Strange days indeed! After creating and then fighting a decade on behalf of Nebraska’s USATF LDR program, I find myself looking in and onto the banquet.
The ingredients that I insisted be present for the table are all there, starting with Competition and Recognizing those that are Best. Course Certification. More Real Runners, more Real Races. Minimum standards of road race management. Raising the expectations/demands of paying customers. By god it was a mighty tough sell, the personal costs would have dissuaded a lesser man. But then lesser man would not have had the vision and balls to fight the good fight necessary to get things where they are today.
Funny that a whole list of those that fought me tooth and nail are now such big supporters of the program. Those that swore they’d never give anything to an organization that I had anything to do with.
When I arrived in Daytona Beach for the USATF Annual meetings in 2012 I was pulled aside by outgoing LDR Chair Fred Finke. Said he had received a phone call the previous night from an individual in this association that was issuing a formal complaint that I, as a race director, was profiting financially from hosting Nebraska championships. And that they, and their’s, would never support such. Fred said to not worry about it, scenarios like this can and do play out when there are so many differing agendas in any given association. But what a tough row to hoe in Nebraska!
And now I look at the feast. And don’t need a single bite to feel sated. I sat the table where I no longer sit, hewed and carved the sucker out of raw wood too. And not only wrote the menu but did all the cooking. The fact that there are those that would now sup on and thereby sustain my efforts only warms me. Enjoy!
photo courtesy of Gary Dougherty. As I survey this photo of the start line of the Goatz 50K I realize that with the exception of Tim McGargill (#441) every athlete on the front and second line all either have or do run for me. Look a little deeper and I see a dozen and more that have been through my Wednesday Night program.
Outside looking in. No longer having to fight to get what I wanted, what this association needed. To jettison the tag of laughing stock on the national level, don’t doubt for a moment we wore it for a long time. It mattered to me and I was hell bent on changing it. Gave it my best effort.
Efforts now given over to those that proclaim to “know best”. That champion the “social” over “competitive” aspect of running. Blurred lines. We’ll see how this paradigm works. One thing that won’t change; I’ll be sitting on the front porch, on the outside looking in. Watching and mostly enjoying the fruits of my labor. Knowing there may have been other ways to get here but my map was True in a time when no other explorer had the courage, or knowledge to make the journey. And now we’re on the map of national respectablility. Worth every step of the adventure.
Laughing last, laughing best.