GWTC 30k/15k Wrap-Up Report

Jackie and Jerry McDaniel, January 2013

Each year as the weather starts to turn cool, we turn our attention to the GWTC 30k/15k.  That is our signal that it is time to begin planning for what always becomes a fun day.  Planning begins with a lot of busy work i.e., updating race flyers, creating budgets, and making sure The Retreat at Bradley’s Pond still has us on their calendar.  They have never let us down! 

We have directed this race for 9 years; with 8 of them being staged at The Retreat at Bradley’s Pond.  The first year, 2005, 39 runners showed up at Natural Bridge Road on the morning of the race to run the 30k. We knew we had to do better than that!  Tim Unger suggested we add a 15k and an idea was born!  After much debating and searching for a new location, the Old Centerville Rd venue was chosen, the 15k was added, and no two years have ever been the same.  One year it rained all night prior to the race, and Jerry struggled to get all the water tables set up due to the messy road conditions.  Runners came through the finish line covered in red mud; some of which never washed out of their running clothes.  Another year, it was 18 degrees at the start of the race and some finishers had icicles stuck in their hair as they crossed the finish line.  This year proved to be the warmest year, 60 degrees and muggy at the start.  We added extra cups, water, and Gatorade at the aid tables and anticipated much slower finish times.  Much to our surprise, a 30k course record was set by almost three minutes by Stanley Linton, and several runners reported that they had set PRs on both courses. 

Like most race directors, one of our biggest concerns is finding enough volunteers to provide a safe and quality race.  This year, more people than ever before stepped up and gave of their time to help us.  Starting at 6:30 a.m., some members of the running “Sloths” showed up and made sure everyone knew where to park.  With headlamps and flashlights assisting them, a parking spot was found for everyone.  Thanks Bob Brown-Barrios, Dick Dowdy, Kevin O’Donnell, Vic Heller and Alan Johansen.  These guys also hung around and assisted with water table duties, course sweeping and cleanup.  David and Mary Jean Yon, along with Joy Opheim, Wendy Smith, Lisa Unger and Amanda Nedelec handled the registration duties and registered over 100 runners in about an hour.  This did not include the pre-registered runners packet pickup that they also managed.  While registration and parking was going on, Bill Perry was at Cabo’s restaurant picking up chili for the runners to enjoy after their finish.  And enjoy, they did!  For the first time ever, there was more chili than runners and no one should have left hungry. Katie Showman brought her much loved venison chili and Kathy Lindsay brought cornbread.  And speaking of chili, most of you probably noticed Alison Mitchell working very hard to keep the crock-pots full and other food items stocked.  She stayed busy making sure food was available when the tired hungry runners needed it.  Recruiting for water table volunteers can be challenging because it requires them to give up the better part of a Saturday morning and who wants to do that??  This year, there were many volunteers who were willing to commit to do just that, and some just showed up!  Many thanks to the following people:  Deborah Burr, Sara Nam, Anne Foley Nyman, Elizabeth Kamerick, Lindsey Perkins, Chuck Davis, Michael Martinez, Gordon Cherr, Dana Stetson, Alexandra Wallace, and John Stacklyn.  Marc Reeves came out with his two children to relieve some water table volunteers later in the morning and there were quite a few high school students who helped out at most of the tables.  Many thanks, that is a job that requires a lot of time and effort and the runners appreciate you as much as we do!  While the Club’s new chip timing system has made the need for a smaller finish line crew, we appreciated seeing Margarete Deckert and Scott Mitchell at the finish line keeping everyone moving.

Herb Wills provides us with amazing photos taken on the race course and Fred Deckert’s finish line photos are amazing as well.    And if you see Cliff Leonard out on the biking or running roads, thank him for what was probably the coolest shirt design ever!  We always list Peg Griffin and Bill Lott last when thanking everyone, however they should be listed first because the race could not happen without their commitment and hard work, not only to this race, but also to the entire Club.