Cat Bird Seat
By David Yon
With 800 plus members, GWTC has the opportunity to have a significant impact on the surrounding community. The club has an enormous reservoir of energy and talent to draw from. It typically, and correctly, has focused on staging 12-15 quality running events each year. The distances range from 1 mile to 50 miles. I could not even start to guess how many volunteer hours are involved, but I doubt there are many organizations that invest more. These events represent the core of the club and they range in size from more than 1000 participants to less than 100. There are many more events that members help stage, giving Tallahassee residents some type of event to participate in almost every weekend.
The club has also become very active in trying to reach out beyond this core mission in order to have a more broad-based impact on the community, especially young people. Included in these activities are projects like buying shirts for finishers in the Champ Days middle school cross country meet, supporting the summer track series with the city of Tallahassee, assisting groups like the CCC Crusaders and the Big Bend Posse, and providing scholarship awards to recognize outstanding cross country and track and field performers in the area. This support has required significant resources and if we want to continue with it, we must be creative in finding sources to pay for it. Each of these efforts depends heavily on people willing to step to the front with their time and money to make sure they happen. Shannon Sullivan and Sloppy Joe’s put on the Hemingway Days 3K to raise money for Champ Days, Alice and Ernie Sims are tireless crusaders for their group of kids, Anne Draper makes sure we do not forget the Posse. And you cannot go very far at any of these events without seeing Ray Hanlon. I believe these kinds of projects help make our club very special and will come back to us in innumerable ways.
The Chenoweth Committee, under the leadership of Mae Cleveland, launched a great new tradition this year by naming two high school athletes winners of the Chenoweth Fund Scholarship Awards. Gary Droze was a tremendous (and very unselfish) help with this award. I believe it will really help raise the club’s profile with the high school runners and coaches in the area. Congratulations to this year’s winners, Travis Woullard (Port St. Joe) and Teresa Daniels (Lincoln)! Please check out Mae’s story on this event and the Pot Luck Bash in the Fleet Foot. Mae, Gary Kenney and Toma Wilkerson make up one of the hardest working committees we have. The next major fund raiser for the Chenoweth Fund will be the Wilderness Run this fall. In addition to benefitting Keep Tallahassee and Leon County Beautiful, a portion of the entry proceeds will go to the Chenoweth Fund. Gary Kenney is the race director, and with Susie Bush-Transou’s help, has put together a great event.There are always music, food and lot’s of fun at this event. This year it also happens to be a grand prix event, so do not miss it.
If you love track and field this is the time of year. June was a great month in the U.S. with more quality meets on TV than I can ever remember. One of the most innovative ideas was combining the National Footlocker Championships with the Pontiac Grand Prix meet in Raleigh, North Carolina. I hope you read Ryan Deak’s account of this in the newsletter or on our web page. The Footlocker Championships feature the best high school running talent in the country and the Pontiac meet was one of the USATF’s Golden Spike meets. The combined format gave the high school kids a chance to see a big time meet and interact with the best of US track and Field. Just ask Ryan, who got a chance to mix it up with Regina Jacobs.
Speaking of Regina Jacobs, last month I wrote about a resurgence in American distance running. And there was a great 3,000 meter race in New York on June 6 involving Bob Kennedy, Adam Goucher and others to help support the point. But I probably left out the best of the bunch by not mentioning Regina.The California native can compete at the world level and has demonstrated tremendous versatility. She ran a 1:58.55 PR for the half in Raleigh, won the silver medal for the 1500 at the World Championships in 1997 and holds the American Record in the 5000 (14:52.49). She should be tremendous fun to watch in the US Championships (which will be over by the time you read this) and hopefully at the World Championships in Seville, Spain. There are lots of great women runners out there, but Tegla Loroupe’s 1999 record is unbeatable for volume of quality performances. She ran into and through the cultural barriers for women runners in Kenya. Check out her performances in 1999, as reported by David Monti: January 10, half marathon in 1:10:27; January 31, Marathon in 2:23.46; February 13, 5K in 14:51.69 (indoors); February 21, 8K in 26:00; March 21, half in 1:07:52; April 3, 10K in 31:23; April 11, 10K in 31:55; April 18, Marathon in 2:22:50, April 25 10K in 32:26; May 22, 10K in 31:48; May 30 5K in 14:56.17; June 6, 10K in 31:02; and June 16 10K in 31:48. She finished first in 9 of these races, second in 3 and fifth in one. That is an amazing run.
Well if you can’t keep up with Tegla, stay on the trails with the rest of us and keep drinking lots of fluid through the summer.