What a way to close it out. We said goodbye to 2018 with my favorite event of the year – the Gulf Winds Holiday party. As always, it was a blast. Of course, like with even a perfect training plan, something always goes off course and you have to figure a way back on track. If you didn’t attend the party, then you missed the ingenuity of the local running and triathlete community as we scrambled for entertainment for the masses. If you left early, then you missed out on the resultant mayhem that ensued. Let’s just say some people got crazy.

So, hello to 2019 and with a new year comes new opportunity. As your incoming president, I’m very thankful for the opportunity to fulfill this role and lead GWTC into and through 2019. We have several new members on our leadership team including: Laryn Flikkema as your new treasurer, Chris Stanley as your new Education and Lecture Coordinator, Tsige Tadesse as a new director at large, and Wayne Thumm as the new Triathlete Club President. I want to thank Kory Skrob, Katie Sherron, and Tony Guillen for their time and service as they transition off the Board. Zack Scharlepp and Laura McDermott are continuing their work on the Board, but in different roles this year. Likewise, Jim Halley is serving in a new role, he will serve as your new vice president (and next Club President if tradition holds – so look out). GWTC also owes a big thanks to Nancy and Jay as they pass the torch of directing the TUDC off to the next generation. Thank you for your time and effort for the TUDC and for the Marathon and a bunch of other jobs of which I’m surely only partially aware.

Building off the foundation of predecessors, sprinkle in some ambition, garnish with the naivety of a brand-new role, and top it all off knowing that I haven’t messed up yet, I have high hopes for what the year will bring for the Club. We’ve rolled out the new online Club membership platform at RunSignUp.com and so far, so good. On that note, please don’t forget to renew your membership for 2019. There are many reasons to be a member, one of which being the year-long Grand Prix competition which kicks off on January 19th for adults and January 26 for youth.

So… races: You are cordially invited – actually no, your presence is requested at the Swamp Forest Trail Marathon, Half Marathon, 6.5 mile and 50k Races on January 5; the Bowlegs 5k on January 12; and the aforementioned 30k/15k on January 19th. And did you catch that? From the sadistic mind of returning race director Bobby York… there’s a Swamp Forest 50k now. Someone once referred to the Swamp Forest race course as the Trail of Tears, well now there’s more trail and probably more tears. Too bad I’m recovering from injury or I’d be out there enjoying it myself.

Without a working crystal ball and without drafting 12 months of columns now, I could only speculate as to the content of my future columns. However, with that said, you will probably see this again: we are always looking for volunteers. This club is what it is due to the dedication from such a large pool of members who give their valuable time, energy, and attention to club matters large and small. GWTC now hosts 20 races each year and that’s counting the Summer Trail Series as “one” and not even considering Summer Track Series where we collaborate with Parks and Rec. Every race director needs race-day volunteers as well as assistance in planning and pulling their events together so please consider pitching in. However, if you’re like me (when uninjured anyway), you run most of the races. Well we have jobs for you too. There’s always something going on behind the scenes. The board and club leadership are always working on something and we have quite varied backgrounds and experiences, but we don’t have you. You could help us out – I’m certain of it. Put it on your list of resolutions: contact a GWTC race director or board member and see what you can do. The club will benefit and so will you. Heck, they may even make you president one day.

Editor’s Note: Congratulations to Paul Guyas, GWTC President for 2019. As you know, one of the President’s duties is to write a monthly column. He has some pretty big shoues to fill (Zack Scharlepp’s) but he is off to a good start.