female runner lives – literally – across the street from a Whataburger, I retrieved not one shred of evidence that she ever supped there. This confirmed my thesis: our awardee is obviously not human. No mortal could resist that subtle tease of beef fat lard waftings for long, especially on downwind days.
However, as nothing in the GWTC bylaws (Do we have bylaws? Let’s assume so, just to move this along) prohibits non-humans from receiving annual awards, I stopped my investigation. Time to turn to the THREE MAIN POINTS about our star:
1. She accomplished her season while also performing real, significant, life-changing stuff as a social worker in the Leon County School System.
2. She actually used the Grand Prix events for workouts to support her highly successful triathlon season, unlike some conniving types who saved their all their goodies for maximal points on GP race days. I won’t name names, but it takes one to know one.
3. She brought a big, genuine smile to every event where we crossed paths, reminding me that joy is the wellspring from which all legitimate performance emerges, whether it happens gradually or quickly.
Congratulations to Seeley Lovett, the GWTC 2004 Female Runner of the Year.