From the directors in 2011, Another Great (and cold) 30K-15K

Jackie and Jerry McDaniel, January 17, 2011

Every October, around the time of the Pine Run, Jerry and I begin making plans for the next GWTC 30k/15k. My first thoughts are of volunteers. Will we be able to recruit enough volunteers? Will people be willing to stay on the course with the water tables for up to four hours? And if the temperatures dip into the 20s how will folks at the finish line and water tables stay warm? What if it rains? And will the experience be fun so that they will volunteer again? What new design can we come up with for tee-shirts?

Jerry’s list of concerns is more varied and more course related; will a deer get caught in the fence? Will folks miss the left turn and be found wandering up in Georgia near Midway? Will someone pass out on the three sisters? Will a runner be shot by a hunter out on one of the plantations? Will Mr. Bradley shoot him for messing around his house at 4:45 AM? And most importantly – how to find mile markers! Over the 6 years we have been at Old Centerville, he has pounded in painted 2 x 4’s, only to have them pulled up and/or road graded away; placed red flags on both sides of the road only to find they were pulled up and removed; tied tape to trees on both sides of the road only to find it removed. Finally he painted mile markers on the trees and has found trees that were painted over with paint that blended to the color of the bark.

These are some of the many thoughts and concerns we have every year. We can work through most of these issues, just the two of us; however the volunteers are a very important part of this race. Fortunately, the volunteers reach out to us and return year after year. My first email is always to Peg Griffin and Bill Lott asking if they are available to help and if so, are they willing. The answer has always been yes! We cannot imagine trying to direct this race without them. As soon as I announce that we are in planning mode, we start to hear from the ever faithful: Mary Jean Yon, George Palmer, Joy Opheim, Pam Breza, Dick Dowdy and many more. And this year was no exception; these same folks said yes, we will do whatever is needed!

The weather was perfect this year for the runners; however a bit cool for the volunteers. As Herb Wills reported earlier, Vince Molosky won the 30k in a time of 1:51:48. This was his fourth win at this race and his fastest time. Second place went to Justin Dickieson (1:58:44) and third place and first master winner was Doug Bell (2:01:55). For the women, Heather Griffis finished in 2:17:15 followed by master winner Jane Johnson at 2:20:00. In the 15k race, Stephen Cox won in a time of 53:03 followed by Ben McMahon at 54:47. Jay Wallace was the first master to cross the finish line at 54:55. Lisa Johnson was the first female to cross the 15k finish line in a time of
59:55 followed by Sheryl Rosen at 1:00:38. The first female master was Mary Anne Grayson at 1:09:40.

The registration table was managed by a number of experienced workers with David and Mary Jean Yon, Joy Opheim, Anne Priddy, Pam Waller and her son, David, showing up very early to work and register almost 150 runners or assist with approximately 150 pre-registered runners. And speaking of getting up early, Dick Dowdy, Alan Johansen and Kevin O’Donnell were at the venue with head lamps parking cars in the dark. Dick stayed and helped with many other jobs and was, along with Bill Lott, the last to leave. The finish line is always one of the most exciting places to be and this year Bill Lott had experienced help from Margarete Deckert, Stacia Keller, Robert Champlin, and Scott Mitchell. Peg Griffin not only works before the race organizing the pre-registered runners, she also compiles the results and is responsible for the fast turnaround on race results and posting to the webpage. Alexandria Wallace helped with unpacking awards and finish line cards. And we can’t forget all the work Jerry Chesnutt, the GWTC Treasurer does after the race! He keeps us with money collected, spent, number of volunteers, and many other duties that I’m sure we are not even aware of.

Out on the course, the water tables were staffed with new volunteers as well as veterans. At the first table, Paula O’Neill, Jude Dugas, Elizabeth Stupi, and Ron Harrison had what sounds like a great time. At the 15k turnaround, my daughter, Lindsey Perkins and Jerry’s son, Michael McDaniel, worked alongside Karen Laiche to make sure everyone got water and Gatorade and knew it was time to turnaround (15k) or continue on if running the 30k. (Michael and Lindsey have already been recruited to volunteer again next year!). George Palmer was in charge of the table at mile 7 on the 30k course and he recruited Rick Ashton and Betsy Thorpe to help. When George found that he was going to out there alone he went on a recruiting mission and found his own volunteers. And at the 9 mile table on the 30k course, Pam Breza and Joe Brannon came prepared for the cold. They brought wood and built a small fire to keep them warm. Joe has already told me that he wants that table again next year!

And to feed this hungry crowd, the chili tradition continued! We had a record number of pots with contributions from Peg Griffin, Pam Breza, JoLena Pace, Mary Stutzman, David Cox, Fran McLean, John Stacklyn, Dick Dowdy, and Mary Jean Yon. Kathy Lindsey brought corn bread and Publix supplied all the additional food. Mary Stutzman brought the great hot apple cider that helped to keep everyone warm.

We received an email from a runner yesterday; this is what she wrote: “I just wanted to send an email to say how much I appreciate all of the volunteers at the GWTC 15K/30K yesterday. As one of the last runners to finish, I was especially grateful to the man in the red truck who made sure that we had water during those last few miles and to give words of encouragement, and also to carry my hat and gloves back to the start for me. It was a tough run, but the volunteers made the run a pleasant experience.” I think that sums it all up!

Thanks to all the runners who braved the cold weather to run and to all the volunteers who made our job easier. We hope to see you next year! And if I missed mentioning any volunteer, I apologize. Please know that we appreciate your help and could not do this without you!