President's Column -February 2023

Jennifer Hay, Vice President

I’m not much of a runner. I’m not fast, and I don’t even run far anymore, but boy do I love being part of our amazing Tallahassee running community. All those fuzzy feelings are why I decided to up my leadership game in Gulf Winds Track Club. But I also thought it would give me a chance to convince David Yon to let me get more involved in our youth programs. They are his passion and are among the very best things GWTC does for Tallahassee. Part of my passion for our youth programs has grown from my family’s experience with them. Our kids— Hawthorne, 20, and Ainsley, 18—grew up going to Summer Track on Thursday nights, spending summer mornings running with local celebrities at SMIRFS, and waking up early on Saturday mornings to run or volunteer at races. They formed friendships and forged competitors spanning generations, and I will forever appreciate every volunteer and fellow runner who invested time in them, shared inspiring words (and taunts), ran next to them, and showed them the giving heart of our running community. It has made a huge difference in their lives. (Hawthorne is now a volunteer coach for the middle school program, and Ainsley—even though she’s not even a runner—would sooner skip mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving Day than miss the Turkey Trot.) GWTC is in their blood. I encourage every parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, and doting friend to get those little ones involved in the summer track series, the SMIRFS morning runs and games in June and July, and the middle school running program (Striders) throughout the year. And, of course, I hope all of you will volunteer in meaningful ways to grow these programs to their full potential—because it will be as good an experience for you as it is for the kids. Watch the Fleet Foot and website for information about youth running events and school running program grants. And of course, reach out to me if you have any questions or ideas!

FROM THE PRESIDENT

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