Cat Bird Seat


By David Yon


Wow. Some months fly by with lots of good times and you just can’t help smiling. Then there are months where life just bats you around a little bit. Sometimes it picks you up and throws you down hard. It is in those latter circumstances that you really learn to appreciate the support and kindness of friends around you. It is also when you really learn to appreciate what GWTC has to offer.

Running does a lot of great things for us all physically. Stronger lungs, better blood flow, lower cholesterol, and much, much more. There is a long list of health benefits that the medical community will attest inures to those who run. For me though, those benefits are secondary to the mental health benefits derived from traveling over the roads or trails in a pair of running shoes. Somehow it appeals to something very basic in us all, regardless of athletic ability, race, or socioeconomic status. As the world flies by at an ever increasing and impersonal pace, running gives us a chance to stop and touch our core, test our limits, explore our minds and develop bonds with others. The bonds that are built during the many miles spent running with friends are incredibly strong and special.

The past month or so has given me more than a few chances to reflect on all of this and the very special running community we have in this area. One of the most significant opportunities for such reflection occurred while standing at the FSU track with almost 100 other people during a very simple but moving ceremony for Craig Hasty led by Gary Griffin. Craig generally traveled on a path that most of us would have avoided. For one thing, he gave much more of himself to others than most of us are willing to do. I also suspect there were more than a few people who wondered what was up with this guy in the camouflage and were quick to beat a path away from him as quickly as possible. But, I have met very few people who have truly touched as many lives as he did. The lucky ones got beyond the first impulse and discovered something very special. The number of people who have reached out to share a story about Craig is unbelievable. And I just have to wonder where else in the world, other than at a running event like the Palace Saloon, you could find a majority of nearly 300 entrants running down a city street decked out in camouflage.

High school track and field has been in full mode and the state championships are just around the corner. This provided Mary Jean the opportunity to put together one of the best Monday night lectures I have ever attended. Maclay Coach Gary Droze put together a panel of six outstanding high school athletes, students and individuals. Thanks to Nicole Posey (sophomore North Florida Christian), Rachel Horne (senior North Florida Christian), Jamie Ostrov (senior Maclay), Justin Andrews (senior Maclay), Amy Coburn (junior Leon), and Caleb Connor (Senior Maclay) for putting on a terrific show. The group answered questions from their coach and from GWTC members. Once again they demonstrated that running is alive and well among the young people in town. The city track meet the previous week had nearly 800 participants. The state meet should be just around the corner when you receive this newsletter. If you want to see these kids keep running after high school and college, then look for ways to support them in their efforts now. It was obvious from the group of kids at the lecture that interactions like that will keep them interested long after their high school careers are over.

I am truly distressed at the thought that the Andrews family will be leaving us soon. Howard and Jennifer have combined to make the membership duties almost invisible. This truly is one of the most time consuming jobs in the club and if it is not well done, it becomes quite visible. Howard has served as the coordinator since April of 1995 and has done a tremendous job, with a lot of help from Jennifer. And we all know that it has been Justin (Howard’s son) and Coach Droze who has led the running boom at Maclay. Thanks for all of the great work and as Dennis Silverman moaned when he heard Howard was leaving – who else can run and kick a pine cone off the road with that nifty little soccer move. Stay in touch guys! You will be missed and there will be a huge void.

The 25th running of the Palace Saloon was a big success. It is quite possible that Will Walker is the hardest working member of GWTC. In addition to being Race Director Coordinator he is directing at least three races and provides constant help and support to race directors in other events. His efforts to make sure the Palace was a first class event were top notch. If there is anyone who can match Will, it is probably Paul Hiers. I doubt very many of the runners pounding over the Springtime course really had any idea how much time he put into that event. If you enjoyed either of these races, make sure you tell these guys.

On June 5, we will hold the second annual Great Pot Luck 5 Mile Bash and Open-Mike Post Race Social. Yes, it will be hot. And since I received so much positive feed back on last year’s route by Lake Jackson, I would not dream of changing. But more importantly it will be an opportunity to have fun. And it is for a good cause. Every dollar of revenue will go to the Chenoweth Endowment Fund to help support local running causes. There will be music and craziness. Bring an attitude and a contribution. The Chenoweth Fund committee is currently soliciting nominations from coaches for a scholarship award to an outstanding high school boy and girl competitor. The award will be based on a variety of factors in addition to pure athletic accomplishment. This race will help that effort and other similar ones. If you want further information about nominating a runner, contact any of the committee members.

Well, I have run out of space. Above all enjoy your trails and don’t forget to spread a little kindness along the way. We all have to try a little harder without Craig around to do so much of it.