Mae Cleveland


A lot happened at the 1999 Great Pot Luck Bash 5 Mile Run and Open Mike Social, as you might guess from the title, which doesn’t even begin to cover all the highlights. For example where’s the mention of the High School Athletes Recognition Ceremony? The Bash is a fund raiser for the Chenoweth Endowment Fund. All participants were asked to give $5, but most gave more, for a no-t-shirt and no-age-group-awards event!

This second annual event was held June 5 at Forest Meadows Recreation Park. The five mile course was around the multi use trail in the Elinor Klapp-Phipps Park, designated on maps as being for Passive Recreation. We doubt that anyone who ran or walked this Trail, which is all cross country over hills, past lakes and through varied terrain, was thinking of themselves as passive. Runners said the weather was a bit more comfortable than last year, although the course had a few more obstacles, like portions of the forest blown across the trail by a recent storm.

The 5 mile run is basically a team event, with teams chosen on the basis of the runners’ projected times. The registrations are sorted into five equal stacks by pace range, from fastest to slowest. Names are randomly drawn from each stack to form “pot luck” teams of five, one from each pace range. There were 11 teams. Each pace range was a “best possible’ finish place. For example, a runner from pace group one could finish as 1-11. Pace group two’s highest finish was from 12-22, three was from 23-34 and so on. The best place a runner from group two could finish for scoring purposes was 12 and the best place for a runner from group 3 would be 23. There was no limit on the downside.

The scoring system, in which lowest score wins, is highly complex. (And some might argue arbitrary, but how else was David Yon going to win last year.) First, the team members’ finish places are added together. Second, if a runner finished higher than the top spot for his or her pace range, their finish place was adjusted by using the best possible place. For example, if Janie Johnson was in group 3 according to her projected finish time, but finished 19th, she would have 4 places added to her finish since her “best possible” place was 23. Third, each finisher gets a playing card as they sprint to the finish line. Each team captain must collect all the team’s playing cards and finish cards and hand them in. The team’s “poker hands” are then given points according to their value. The better the hand, the fewer the points added to the team score. The bottom line – it is more important to know someone on the scoring committee than to run fast.

Before the team awards were handed out at the Open Mike Social, the high school athletes chosen to receive a Chenoweth Award were recognized. The athletes are nominated by area coaches and chosen on the basis of performances, need and goals. This year’s athletes are 400/800 meter speedster Theresa Daniels of Lincoln High School and shot/discus standout Travis Woullard of Port St. Joe High School. Coaches Perry Shaw of Lincoln and Scott Gowan, Port St. Joe, were obviously proud of their athletes and gave glowing reports of their accomplishments. Gulf Winds Track Club honored Theresa and Travis with an attractive plexiglass award and awarded, in their honor, $500 each to their school’s programs. At this Pot Luck Bash we raised over $1400, all of which will be added to the Chenoweth Fund to support high school athletes in the Big Bend area.

After much beer and many interruptions, mostly by team captains, scores were accurately added up, without calculators, with the results below. The Chenoweth Committee of David Yon, Toma Wilkerson, Gary Kenney and me all affirm these team results to be correct:

1st: Jim Phillips, Myron Herring (captain), Amy Coburn, Grea Bevis, Kathleen Butler
2nd: Bill McGuire (captain), Sarah Williams, Jerry Bryant, Brent Johnson, Ray Hanlon
3rd: Steve Barraco (captain), Sissi Carroll, James Dexter, Bruce Lynn, Judy Bakstran
Last: Joe Donoghue, Nancy Widener, Steve Leclercq, Charlie Beck (captain), Suzanne Lammle

Click here for complete results.

First place team received chicken candles; second, umbrella hats; third, back scratchers; and the last place team, fly swatters. This made for an entertaining part of the social, as several folks, like Bill McGuire and Brent Johnson, walked around with umbrellas over their heads, while Sissi Carroll eased an itching back and Joe Donoghue practiced swatting deer flies. Music was supplied by Jim Phillips and Bill McGuire, guys we can always count on for Open Mike night. The Great Potluck 5 Mile Bash and Open Mike Social was a Great Success in every aspect!

Thanks to David Yon, Bill McGuire, Gary Kenney, Bob Prentice and Pat Weidenbenner for measuring and marking the course the morning of the race, Pat W. and Jon Sowell for calling splits, Bill Lott in charge of finish line, Sarah Docter-Williams and Wendy Smith for organizing the social, Toma Wilkerson for shopping for appropriate awards, Bill McGuire for the Open Mike equipment and program, Chris Teaf for pulling out a 24-pack of Beck’s after the pony keg ran out, Rex Cleveland for the bottle opener on his key chain that kept the 24-pack from being useless, everyone who brought food, and all the participants who generously contributed to the support of high school athletes in exchange for food, lots of laughter, music, and the company of good friends. A very special thanks to Katz Kutter Haigler Alderman Bryant & Yon Law Firm for their generous contribution to the Chenoweth Fund.

If you wish to contribute to the Chenoweth Fund, send your check to Chenoweth Fund, Gulf Winds Track Club, P. O. Box 3447, Tallahassee, FL 32315. Make checks payable to Gulf Winds Track Club and specify that it is for the Chenoweth Fund.