President's Column -April 2023

Jennifer Hay, Vice President

Y’all already know how absolutely fabulous our Tallahassee running community is. For example, GWTC’s stats of more than 1,177 members, five weekly and four seasonal training groups, 23 races per year, and an all-volunteer army of race directors, timers, training leaders, board members, newsletter producers, event hosts, merchandise coordinators, web developers, fundraisers, equipment managers, Grand Prix program managers, and race day workers are pretty impressive. And here are some more GWTC stats to make you proud to be part of this group: • Even in a recovery year, we donated more than $103,000 to other nonprofits through race income sharing, coordinating direct donations, and grants. • All of our youth programs are free. This includes the summer trail running programs (SMIRFS and Striders), year-round training groups for middle schoolers, Miller Landing Madness trail races in August, and the 8-week summer track series for all ages. • We were instrumental in developing Apalachee Regional Park (ARP) in partnership with Florida State University, donating more than $34,000 and hundreds of volunteer hours to make it one of the country’s premier cross-country courses and a major economic driver for Tallahassee. ARP hosts races year-round, including some remarkable ones like NCAA cross country championships, high school state championships, national master’s championships, and the annual Florida State University Invitational. The 2026 World Cross Country Championship will be at ARP (only the third time the event has been in the United States). • GWTC hosts two Boston qualifying marathons each year. One in December as part of the Ultra Distance Classic (marathon/50K/50 miles) and the Tallahassee Marathon, Half-Marathon, and Marathon Relay in February. We’re also home to a lot of formidable Boston Marathon runners and Olympic Trial qualifiers. • Speaking of marathons, our February race just made a notable contribution to the local economy. We spent more than $80,000 with local vendors. About 700 local runners bought their gear and prerace bananas and oatmeal here, and I swear every one of them ate lunch at the finish line. And the other 600ish runners from 30 states and 7 different countries spent hundreds of thousands of dollars at local restaurants, hotels, and stores. • Our school grants provide up to $3,500 annually to area youth running programs. Schools just have to meet the requirements and apply before the money runs out. Our local running club is all this and so much more, and I hope you’ll throw yourself completely into participating in all aspects of making running here accessible, inclusive, safe, and fun. Let me know if you want to be more involved. There are hundreds of opportunities to contribute in big and small ways, on weekends and during the day, at specific hours and at completely flexible times. We have coordinator positions open for training groups and merchandising, and I’d love to see more official group run leaders step up. You can even start today by encouraging your running buddies to join GWTC and accompany you in volunteering. I love GWTC, and I know the more you get to know it, the more you will too.

FROM THE PRESIDENT

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