Singing the praises of race directors



Fred Deckert,


Saturday’s Palace Saloon 5K is probably the oldest race in the Tallahassee area. It seemed fitting that it’s now directed by Joe Dexter who’s directed more running events than anyone I know. Which brings me to the subject of race directors, that strange breed that organizes these events without pay and usually without much recognition either. Dexter, with wife Nadine annually directs a number of area races and assists other rookie directors in getting their event off the ground. Old timers know that if Joe is involved there will be prompt results and a well organized race.

Right behind Dexter in number of events has to be David and Mary Jean Yon who have also directed a great many area races, most notably the Turkey Trot, a conglomeration of 4 events every Thanksgiving. Others who have been active in this field are, Tom Perkins and wife Jeanne O’Kon who have directed Springtime 10K and the Cookie Run 5K already this year along with a multitude of other races in the past. Also, Paul Hiers, Gary Kenny, Will Walker, Peg and Gary Griffin, Judy and David Waters, Larry Guinipero and Bill Hillison, Ervin Holiday, Joe Beckham and Patti Sudduth, Barbara and Nick Yonclas, Pat and Wes Bruner, Dawn Brown, Felton Wright, Angie Goodman, and Martha Haynes are active race directors. Among those no longer active are Mike Hochstein, Mike Eakin, Lamons and J. D. Warren, Susan and Dana Stetson, Dave Rogers, Tony Kronenburg, Jeff Doherty, Daryl Ellison, and Chris Teaf. Apologies in advance for any that I skipped.

These generous folks have several things in common, first a lack of financial reward for their efforts. I think I can say with safety that none of them has ever profited from their hard work relating to race directing, in fact if the truth be known it often costs them money out of pocket for the doubtful privilege. Why do they do it? Mostly because they feel it needs to be done. The running community comes together and enjoys the competition and camaraderie of the race, and very often a portion if not all of the profit goes to help finance a local worthy cause. Over the years, many thousands of dollars have enriched the community while the rest of us were enjoying the fruits of their labors. The director’s satisfaction is of that of a job well done and enjoyment brought to the participants. Much of the time thanks is pretty scarce while complaints for the inevitable errors or oversights are all too plentiful.

Next race that you attend, why not go over to the race director/s and give them a word of praise, believe me, they appreciate it!