On The Road To 2014


By BRUCE OAKLEY
White River Roadrunners President

Check out our archive for previous travels On the Road, and remember we invite you to share your own story, cause or advice with our members.

We're off to a running start of a new club year, with installation of new officers at our Dec. 17 monthly meeting and Christmas Party. I begin my administration with my better half, Suzy, as president-elect, Rebecca Patterson as treasurer, and Rita Cooke as secretary. After three years of helping with the ladies of the Women Run Arkansas clinic, I suppose it's only fitting that I am the odd man with an all-women Cabinet!

We celebrated at the party with a grand wrap-up of Dwayne Dickey's year at the helm. After introducing the new administration, Dwayne congratulated outstanding Roadrunners Tyler Bishop as Male Runner of the Year, Kristen Treadway as Female Runner of the Year, Shawn Patterson Sr. as Male Most Improved, Cindy Wade as Female Most Improved, Andy Buschmann as Volunteer of the Year, and Suzy Oakley as winner of the Spirit Award.

We thanked Ken McSpadden for his years as treasurer with a gift symbolizing his passions and his service: A souvenir piggy bank. It's a hog for his Arkansas ties, in a Kansas City Chiefs helmet for his NFL favorites, and a bank for his work handling our money. We also put a little something in it so he can take Michelle to dinner now that he won't be spending all that time counting our club holdings!

We thanked Dwayne for his leadership, too, with a running beanie that replaces a missing favorite. We hope it will protect that cool head that served us so well, and we "accessorized" to help in case of some small financial headache.

The third-floor walls of the Landers were hung with about two dozen T-shirts that spoke brightly of the strength of our club. I summed up the collection as a reminder of those strengths I hope to reinforce as president: 4-Mile Classic shirts from more than 10 years back told of the club's tradition and durability; a selection of Women Run Arkansas shirts showed our commitment to promoting fitness for all levels of ability; shirts from the Race 4 a Face against family violence, Bethany Project Melon Dash, Sprint for Seniors, Out of the Darkness suicide prevention walk, Literacy Project Kids Triathlon, Penguin Run for Special Olympics, March of Dimes 5K, Sara Low 5K, Christmas Half, and more highlighted our support of those in our community whose needs go far beyond fitness. May we continue to lend the strength of our legs and our spirit wherever needed.

I have some ideas to help us do that in 2014, beginning with coaching, now that four of us have been certified by RRCA. I would like to have presentations (by special guests when possible) at each meeting. I will present a 2014 preview at our Jan. 21 meeting, laying out my broader plans and seeking your input on clinics, commitments, the Challenge Series, state Grand Prix and more. Please send your thoughts for this preview and suggested topics and guests for meetings throughout the year. (Email Bruce Oakley)

I would like to hold running education events or clinics focused on children, on runners 50 and older, and on runners recovering from injury. We will begin in January with group runs or training plans prepping for the Women Run Arkansas clinic, for those wanting to improve their 5K, and for high school indoor track leading up to their school outdoor season. As the year goes on, I intend to hold club recruiting events, perhaps at colleges and high schools or in coordination with local gyms. We will have information available at all area and even Grand Prix races. If you have a group you would like us to reach, let me know and we will arrange a group run or presentation.

I am a runner, not an administrator nor much of a leader. At the heart of all of these ideas is what I can do: share the love of running. I hope several of you will travel with me a time or two as I run a full Grand Prix schedule and our club joins the friendly competition of our state running community. I hope the veterans among you will help me encourage new members and visitors as I volunteer at as many of our local races as possible.

Farther, faster, friendlier in 2014! Let's run for fun!