January Cat Bird Seat


Welcome to 1998! Whether you are planning on running more than 3,000 miles or less than 1,000, I hope they are good miles, filled with health, fun and friendship. 1997 was a good year for GWTC with great turnouts at most of our races. If one goal for 1997 was to enhance our sense of community, I think we succeeded. There were lots of examples (from the hot soup at the 30K to the great crowds at Springtime and to a supporting hand at Turkey Trot) where this happened and I hope we can continue to build on these positives during this year.

A special thanks to everyone who came out Thanksgiving morning to participate in Turkey Trot. We had 421 finishers and lots of smiles. The heros of the day were Hobson Fulmer and Charlie Yates. There were a couple of gates and doors locked that should have been open when I arrived Thanksgiving morning. Most important, there was no access to the bathrooms. One reason I never sleep to well the night before Turkey Trot is worrying about things like that going wrong. No matter how much planning you do, there is always something that gets overlooked or that does not go as planned. The theory is that if you worry enough about it, it will either get resolved or go unnoticed. If you take it for granted – well you get to do a lot of explaining.

Well over 400 people with full bladders angrily seeking directions to the bathroom, generally are difficult to overlook. I knew there was a live-in grounds keeper among the 40 to 50 buildings on the fairgrounds. However, I had no idea where he lived and I was certain that at 5:00 a.m. he was probably not real interested in getting out of bed. That’s where Hobson came to the rescue. Injured and unable to run in the race, he unwittingly volunteered to help. Well who better to go wake someone up, than a veterinarian who is on call every other weekend or so. So when he asked what he could do, I gave him a job that required service above and beyond the call of duty. Not surprisingly, he came through and relief soon followed for everyone. Charlie then took it all a step farther and got the necessary gates opened to clear a path from the fair grounds to Tram Road that kept people off Monroe Street and got them to the race start via the shortest possible direction. Once again thanks to Ron Becky at the fair grounds, Dick Dowdy and Manny Joanos for helping open up the grounds for our use this year. With welfare reform in high gear, I keep reading stats showing the number of people needing food and shelter is increasing every day. So, I am sure the Shelter can use the money and goods raised through the race more this year than ever.

Fall is still some ways off but the awards committee is looking at introducing a new opportunity for friendly competition. There are currently four cross county races scheduled for the fall. They include Tom Brown Bash, Prefontaine, Pine Run and the Wilderness Walkabout. The age and sex graded team competition at Turkey Trot has been fun and has generated lots of participation. So, we are looking at expanding this idea and having a mini-circuit made up these four races. It will take a little work to complete the details, but start thinking about it and recruiting team members. My first thought is that teams would be allowed six or seven members, with the top four scoring in each race. Scoring would be by adjusted place in a typical cross country stile (low score wins), combining the scores from all four races for overall results. If we use the graded tables, teams could put together any combination of sex and age they wanted. Let me know your thoughts. Doug Gorton was pointing out how competitive he thought GWTC members, especially masters, are when they travel to out of town races and wonder if we should be better organized at putting together teams for some of those races. I think it is a great idea.

The Holiday Party was a big success and a lot of fun. Bob Weiss and the Jones Brothers kept us awake with great music and the dancing got better and better as the night moved along. Midnight saw the hardcore still on the dance floor. There was a great crowd was attending that included a dancing reindeer and a dancing (I think you can call it dancing) cast. I am certain it was the most food, all of it good, that I have seen at a GWTC party ever. It may be time to look at adding a summer version. Thanks to Kathy Mora for arranging everything.

Do not forget the Annual Awards Meeting Monday, January 19. The awards committee consisting of Bill de Grummond, Joy Opheim, Felton Wright and Becky Gibson is a hard-working group that is probably very underappreci ated. Besides scoring the Grand Prix events all year long, they review nominations for our club awards and spend a lot of time and energy making great selections. Becky’s term is up, so a special thank you is in order for all of her efforts. You will also get a chance to meet the 1998 officers and directors. Our new members include Gary Kenney (director at large), Jere Moore (director at large) and Cynthia Christen (secretary).

The lecture series continues Rex – hopefully you have this date- with Kathy Mora and Ann Morse giving a talk entitled *Eat and Run.* They promise to tell you about the secret diet that will let you eat as much as you want while you run PR’s. Having watched Kathy at Sunday morning breakfasts, I am sure she got a couple of good secrets to tell.

January is the month for one of my favorite races – the GWTC 30K. It is on January 10 and is a Grand Prix race. David and Judy Waters always have something to warm you up after the race. The marathon is in January for the first time. There is prize money and lots of effort being invested in this year’s race. Capital City has stepped in with a big time sponsorship, so I hope we will have a great turnout. If you do not want to run a full marathon, there is a half. If that is too far there is a 5,000 meter run. The race has a FastTrak Marathon/Half Marathon/5k home page and the right attitude to be a big success.

Speaking of marathons, GWTC has been well represented in fall races this year. Members have run in Duluth, Chicago, Washington, Huntsville, New York, Jacksonville and many others. I am sure a big group is going to Disney and Boston this spring. I would like to try to pull some information together on this. If you ran a marathon during 1996 send me your time and the race and your impressions of the race. I will then try to put some type of summary or story together. E-mail it to me if you can or drop something in the mail or give it to me at a race.

Howard Andrews is maintaining a volunteer list. Race directors love having such lists to refer to as race day gets close. I hear from club members occasionally that want to volunteer but are not sure how or that feel excluded from things. Drop Howard or any board member a line and let them know. There is plenty of room for new ideas on how to do things and plenty of opportunity to help. I look forward to another year and to hearing from you.

For those who asked about it, thanks and I am 95% well. I won’t talk about how many days I took off, but rest assured I am very capable of doing such things. Till next month run fast enough to stay warm on those cold winter days.