President's Column - March 2023

Jerry McDaniel, President

The Springtime races are particularly near and dear to my heart, particularly the 10K which was the only distance run in this race for quite some time. It is a bit poetic that Jackie and I find ourselves directing this race, given the impact it has had on both of our running lives. In the spring of 1976, I was on the verge of graduating from FSU. A year and a half prior, I started FSU and took up residency in Sally Hall. Turns out my roommate was a high school hurdler from upstate New York and encouraged me to begin running with him. Our runs increased in distance over time as I began exploring a sustained exercise program for the first time in my life. After moving off campus a little way, someone tells me there is an upcoming race down by the intramural fields and that with all this running I had been doing, I should do it! While I had been running over a year by this time, I had never attempted or even thought of running a race. In fact, the idea of such an endeavor was intimidating. I considered this for a bit and decided that I would ride my bike down near the start of the race. If it looked like a bunch of FSU track folks or other high-level runners, why, I would just peddle on by. Well, I rode down there, stopped and worked up the courage to do the race. The course was in and around the intramural fields totaling 4 miles, and as I later learned, the very first Springtime race ever held! Shortly after that first race, the event was moved downtown and lengthened to 10k (see history of the race on the Springtime 10K/5K/1M website). Jackie’s approach to running this race for the first time was also born out of a bit of intimidation, but more so due to the hills and distance. After watching me run the Springtime 10K, having fun and competing against my friends for several years, Jackie decided it was time to go from bystander to participant. She read in the Fleet Foot that a Springtime 10K training group would begin prior to the upcoming race. Not knowing anyone who was going to be there, and fearing everyone would be faster or that she might get lost on the winding roads of Myers Park, she decided to park at the playground and walk up to the pool area where everyone was meeting. This would give her the opportunity to turn around and walk back to her car, unnoticed, if the group looked too intimidating. Julie Clark, the leader of the training group, approached her as she was walking up and welcomed her to the group. Julie convinced her that no one was too fast or too slow and that no one would get lost due to the many volunteers on the course. She attended all the training runs and ran the race with a friend she met there! Jackie gives all the credit to GWTC, Julie Clark, and the volunteers for giving her the training tools and opportunity she needed train to run many more 10K races, half-marathons, and even a marathon! It seems as though we were meant to eventually become the race directors of the Springtime races. The training group that facilitated Jackie’s entry into the 10K world and beyond started on February 13 this year – details on the website and FB. We look forward to encouraging new and returning runners to this year’s edition of the Springtime races! Please volunteer if you aren’t running or even if you are; as you can see, volunteers are the backbone of our Club races and are appreciated by us all!

FROM THE PRESIDENT

President’s Column – May 2024

Jerry and I have spent a lot of newsletter space telling you how much we value Gulf Winds Track Club and its members. We’ve talked about our fave GWTC memories, group runs, races, volunteering, youth programs, and superstars. Now, we want to hear from you. GWTC is...

President’s Column – April 2024

First and foremost on my mind this month are the Springtime Races, which Jackie and I direct. All is well at this point due in some measure to a new Volunteer initiative of the club’s(more on that in a bit), but also due to the marketing efforts of Jon Brown and the...

President’s Column – March 2024

I spend a lot of time talking with people about running and walking and the role that being outdoors plays in our wellbeing. It’s a part of my job at REI that I really love, and it has become a bit of a passion as you can probably tell given all the energy I pour into...

President’s Column – February 2024

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,...

President’s Column – January 2024

Jerry did a great job of succinctly summing up the past year of our club in his President’s Letter last month, and now we get a chance to look forward, to decide where our club is headed, who we want to be as a community. I’m the newbie here, so it’s easier for me to...

President’s Column – December 2023

As you read this letter, we will be into December of 2023 and closing out my first year as President of the club and last column. This necessitates a look back on the year for me to see whether the club has back-tracked, stalled, or moved forward from some of my...

President’s Column – November 2023

I grew up going to church. As a teenager, I spent many Wednesdays at confirmation classes and choir practice, and as a kid, Sunday mornings were for bible lessons and playing twenty questions with my friends in the very back pews. I loved our church people. I rarely...

President’s Column – October 2023

Running with a group has many benefits. Gets you out the door to run when you may not want to because you are meeting others. Helps the miles pass as you chat about your life or hear about others. Can create healthy in-group challenges or competitions. Maybe learn...

President’s Column – September 2023

I often find myself looking around Gulf Winds gatherings a little star struck. I’m always surrounded by people who have accomplished amazing physical feats. They’ve run dozens of marathons, completed grueling ultras, made being an Ironman look easy, qualified for...

President’s Column – August 2023

Back in the day, Jackie and I ran quite a few races. I am still showing up occasionally for some races when I am not injured. For those of you that have participated in these Saturday morning challenges throughout all or some portion of your running life, you know...