I’d heard the rumors going into last December’s USATF annual meeting .  We had given deep consideration and finally our blessing.  The program that launched my USATF administrative career was officially retired.  The Association Athlete Development Program (1995-2017) served American athletes for over 20 years.  Opportunities for top local and regional athletes to measure against the best.  My privilege (1996-2002) and Linda’s (2002-2017) to work with hundreds of up and coming athletes from all over the United States.

When I took over the program in 1996 it consisted of hand writing letters to the state USATF Association LDR Chairs.  Soliciting top performing athletes from their Association road championships.  Explaining the benefits of the program, including the elite level experience for those selected.  Dozens more during my first 10 years here.  Before Instagram and snapchat and facebook,  the infancy of email.  Bulky printers and  fax machines necessary for basic communication.  Hand address the envelopes, get them in the mail, follow up with a phone call.

The Freihofer’s Run For Women 5K would have up to 100 young ladies representing the entire U.S.  The program grew to include all 11 of our National Champs Road Races.  Became the entry point into our championships program for post collegiate talent across the country.

I’m pretty easy to find here at our 1998 USA Women’s 5K National Championships.   Each association was allowed to select two athletes for funding to Albany.  Mary Amen and Nancy Stanley of Nebraska in the picture above.  After two decades this program, so close to my and Linda’s hearts, has had its final run.   Bye bye baby!