By David Yon
Southern heat has a way of slowing things down; throw in a blanket of humidity and we find ourselves crawling around our familiar trails in sweat drenched cloths at paces that make the Turtle seem like the champ and the Critter to feature at next weekend’s Dothan 5K Critter Run. But just because the mercury is climbing up the thermometer, that does not mean everything has stop or gone inside to the airconditioning.
Lee Willis found cooler running grounds in Cork, Ireland and blazed to a PR performance in the 1500 finishing in 3:47.72. He will need all of the new speed to stay ahead of Ryan Deak when Lee returns to teaching at Maclay. Speaking of that a good bit of the high school cross country talent has been working out at camp in Brevard, North Carolina. We hope to have a preseason team-by-team analysis for you by the beginning of August. We will do our best to give the scoop on the local talent, led by Kara Newell and Ryan.
The European racing season is in full swing with lots of top-notch meets. U.S runners are doing a good job of knocking off “A” qualifiers for the World Championships. Two of the three men’s 1500m runners got their times. Paul, “who needs ten toes,” McMullen joined Seneca Lassiter as a 1500m qualifier by running 3:35.30 at Heusden-Zolder. Andy Downin is still looking for his qualifier, while Gabe Jennings waits to go in the event he does not get it. Matt Lane ran 13:24.23 to beat the 5,000m time and make the team so long as Alan Culpepper runs only the 10,000m. There was bad news for distance running also, as world record holder, Khalid Khannouchi’s injuries look like they will probably keep him out of the marathon competition. The World Championships start on August 3, 2001. It will be one great track meet.
There are two events that have been slow to allow women to become full members of the club in track and field – the pole vault and steeplechase. Stacy Dragila has shown what a terrible mistake that was in the pole vault. The first women’s Olympic champion (Sydney was the first games that women were allowed to compete in) is an incredible ambassador for track and field and she continues to put on quite a show in Europe this summer after breaking the world record at least twice in the US. Fans line up to get her autograph and she patiently obliges them for hours. Her goal is to crack the 16-foot barrier before the rest of the world catches up with her. In addition to the world record, she has the top six jumps in the world this year. The steeplechase is creating its own new stars and records are falling faster than the raindrops in Tallahassee this summer. The steeple is behind the pole vault in respect, but it is finally being treated as a real event and hopefully will be added to the major championships competition soon. On July 9, 2001 Justyna Bak of Poland knocked almost 25 seconds off her world record lowering it from 9:44.36 to 9:25.31. On June 21, 1998 the record was 9:55.28, but given a chance to compete in a serious manner for the first time this year, the record is tumbling at a sensational rate. In the US, the American record has traded hands between Lisa Nye and Elizabeth Jackson. Jackson set the current American record on July 9th in the same race Bak set the world record. Her time of 9:43.36 is the third fastest in the world. Nye held the record during the month of June with her 9:49.41 effort that gave her the US Championship in Eugene. The bad news is the pinheads at the IAAF have told these women that they do not get to compete in Edmonton during the World Championships this year. Maybe Katherine Switzer would like to take on Lamine Diack, the IAAF President.
The GWTC board took a different turn at the last board meeting. The club has been extremely generous to local youth organizations and other community organizations over the past few years. While the money has been well spent for good causes, it becomes awkward and hard to plan a budget when folks just show up on a haphazard basis to ask for help. So, the Board asked the Chenoweth Committee to look at modifying the Chenoweth Endowment Fund’s guidelines to permit groups to receive awards from the Fund instead of approaching the board directly. This past Wednesday these new guidelines were presented to and approved by the board. The goal is not to reduce the amount of support, but to make it more structured and to separate fund raising efforts between money to give away and money to for the club to use to build a better organization. Members have been extremely generous over the past few years and we hope this won’t change. The club, either through its general budget or the Chenoweth Fund has given away tens of thousands of dollars to support deserving groups. But it is important that we not forget that the club must also be fiscally responsible. Folks like former president Ray Hanlon remember days when there was no money to pay bills. We hope this new approach will permit the club to have the best of both worlds – a sound fiscal base and the resources to continue to make a major impact on the community. You will find all of the information you need about the Chenoweth Fund by following the links in the index on the left. And if you have any thoughts about all this let us hear from you.
In the meantime, leave those squishing shoes outside till they dry!