SEMPER FIDELIS – ALWAYS FAITHFUL
By David Yon
semperfidelis, itssoandso’sbirthdaycardscanyousignthiscard, fatigues, profusepraise, canofcokeatgwtcboardmeetings, tallahasseehalfmarathontrophy, albanyraceyoucouldwin, iwilldoanythingtohelpwiththisrace, gwtcismyfamily, iwilldoanythingtohelpgwtc, family.
Craig Kelly Hasty, 42, of Tallahassee died Tuesday, April 5, 1999. I first learned about this loss on Friday. This morning, Saturday, April 10, I ran 12 miles alone and the tears rolled down my cheeks as thoughts of Craig raced around my head. On Tuesday, April 13 at 7:30 there will be a gathering at the FSU track to remember our friend and an irreplaceable member of our family.
He never fit the norm. And I know there were people who wondered if he was just a little crazy. He made quite a sight in his camouflage pants with that deadpan serious look on his face. And if you ever made Craig’s “hero” list you learned to wince and look for a place to hide when you saw him coming. He could heap the praise on like few ever could. It could be incredibly embarrassing, but it was just his way of reaching out. If you knew him, you knew his heart was made of gold. There was absolutely nothing he would not do for GWTC and for the people whom he considered his friends. The club and these people were his family. I believe that anyone who took a little time with Craig got far more for doing so, than they ever gave.
I will miss him. Never again will I pull into the parking lot at some race, dead serious about the upcoming performance and lost in thought, only to see him charging at me from the other side of the parking lot. Moments later he would rattle off some incredible string of compliments, ask a question or two, offer help for some future event and then turn and disappear as quickly as he had charged over. No one ever called off mile splits with more conviction. I remember after Springtime this year (he was at the six-mile mark) he said: “If I can help a runner pick up just one second, it is worth it.” For Craig, every second and every opportunity to help mattered. In addition to volunteering to work an incredible number of races, he was the only member that I know of who was not on the board, but regularly attended board meetings. He usually sat on the floor (he would never take a chair ahead of someone else) with his can of coke in front of him. He rarely said anything, except “I will help with that.”
Probably my best memory was running him to the finish of the 1997 half marathon. Craig was always hard on himself in races. He believed that every time out he had to give it 110%. It was a key part of his training during his time in the Marines and just became part of his persona. During this race a group of us, 4 or 5, caught up to Craig in the last couple of miles of the race. He was suffering mightily and slowing down. If you know the end of the course, you know it is brutal and includes a nasty hill. Instead of running past him, we decided to shout a little Latin at him and try to pull him in. He responded with tremendous courage, not wanting to let his friends down. He chanted “semper fi” and other motivational phrases while he huffed and puffed. I can assure you he left nothing on the course as he went charging to the finish and an age group award. He never stopped thanking us for that and when he accepted his award he just could not stop thanking everyone. Another memory at the top of the list was his attendance at the lecture we did on Antarctica. From the day he found out we were going to the bottom of the world, Craig was like a sponge soaking up every detail. It intensified when we got back. No one wanted to hear the lecture more. When I walked into the community room at Myers Park to start setting things up, Craig was there already. He had a 4 foot stuffed penguin sitting in his lap and was dressed in his Marine winter camouflage gear. It was all white of course. And he had the biggest smile on his face that you could imagine.
Craig Kelly Hasty, GWTC member, never did fit the norm. But he taught us all more about what kind of people we are and our capacity for humanity than anyone else I can name. Craig, you were my friend and hero. I will miss you terribly.