Grand Prix 2010


By Jack McDermott

As we conclude the silver anniversary year of our track club, it is time to ponder the future. Based on experience and careful consideration, here’s what it looks like —

The year is 2010. People eat entire meals in pill form, and flying cars are the rage. President Hillary Clinton welcomes Puerto Rico as our 51st state. GWTC is dominated by Kenyans, and Palm Beach County is still re-counting ballots. But to give you the true flavor of our club’s 35th anniversary, here are some highlights of the 2010 grand prix schedule.

Rails-to-Trails The “Rails-to-Trails” race has now been transformed into the “Trails-to-Shopping Malls.” It starts in the same place, which is now in the Trail Mall, then winds through the scenic Dairy Queen parking lot, wraps around the NIKE outlet mall, and finishes at a new waste-disposal site.

Springtime Tallahassee In 2010, we are still struggling to find a permanent race-sponsor. This year we decided to go with a different type of sponsor: Hooters Bar and Grille. The result was tragic. Although Hooters did come up with the requisite $5,000, they also promised to provide volunteers in the form of Hooters waitresses. (As one might imagine, the male participation in this event tripled, while the female participation sharply declined.) Unfortunately, the ditzy Hooters waitresses forgot about daylight savings and arrived an hour late.

To make matters worse, Hall-of-Fame volunteer Bill Lott surprised everyone and jumped into the race leaving nobody to operate the Chromonix. With no volunteers and no clock, once again the race results for Springtime were hopelessly botched. After four re-counts and two appeals court hearings, a winner has not been declared.

HuManatee Race Sadly the Manatees have become extinct in 2010 (except for some cloning in Norway — in fact, Manatee now inhabit the fjords). Therefore the HuManatee race, which raised money for the endangered animal, needed to find a new cause. It did. We now raise money for the South American Tree Slug. Only 5,000 are known to exist and now the “slug” race at St. Mark’s is one of the area’s feature events.

Bellevue Middle School Keeping with their motto of educating the future, the organizers of the Bellevue Middle School race have begun honoring historical events during the annual race, and incorporating these events into the race itself. The theme for the 2010 race was the 12th anniversary of Ken Starr’s Independent Counsel Report. To commemorate this event, race directors sponsored a Monica Lewinsky look-alike contest following the 5K run. I am proud to announce that the winner was our own Bob Prentiss. (I got third.)

Steve Prefontaine Classic Representatives for the estate of Steve Prefontaine approached race sponsors objecting to the use of his name and likeness without proper compensation. In a stroke of brilliance, the GWTC board re-named the Steve Prefontaine Classic the Paavo Nurmi Classic after the 1924 Finnish 10,000 meter champion. In honor of the new name, the race director added 600 yards to the course prompting RunnersWorld to write an article calling it “The Longest 5K in the South”. In the 2010 race, the outgoing race director placed even more obstacles along the course including burning tires, a pack of wild dogs, a steeplechase hurdle, and a Vietnamese tiger trap with sharpened bamboo stakes affectionately called, “The Pit of Despair”. The whereabouts of 17 runners and 8 dogs are still unknown.

The Kingston Mile Despite allegations of voter fraud, Jack McDermott was finally elected to the Board on his sixth try and placed on the Grand Prix committee. Subsequently, the Kingston Mile appeared for the first time on the GWTC Grand Prix circuit. A few members objected to the use of beer for every lap, so runners were afforded the option of drinking bottled milk. Fortunately no runners experienced alcohol poisoning from their participation, however several “lactose intolerant” runners had to be rushed to the hospital and have their stomachs pumped.

The 10-Mile Challenge After experiencing years of declining participation in this event, race director Dawn Brown employed some marketing strategy and re-named it the “10-Mile Fun Run”. Participation increased, but the number of finishers did not. An interesting note, age group winners still get $3.

Mardi Gras Madness There were a few new races added to the schedule, most notably the Mardi Gras race that covered 80% of the old Music Mania course. Scheduled to coincide with the real Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, a few exuberant female athletes flashed their chests during the race. Although amusing the fans, it did cause two major traffic accidents in the downtown area. After the 2010 debacle, the race has been permanently canceled.

Tallahassee Marathon This race has not changed a bit. The Tallahassee Marathon still starts at the Tallahassee Nursury, it still has hills, you still would have more crowd support on the planet Mars, and it still has more “fingers” than a monkey in the Chernobyl Zoo. And despite all of that, we still have people sending e-mails to the GWTC e-groups stating “It’s the best damn marathon in the State of Florida!”

After this horrifying look at the future, I must leave you with one pearl of wisdom to brighten your day. Someone once told the Wright Brothers that if God wanted us to fly he would have given us wings. I guess that means if God wanted us to run he would have given us legs. See you next month.