Our Weaving Ways
Every race on the local schedule has its own unique character and the Summer GP 5000 meters is no exception. Time constraints prevent running multiple heats of this race as is customary with everything else including 3200 meters. What results is the only 5K in which everyone (including a large group of youngsters that may run anywhere from 2 to 8 laps before stopping) runs together, if you will. As you might imagine, this presents some unique challenges when it comes to passing. The passer may find him/herself out in lane 4 or inside on the grass at any given moment. Those being passed often move to the outside, but it is hard to constantly pay attention behind oneself. And to be fair, someone trying to break 27 minutes shouldn’t be forced to run a “long” 5K just so someone trying to break 18 minutes can have the first lane. So we all reach a sort of mutual understanding – call it the 5000 Dance. It is a testament to everyone’s awareness of their surroundings that there were no collisions (at least none that involved falls). I doubt there were any PRs to report due to the high heat index, but we enjoyed another great night of fellowship as we brought one more summer track season to a close.
On the youth front, yet another kids’ track club – the Tallahassee Trailblazers – was in attendance in their yellow T-shirts. They provided a lot of competition in the 100 and 400 meter events. There were still enough kids at the very end (almost 9 p.m.) to hold a couple heats of 400 meter relays. Now that is dedication. But perhaps the fastest people out there were the volunteers who scooped out dozens of ice cream cones before they turned to just cream. They helped provide many extra happy faces last Thursday.
Speaking of volunteers, I cannot conclude my series of posts without recognizing all of the people who make it happen. As low key and fun as these evenings are, there is still much work involved. Tom Perkins of course coordinates everything. He and Perry Shaw do a great job dividing up the heats as evenly as they can and then start the races. Bill Lott runs the big clock and does much of the set up and clean up (all those tables and water jugs and cups don’t get there by themselves). Fred Deckert does a terrific job providing a photo chronicle of every week from atop his perch near the finish line. Lisa Unger and Jeanne O’Kon serve as official summer GP scorekeepers and Gulf Winds ambassadors. Peg Griffin provided an assist when Jeanne and Lisa were both out a week. Brian and Samantha Corbin ran the official clock when it was needed for some of those fast races. Allison Eagen coordinated volunteers handing out ribbons at the finish line. Those ribbons are important to the kids and it takes several people to hand them out as accurately as possible. Chika Okoro often helped in this capacity as well as several other Gulf Winds members and area high school students. Dave Rogers has been nursing an injury but still showed up every week to help with a variety of items (barefoot, of course). Mark Priddy and Judy Alexander also provided assistance. I hope I didn’t leave any names out. Trust that you are all appreciated. Last, but not least, a big “Thank You” to Gary Droze and Maclay School for making this venue available for 8 Thursdays of lasting memories every summer.