The Pine Run Reborn – Times Remembered

Mary Jean Yon,

Thirty years ago, I was a bright-eyed graduate student at FSU counting down the days before graduation and the start of life in the real world. My major (and favorite) professor gathered up his students one crisp October day and took us out to Tall Timbers, home of forestry research and the birthplace of modern fire ecology. It was a great trip because I witnessed firsthand the passion my professor had for this land management gem and I also received a great introduction to the idea that jobs and passion can blend in many meaningful ways.

Thirty years later, I find my love of the environment still going strong and darn it if I’m not back at Tall Timbers! This time I’m watching Gordon Cherr design a challenging yet picturesque 20K course. I’m not sure if passion is the right word to describe Gordon’s feelings, but I do recognize that the man is performing his own version of a labor of love as he strives to replace our beloved Pine Run. Sad but true, Gulf Winds Track Club’s Pine Run, a rollicking off-road 20K in Bainbridge, Georgia lost its venue last year as International Paper succumbed to economic pressures and put the property where the race had been held since 1977 up for sale. But dry your tears for as they say, “we gather strength from sadness and from pain” and the Pine Run at Tall Timbers 20K is an excellent case in point.

Many thanks to Gordon Cherr for stepping up to direct this new race on October 11. He sacrificed many weekend hours and at least two mountain bikes to bring you a course every bit as challenging and worthy of bragging as the old Pine Run. He even plans to carry forward the post race picnic which is the best outlet for those wanting to celebrate the very fact that they completed the race.

Over the years, the Pine Run spurred many a competitive challenge far greater than simply completing the race course on any given Saturday. Tony Kronenburg emerged as the only person that ran every Pine Run since the inaugural race in 1977! Quite the feat, that is! And let us not forget the battle between Mae Cleveland and Christie Koontz for which of them could run more Pine Runs over the course of their running careers! Here’s hoping our new home at Tall Timbers inspires similar contests if not a continuation of those already in progress.

As luck would have it, Tall Timbers just happens to be celebrating their 50th anniversary this year so there will be an extra hint of excitement in the air come race day. All race participants are welcome to tour the property and visit the Beadel House, which long ago was home to Henry Beadel, the man who made it all happen by leaving his entire estate to be used as an ecological research station. For more information on Tall Timbers, visit their web site at and for a good way to get your run in and visit with both old and new friends, come run the Pine Run at Tall Timbers! Who knows, maybe we’ll see Tony, Mae and Christie there…ready to start all over again!

In closing, here’s a hot tip for you. Knowing how sore one can get after running races like the Pine Run, I find it extremely fortuitous that our next lecture series is scheduled for Wednesday, October 15th @ Premier Health & Fitness Center. Kim Ortloff, LMT will be sharing the many wonders of stretching and strengthening exercises to help us all cope with running aches and pains. I don’t know if Gordon collaborated with Fred & Margarete Deckert on the scheduling of this event but there truly could never be a better time to get this sort of firsthand knowledge! Details can be found in the Running from Pain article under upcoming events. Hope to see you there!