Summer Time Track Grand Prix

Lisa Unger, May 25, 2007

It’s almost time for the City of Tallahassee/Gulf Winds Track Club Summer Track Series again!  Each year GWTC teams up with the City of Tallahassee to present eight weeks of Track – the Summer Track and Field Series.  The 2007 version kicks off June 7 at the Maclay High School track and continues for eight weeks.  Many local coaches and high school runners volunteer their time and expertise each week to present a well-organized and fun series of track running at various distances for all to enjoy.   There are no “requirements” for participation in the track series.  Runners do not have to be fast or even GWTC members to participate – they just have to want to have fun and run or jump on the track. 


The series is arranged in odd and even weeks.  For the odd weeks (1, 3, 5 and 7), the competition events are the 40 yard dash (for the very young, around age five and under), the 100 meter dash, the 400 meter dash, the 1 mile run, the 5K run, the 4 X 100 (400 m) relay, and the Long Jump.  For the even weeks (2, 4 and 6) the available events are the 40 yard dash (we always have this event for the young ones), the 100 yard dash, the 200 meter dash, the 800 meter run, the 2 mile run, the 4 X 200 (800 m) relay and the High Jump.  Participants are welcome to compete in any or all of the available events.  The track series organizers will determine what events are available in the 8th week.  One event is certain; GWTC will present the annual Ice Cream Social and GWTC Summer Grand Prix Awards in the 8th week.


The Summer Track series has its own Grand Prix series based on the weekly Featured Event.  The 100m dash is the Featured Event in week 1 and the event is the next one up in distance each week after that through the 5K in week 7.  Only GWTC members are eligible to participate in the Grand Prix series.  Membership applications are available on line or at the track so non members may join and become eligible.  Again, club membership is required ONLY for Grand Prix participation, NOT for Summer Track series participation.  A Gulf Winds Track Club table will be set up in the infield of the track and will have GWTC volunteers ready to help participants.  Please note that the GWTC volunteers are not track volunteers, so we may not know all of the information about the city’s administration of the track series, but we’ll be there to administer the GWTC Grand Prix.  GWTC members who wish to participate in the Summer Grand Prix will be split into two groups:  Age 9 and under and age 10 and older.  The two groups will be scored differently as described in the next paragraph.


Some parental assistance may be needed for age 9 and under runners.  On the first evening of participation, the parent or child should complete a score card (provided at the GWTC table) including the child’s name, age, gender and verification of the child’s membership in GWTC.  This score card will be held by the GWTC volunteers and used for the entire series.  Each week that the child participates, the parent or child needs only to “check in” with the GWTC volunteers so they can get the child’s score card ready.  The 9 and under series scoring will be based upon participation, not times or placements.  Children aged 9 and under will run the Featured Event for the first 5 weeks (up to the mile).  In weeks 6 and 7, the children may choose any of the offered events under 1 mile to count.  Children aged 9 and under may run longer distances at their parent’s discretion, but we will not score children 9 and under for distances longer than 1 mile.  Upon completion of the Featured Event, each child will be awarded a finisher ribbon.  The child or parent should proceed to the GWTC table to show this ribbon to the GWTC volunteer who will place a sticker on the child’s score card recording the child’s participation in that Feature Event.  Parents are encouraged to watch their child’s finish and listen to the times called by the track volunteers and to record their child’s time if desired. 


Runners aged 10 and up will use a new score card each week.  Runners are responsible for obtaining their own finish times upon completion of the Featured Event.  Parents of runners ages 10-14 may need to assist their children in obtaining their finish time.  Upon obtaining their finish time, runners should proceed to the GWTC table to complete a score card including their name, gender, age, GWTC membership verification and their finish time.  Runners should leave their completed score card at the GWTC table with a volunteer.  Only completed score cards will be considered for Grand Prix scoring.  Runners who participate but do not complete and turn in score cards will NOT be scored.  Points will be assigned based on finish time/placement in the following categories:  Youth (10-14) Male and Female, Overall Male and Female (15 and up), and Male and Female in five year age groups beginning with 15–19 and continuing through to 85 and older.


GWTC volunteers will not have finish information for either GWTC members competing in the Grand Prix series or general all-comers competing in the Summer Track Series.  Results of the City of Tallahassee/GWTC Summer Track Series will be handled by the track volunteers and have traditionally been published in the Democrat.  All amenities (including finisher ribbons, t-shirts or such) offered by the Summer Track Series will be handled by the track volunteers, not the GWTC volunteers.  Results of the GWTC Summer Track Series will be posted on the GWTC web page as timely as possible each week.  GWTC will present the Summer Grand Prix awards in the eighth week of the Summer Track Series.  There will be a three-race minimum to receive an award.  Children ages 9 and under will awarded based on the number of races in which they participated.  Runners ages 10 and up will be awarded based on race placement and accumulated points in Youth, Overall, and age group categories.


More than anything else, it is a chance to have fun.  So we hope to see you out there!