Salute to Prefontaine 5K

Doug Bell debuted his GWTC race directing skills in 2014 and gave a grand Salute to Prefontaine with the job he did. Like the runner this event is named for, the course is always off road and challenging. The course has traversed a number of different trails through the Apalachicola National Forest around the Silver Lake Recreation Area over the years, but they all seem to find more sand than a runner might like. Dave Rogers birthed this event on September 25, 1976, not long after the legendary Steve Prefontaine died. Dave was known for his colorful race starts (shooting an apple off of Carmen’s (his wife) head and one year adding a 20k/10K Midnight Moonlight Run through the forest, marking the trail with candles in bags of sand.

Mike Eakin and Jeff Doghtery followed as directors. Jeff Nielsen, Race Director for the last 13 years, deserves a big thank you for his time. He always brought his own mark to this race finding an extra log, a bit of sand or a “push up” contest to keep “smiles” on the runners’ faces. The race has also became a favorite place for local high-school teams to celebrate cross country running. After Doug Bell was a big help to Jeff in 2013, Jeff turned the event over to Doug in 2014. The result was “terrific.” With one race under his belt, something tells me that Doug will not only hold up this race’s wonderful traditions, but he will take it to a new level.