Happy Holidays…

            The PBP Running and Walking Club has just completed a successful year.  On behalf of the members, thank you for supporting all the local races and for sending your membership fees in.  The money we collect is strictly for the facilitation of healthy lifestyles through walking, running, and the occasional stretching classes that Becky Ryder puts on, which are always our most popular gatherings.

            By way of review, the HubFest race was extremely popular last October, and we were excited that the leadership of the Gulf Coast Running Club and Mississippi Track Club supported the Thanksgiving Day race.  More and more folks are using the Longleaf Trace, and more and more are getting together for group runs and walks on the weekends and during the week.

            The club posted a positive cash balance at its year-end meeting last Saturday at Lake Serene Grocery, and all the officers that served last year were re-elected for another year of service.  We all pledge to make ’03 an even better year as the club continues to grow.

            To illustrate the growth of the club, I should point out that we started less than three years ago with a few runners, and now we report and fraternize with walkers, triathletes, and ultramarathoners.  The growth of the club is steady, and none of it would have been possible without the leadership of Becky and Hollie Ryder, who along with Elmer Beardshall, have given the most in the way of time to the cause.  I wish I could name all the people who have encouraged us along the way, but I’m sure I’d leave someone out.  Suffice it to say, our out-of-towners have helped keep us going.

            Look for some exciting new things coming soon.  As an example, I am working on organizing an urban adventure race, open to all.  In case you haven’t read the latest edition of Runners’ World, which contains a report on one, it is part scavenger hunt, part road race, and part adventure.  Keep up with the website to learn more.

            Thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve as president of the club.  We have forged great friendships as a result of our involvement and encourage more of you to write us and let us know that you want to be involved.  Thanks to Dr. Ed Wheeler and Bob Clark, who among others are ready with the encouragement and help to keep us going.

            Finally, my Christmas would not be complete without letting out a hint about what it is that I want for a present.  In case anyone wants to buy me something for all my hours of dedicated service, please get me the one thing I want most; a pair of maroon running shorts, preferably with the initials JCJC on them.

            In the words of Eddie Valentine, “Merry New Yeeah…”.