September Cat Bird Seat

By David Yon


Aging. That word has a lot of different meanings for GWTC members. Moving up in an age group usually means new opportunities for grand prix points. By and large runners just simply look and act much younger than the inactive people in our society. We have some very active grand prix competition at all age groups 60 and above. I treasure our members like Charlie Yates and John Alderson who just keep going past the 70 year mark, ignoring the calendar and setting shining examples for us. So it certainly has its positive connotations.

There is another side though. It is tough to watch those close to you as their bodies and minds begin to crumble on them. As a society, and as children, it seems we are ill prepared for dealing with the end of the aging process. Doors to hospitals, ACLF’s, assisted living facilities and nursing homes open up to entirely new, and not necessarily pleasant, worlds that a few years ago were just theoretical places. We begin to wonder which is worse – losing a parent or watching them slowly lose control of their minds and bodies. We are all touched by it in some way and the best way to get through it seems to be finding friends with similar experiences to reach out to. For better or worse there are lots of them to be found in GWTC.

The Big Bend Track Club and the Capital City Christian Cruisers send their thanks for the club’s help with their trip to Cleveland. It was a tremendous experience for these kids. They found the competition to be very intense, but hopefully an experience they can build on. To all of the coaches and chaperones, and to all who contributed to the fund-raising effort, thanks for making a difference in these kids lives. Check out the web page for results.

We are living up to the “track” portion of the club name. Sometimes we do this in a conventional manner, sometimes in a not so conventional manner. In addition to the best summer track series so far, the Breakfast on the Track Mile has now become a fixture on the summer circuit. Summer grand prix events included the 100, 200, 400, 800, 1 mile, 2 mile and 5,000 meter runs. The series finished with a random day where you could pick any event and try to improve your position. The Breakfast on the Track saw 123 finishers participate in 6 heats of the mile race. The heats are great because you get to run against people close to your own speed and you get to watch 5 other races. But that was all just prelims for the relay races. Teams passed pancakes, batons and cups on their way to gut busting imitations of Michael Johnson and Maicel Malone-Wallace. We also saw the fourth running of the Kingston Beer mile and the 90th running of the Devil take the Hindmost. Jeff Bowman and Jody Spangler won these events. Mary Jean Yon was ruthless as the devil. And believe it or not there is (or was) a track athlete in town that a lot of the GWTC members recognize. Llewellyn Herbert, a 400-meter hurdler who is competing at the world championships, has been drawing rave reviews from the female members of the track club. They are very impressed with his. . . . times, yeah that is it.

It is time to get serious about recruiting for next year’s officers and directors. Mae Cleveland, Bill McGuire and Bill Perry are serving on the nominations committee again. Please get names to them as soon as you can. And be pleasant and say yes, if they come your way.

Fall is the season for cross country. By the time you read this, the kick off event (Tom Brown Bash) will have come and gone. The Bash is a great example of GWTC getting involved in youth running. Paul Hiers has added a 2.5 mile race that will probably draw more than 100 high school kids this year. Maclay looks loaded this year (especially the boys) but there is lots of talent out there. Michael Joanos, son of club member Manny, will be among the best of a strong group of boys. Thure Claire and Rod Givens round out the top three returning from last year. Kara Newell, Nicole Posey and Anne Johansen bring some of the fastest times from last year to this year’s girl’s competition. Competition gets serious with the Lincoln Invitational on September 11 at Tom Brown Park. On October 6 Maclay will host the City Championships. Mark it on your calender because there will be an open division. If you can get away from work, it would be a great warm up for the Pine Run. There is a much more detailed report on the GWTC web site if you want more about the local scene.

I mentioned it last month and I want to do so again this month, because it is a tremendous opportunity to help raise money for the Chenoweth Fund. On November 7, the third annual Wilderness Run will be held at Fallschase. This year the 5K is a grand prix event. Thanks to the generous sponsorship of a whole host of people pulled together by Susie Bush Transou at Tri-Eagle all of the registration fees for the first 100 people to register go to the Chenoweth Fund. After that 50% of the fees go to the fund. All of the remaining proceeds go to Keep Tallahassee and Leon County Beautiful. There will be a massive health fair and a ton of entertainment for kids and adults alike. Gary Kenney is the race director and I doubt there is any race that has had more planning and more effort put into it. So, you have lots of good reasons to get out there.

Well I am off to watch the World Track and Field Championships, the third most watched sporting event in the world. I am hoping for a gold medal for Regina Jacobs, the race of his life for Steve Holman in the finals of the 1500, and lots of US runners in the men and women’s finals of the 5,000 and 10,000 meter races. (Is 5 too much wishful thinking – all but one of Kennedy, Goucher, Culpepper, Hickman, Drossin and Kenah?) Here’s to finding a trail that leads to a little bit of cooler weather soon.