Cat Bird Seat


By David Yon


“You know I would like to see us get the lecture series pumped up again.” “I think we should have more socials, because they are the heart of the club.” “I think Runner of the Year should be about more than just who is the fastest. We also should give consideration to someone who makes our club a better organization.” “I understand why you might want to feature the 10K, but I would just hate to see the 15K die. It is just a special race and we don’t have another one that distance.” These are just a few of the words of wisdom I have heard in my many years with GWTC from Bill de Grummond. Always keeping us on track toward what is important. You would have to go back to 1990, I believe, to find a newsletter that does not list him on the GWTC board. If you went back to 1981 and looked through 1984, you would find him serving during those years as well. I can’t speak for the time before that, but I bet you he was active somehow.

He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1988. Even then Rod Anderson said (February 1989, Fleet Foot): “First, and most importantly, he sat on the Board of Directors for GWTC for four critical, formative years when a rapidly expanding club debated urgent questions of finances and expenditures, its agenda for the future and its fundamental purpose. It was in those sometimes rancorous meetings that our nominee earned a reputation for soft-spoken, deliberate, yet forceful concern for the maintenance of the tradition of our club, for the need for fiscal responsibility and long-term planning, and above all else, for the view that our club had been founded, not as a vehicle for a racing elite, but as a support network for all runners, and that we stray from that principle to our peril.” Finally, Bill said something I did not want to hear – he is not running for the board in 2000. We will miss him terribly and I want to personally thank him for all of the help and tremendous support he has been. I know he will still be around doing good things and keeping us on track. But just in case, Bill if you go too far, I might just think about dropping that 15K from Thanksgiving Day (not!).

I hope you get a chance to read or contribute to the prep section on our web page. We are making an effort to keep up with the middle school and high school cross country meets in our area. If you have information about any of the Big Bend meets or programs, please send them to me. E-mail works well. GWTC is very involved in youth running. Nowhere has this become more evident in the last few years than at the Tom Brown Bash. This race has become a great mix of young and old, with the 2.5 mile race becoming a sort of unofficial kick off for the high school season. The club will also be very involved once again in the Champ Days Middle School Cross country meet, providing shirts, equipment and volunteers. There is some real talent in our area as Michael Joanos (5th, 4A), Ryan Deak (2, 1A), Thure Caire (5th, 1A), Josh Conner (10, 1A), Matt Katz (12th, 1A), Rod Givens (13th 1A), Nicole Posey (4th, 1A), Kara Newell (5th, 1A) and Anne Johansen (16th, 1A) are all ranked in the most recent high school polls. Maclay’s boys team is ranked number one in the state 1A division, having won two major invitational meets already this year. The girls team is ranked second in the same division, while the Lincoln girls are now ranked number 8 in the 4A division. Leon’s boys were preseason honorable mention.

Manny Joanos is trying to bring back a major high school meet which will be called the Capital City Invitational Track and Field Classic. He has found major sponsors and now is asking for GWTC to be a major source of volunteers. The meet will be held at the brand new Chiles High School track. Manny was also very persistent at making sure the necessary funding was appropriated to make this track an eight-lane track capable of handling major meets. If you have any interest in helping out, please let me know.

The awards committee is getting into high gear, narrowing down candidates for this year’s awards and next year’s grand prix schedule. If you have any interest in nominating people please get your suggestions to one of the committee members – Bill de Grummond, Felton Wright, Fran McLean, Bonnie Benge or me. Plans are moving along at full speed for the year end party. Sarah Docter-Williams and Wendy Smith are promising a great time. They have put together a wonderful series of socials this year. September’s Xterra was the latest and a lot of fun. Gary Griffin did a very nice job telling us about his adventures in South Africa at the Comrades Marathon at the last lecture series.

Track and field at the elite level wrapped up with the world championships and the end of the Grand Prix season. Two runners, Romania’s Gabriela Szabo and Denmark’s Wilson Kipketer, shared in the $1,000,000 Golden League prize. They had to win their events (3,000 and 800) in 7 Golden League IAAF meets to share in the pot. I thought the television coverage for the World Championships was pretty good if you taped the TBS version each night. Regina Jacobs was the only US distance runner to medal – a silver in the 1500. Thanks to Manny Joanos and Mike Hochstein for supplementing this coverage with satellite broadcasts of the meet from Canada at “The Net.” There were at least five world records this year, the decathlon (Dvorak), 100 (Greene) 400 (Johnson), 1000 (Ngeny), mile and the 2000 (both records by Guerrouj). I can’t wait for next year’s Olympics, scandals and drug suspensions notwithstanding.

I hope your trails take you to fun and fast fall races. See you at the Pine Run!