President's Column -February 2024

Jennifer Hay, Vice President

This column may tend to meander a bit but stay with me. I see and talk with my mother a time or two each week and we often chat of her past, growing up. She was an only child and often laments her loneliness growing up with no siblings. By contrast, my wife Jackie, has 3 sisters. It had to be nightly chaos for her working father to come home each evening from work to 4 teenage daughters. Add in a pet monkey that occasionally escaped from its cage, and you get why Dad retired outside to the pool each evening with some “brown juice”. Even though these contrasting home environments operated at opposite ends of the spectrum, they were both family. GWTC, likewise, is a family in a lot of ways. I know many members that would appear pretty darn lonely without the track club as the only time I see them about town, they are with fellow members. Now you could say we are a family or even a community. Instilling a sense of community in an organization can be hard to do. I imagine if we took a poll, some members in the track would say we have done that pretty well, while others would say not so much. Group run leader Joi Adams Savery is doing quite well with this lofty goal in her new role of helping manage group runs (along with several others) and encouraging folks to become members and join a group run. Joi came to a recent GWTC Board meeting and posited how we might better create an atmosphere for members that was more communal. The Board had no ready answers, but we encouraged her to come back with ideas possibly expanding on her already great work! I do know one way to feel more a sense of belonging is to help, as in volunteer. Yeah, that same old hue and cry. I have been running for some 50 years now, and a member of the track club for probably 35-40. In my early years I ran a lot of races and never had a single thought of volunteering to help with the club or at races. I just showed up to run, and in some years probably raced what seemed like 2-3 times a month. I do not even recall being asked to volunteer. When Jackie and I got married, she was more naturally inclined to do this and started helping at races, but I just continued what I was doing…run and race. I truthfully do not recall when I started volunteering – could have been Turkey Trot, prodded by Mary Jean and maybe Jackie. You could say that I have evolved from doing essentially nothing to doing a good fair share in recent years – maybe even making up for lost ground. Folks we are very close, if not at, a crossroads. With some exception, this club’s leadership is aging and, in a sense, on borrowed time. I think I determined that over 60% of our voting Board are in their 60’s and 70’s and will simply not be around to do these critical jobs much longer. Why is this? Well, the obvious – aging, health concerns, and sheer weariness of the dominance some of these jobs entail on your daily life. We have installed measures similar to the tri-club’s on mandatory volunteerism in order to qualify for Grand Prix awards for 2024. These are presently being finalized and have only become necessary due to the lack of members voluntarily stepping up. Don’t get me wrong, we have volunteers… BUT IT IS OFTEN THE SAME BASIC MEMBERS for the most part. As I write this, Felton and Bonnie Wright have professed that this is their final year as directors of the marathon. They have telegraphed this for at least a year, yet no one has come forward to shadow them in 2024. We have an open slot at this time to co-direct the 30K/15K. There are other races in which race directors are suggesting their time is limited. Equally important, the folks that run the Board are mostly the same folks – year in and year out – although we do get an occasional new member or two as we did this year which we are quite thankful for. We need more new blood on the Board, race directors, and for a variety of appointments to insure the GWTC is sustained. Don’t be like me in my early years and assume the club and these races will magically always be there.

FROM THE PRESIDENT

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