Race Director of the Year

Lisa Unger, January 2011

Each year the GWTC recognizes a member who has actively produced a quality event that is enjoyed by many runners.  Most recipients of this award do an outstanding job of directing a single event.  They plan for the event in advance, arrive early to set up the event and stay late to clean up after the last runner has finished.  There is even more work connected with multi-race events, such as the Turkey Trot, where there are four races at the same event!

Occasionally, a member directs two races a year—for example, David Yon directs the Turkey Trot and the Potluck Bash.  And Tom Perkins directs the “Run for the Cookies” and the “Miller Landing Madness.”  (David and Tom, you’re not getting this award!) This year’s recipient goes above and beyond just directing an event—he is a major force in directing eight races a year!
By our best guess, he has been involved with the Summer Track Series and has coordinated with the Tallahassee Parks and Recreation Department, for at least 26 years.  And that’s after having been an active participant himself.

The annual Summer Track Series is an eight-week long series of track events that is attended by upwards of 300 participants on any given week.  Each year, Gulf Winds Track Club teams up with Tallahassee Parks and Recreation to host the Series that has in recent years taken place at the Maclay High School track.  Each week, 5 running events are offered starting with the 40-yard dash for the very young and they increase in distance up to the 5K. Runners of all ages participate in these events that are staged in heats based on gender and age.  To the participant, the series seems to flow seamlessly.  This is because behind the scenes, our recipient has put in weeks of preparation and has years of experience in staging these events.

Beginning on the first Thursday evening in June, runners of all ages start to arrive at the track around 6 PM to enjoy running the variety of distances on the track.    Well before that time, our recipient has already been there setting up the track and helping to prepare for the events. He works tirelessly each Thursday evening starting heat after heat of events, ensuring that each participant has an opportunity to test themselves in one of the track lanes.  He is always one of the last to leave the track, usually staying until well after 9 PM. This goes on for 8 weeks straight and I personally have never known him to miss a single week!

This year’s award recipient has been an inspiration to both young and old for many years.  Without him, the Summer Track Series certainly would not be the outstanding community opportunity it is for fun and fitness of which this club is so proud.  

For these reasons, and many more, I am please to be associated with, and honored to recognize Coach Perry Shaw the 2011 Race Director of the Year.