Pulled together opposite ends of the spectrum yesterday.

Reader One:  The first end grabbed me via email, I always enjoy and appreciate hearing from Mitch (we’ve never met).  He has a sound knowledge of our sport, both athletically and administratively.  We don’t always agree but I take what he says to heart.

Our communications started with him calling me to apologize to Logan Watley for being divisive in yesterday’s column.  I stated that Logan had “cracked the code” by getting Tom Nichols on the USA 8K Road Champs team this weekend.  Mitch included some familiar language as he chastised me for not being up on club champs rules.  For your inspection and approval:

“Pursuant to USATF Competition Rule 4.2, in Long Distance Running, Open and Masters Cross Country, and Open Track & Field Club competition, an athlete who is a non-resident member of an Association is eligible to compete for a team in that Association only if the athlete: a) resides in an adjoining Association within the government-defined Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of a city which is primarily in the neighboring Association as approved by the appropriate sport committee or council; or b) has historical membership based upon Association residency (at least 3 continuous USATF membership years) is eligible to compete for that club.”

It was suggested that I read the above rule.  I told him I wrote it, I’m not sure he believed me.   This is what we, as the USATF Club Council, deal with and do.  At every club championships.  Cross, Track, Road.  There is at least one instance of membership question every time.

My reply to Mitch was that my words were meant as an educative tool.  Were actually a pat on Logan’s back for doing the bare minimum of research necessary to find out what the rules are.

Reader Two:  Linda, Kyle Clouston and I hosted an athlete to chili and beer last night at the Bar None.  It was a two way NRGE interview, she delving into my style and philosophy (got an earful) me plumbing the depths of potential and mental strength (must have both).  She had stumbled across these pages and had been reading for a while before deciding to reach out, something I appreciate and applaud.  How courageous and determined. Reading my daily opines, knowing my reputation, and still willing to brave the heat of my personal brand of Tempered Excellence.

Somewhere along the evening these words sprang forth true and unbidden “NRGE is not a Socially Competitive club, we are a Competitive Social club”.  A subtle nuance really, we are all runners after all.  Competitive before Social.  Social after Competitive.   I’ll paraphrase Dr. George Sheehan, There are 3 kinds of runners.  1)  Health.  These runners are in it to lower or elevate or otherwise address or improve poor health.  Usually find running drudgery.  2) Hugs and Kisses.  These runners need the daily accolades afforded by a more social atmosphere.  Often thrive and enjoy the sport very much, motivated and inspired by mutual stroking from others of their ilk.   3)  Solo.  Have placed running at the top of their priority list.  Value and crave time away from the madding crowd.  Honest with self, own worst critic.  Only works well with others of similar constitution.

My old buddy Gary Dougherty understands this better than most.