Two years ago, we embarked on a long journey to bring respect and honor to the Pine Belt Pacers organization.  Through hard work and self-sacrifice, we instituted policies that have shaped the future of recreational running and walking in south Mississippi. But now, sadly, we must bid farewell.  After all our accomplishments, a newspaper editor has gained the necessary votes to gain the chairmanship from your president and has secretly carried out a coup that will result in a change in leadership next week for the Pacers. 

            But be not dismayed, for the same thing happened to other great figures in history, such as Winston Churchill, who after leading Britain through World War II was summarily dismissed to pasture by parliament.  I’ll bet he wasn’t told beforehand either.  But rather than dwell on the negative, i.e. an average runner from an elite New Orleans prep school with no foreign running club policy experience, we prefer to accentuate the positive.

            Looking back over the past two years, the Pine Belt Pacers is a larger, healthier organization.  We actually get along with the bicycling club and have attracted larger gatherings to our races.  The moderate wing of the organization emerged during our tenure to quell the uprisings, both liberal and conservative, that once beset the prosperity of our great club.  The organization’s domestic policies are sound and the percentage of p.r.’s is up, a clear indicator that the direction that the club was heading was right.  I leave my post in good conscience expecting a watch or plaque thanking me for my service to arrive at my meager office before I am forced to make room for the Kingfish.

            The new president’s campaign mantra, “Every man a runner”, sounds good, and has a catchy tune written by his new buddy, Keith “Brutus” Barrett.  But I must warn him, politics makes strange bedfellows, and he isn’t the first person whose coattails that Barrett latched onto.  He’ll leave you as soon as another runner moves to town that is slightly slower than him, or, when you beat him in a race, whichever comes first.

            I would like to thank my cabinet for their dedicated service.  One or two of them could have made more money in the private sector, but I doubt it.  I’d especially like to thank Tate Ryder, 3, who consistently supported my policies for his unwavering support of my administration. 

            And so I will run into the sunset with my little family, which appreciates the work that I do for them.  I will go quietly and continue to support the club from the ranks.  No need to pull a Yeltsin and have me placed under house arrest.  I will not fight no more forever. 

In retrospect, I should have learned from Mr. Gorbachev and instituted Glasnost sooner, but as my old Dad would say, “Hindsight is good stuff, son…”  So much for giving runners their freedom.


Adios, amigos.


El Jefe