To infinity and beyond – Happy New Year!

Judy Alexander, January 2009

I could not be more honored to have been afforded the opportunity to lead this amazing running club of ours! It has been interesting and enlightening serving on the board under at least five different presidents, most recently enjoying Mary Jean Yon’s very capable, organized and professional leadership. This club has certainly grown in great ways: We have finally gone over the one thousand member mark, the new running boom and capable management of our club finances has resulted in our being in the best financial shape ever, and the community is very much aware of GWTC’s contributions and support of various local causes.

Why would anyone NOT want to be a part of all this? Reasons I have heard, unfortunately, range from the most common, “Oh, I don’t run fast enough to be a member,” and “I don’t really have time to get involved or go to meetings,” to “I just moved here and don’t really know anybody.” One of my goals as president is to counter those objections by spreading the word that the words “run fast” mean something different to everyone – no matter what pace you run/jog/walk/crank, there’s a place for you. That “getting involved” may at first mean to simply enjoy the benefits of running with a group – then, who knows? You may be inspired to volunteer at or direct a race or serve on the board. That joining GWTC is one of the best ways to meet wonderful people who share a love of our sport! How about joining me in letting people of all ages and abilities know they are welcome here!

Your 2009 board members are ready, willing and able to answer your questions and help you get whatever it is you want from your membership experience. For me, that has been unparalleled camaraderie, priceless training advice, fun parties with great people and that warm, fuzzy feeling of belonging to something really worthwhile. Go on the Gulf Winds website ( – thanks, Peg Griffin and David Yon!) and take a look at the board member profiles to get acquainted with the volunteers who will be working with me to make this the best running club in the country.

Maturity has taught me to be judicious in my selection of resolutions in January lest I set myself up for failure. So I have chosen one very important commitment this year: I intend to go above and beyond (Buzz Lightyear said it best – see the title of this column) to serve you, our GWTC members! Let me and the new board hear from you with questions and suggestions about our club. If YOU need a goal, why not jump in with both feet and get involved yourself? You won’t regret it!

Oh, and just in case you haven’t gotten around to doing it yet, don’t forget to renew your membership!