By David Yon


Congratulations are in order for Maclay and Florida High as both schools brought home state championships from Gainesville in track and field this weekend. Maclay won the boys 1A title, while the Florida High girls captured the 2A title. It was the seventh TRACK title (there’s a slew of cross country titles also) for a Gary Droze coached Maclay team. His girls teams won in 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2002. His boys won in 2000 and again last year. The girls were runners up this year as well as in 1997 and the boys accomplished that feat in 1997 and 1999. Ross McMillan, Alex Brickler and Tim Edmund led the team to its third title in four years. Of course the standard is FAMU’s thirteen titles. Florida High relied on Kayla Parker, Emily Kohler and T.J Close (yep, that’s Jessie’s daughter) to bring home a title for new coach Jarrod Hickman. Parker is a freshmen loaded with potential. She scored in five events. You can find complete results at And my hat is off to Brian McLaughlin for his outstanding coverage of the state meet. His articles in Saturday and Sunday’s Tallahassee Democrat demonstrated he understands track. It was some of the best track coverage I can remember reading in the Democrat. Give him a raise, Randy Beard, but keep him writing about track!

GWTC members Gary and Peg Griffin represented the club well Friday night and Saturday at the 2003 Relay for Life, with Gary serving as this year’s event chair. Paul Ahnberg mobilized the GWTC team that raised $2,511.75 for the American Cancer Society. Add that amount to the donation from last year’s celebrity dinner and the total contributed to Relay for Life by Gulf Winds was $3,464.79. The fairgrounds were packed, confirming that nearly everyone has felt the impact of the destructive war on the body’s cell structure, either directly or through a friend or loved one. The number of survivors walking around the track was testimony major advances are being made in the science of fighting the many forms of this disease.

Maybe it was the Relay that motivated me to run on Old Centerville Road Saturday morning. It reminded me once again how lucky we have it when it comes to places to run. This is one of my favorite places to run and it was introduced to me by Kent Vann, a friend who lost his battle with cancer. I worried that this special place of running nirvana would ruined when plans were announced to pave the dirt road. As it turned out though, only the first two miles were paved and even that was done in a way that preserved the special beauty of the area. It is about 6.2 miles of inner “strength building” “rolling” hills from Bradley’s Country Store to the Georgia state line. Pasture land, massive oaks, forested plantations all line the way. It is also home to the heartiest breed of deer fly in the world, often seed lifting runners off the ground and dropping their skeletons several miles away. There is plenty more miles of road if you want to run down Sunnyhill Road. There is more detail about this road and many more great places to run in the Local Running Trails section.

Speaking of fund raising numbers, the results of the Seminole Track Invitational are in and the answer is $7,875 raised in grant money. GWTC was a cosponsor of the track meet that saw over 800 high school athletes participate. Nine local high schools will each receive $730 for their track programs, the Capital City Christian Cruisers will receive $585, and GWTC will keep $730 for its youth running programs.

Rough water and the hottest weather of the year greeted 1500 triathletes in Panama City on Saturday for the Gulf Coast Half Ironman. Rob Roller led 29 finishers out of 33 starters from this area with a 23rd place finish in a time of 4:40:16. Jeff Bowan (4:53:53) and Tony Guillen (5:06:20) completed the top three local finishers. Mary Gorhman-Rowan was the top woman in 5:51:53 good enough for 86th overall. GWTC Tri-Athlete of the Year Lynn Powell (5:56:07) was next, followed by Alexis Newell (5:59:38). And of course no story would be complete without recognizing Karl Hempel’s first effort at the distance. The good doctor finished in 6:26:07.

Next weekend is a full one with Humanatee 5K on Saturday and the Red Hills Kids Triathlon and GWTC social on Sunday morning. Nevertheless, please set aside sometime to join Moondance (Bill, Mimi and Howard) and lots of your good friends at “Cheers for Hilary” at our house at 3324 Charleston Road. The main goal is to raise a little money and goodwill for Hilary and her sister as the get ready for a kidney transplant. The event should be fun and the only contribution necessary is a smile.

So, have you ever run along side a railroad track while a train rushes by in the opposite direction? The rush of the wind and apprehension about flying objects can more than double the adrenaline rush you normally get from running.

If you have a bit of gossip from along the running trails you want to make doesn’t get missed, let me know by email at