Tuesday, May 17, 2011

2011 Godiva Banquet

Last Saturday was the annual Carolina Godiva Track Club (CGTC) awards banquet. Shannon and I would not want to miss it because it is a great party and a lot of our friends would be there.

But we had no idea what was in store for us this year.

Pictures here are from Bart Bechard and Shannon. More pictures here and here.

Dinner was a wonderful buffet of Greek food from Spartacus

When we got there, I helped set up a slide show of pictures that Shannon had taken during the year.

Blue Ridge Relay team, Continental Divide Trail Race team, Umstead Marathon, Umstead Coalition run, and 5 Winter series races from the past year. That's a whole lot of Godiva.

The best part is the hobnobbing, meeting new people and catching up with friends.
A few people said they liked my blog but found me very dull in person.

This year, Godiva hired a male model to help attract more female membership

The ever witty Kevin once again served as emcee

Summer Track Awards
For those not familiar with Godiva, they organize a weekly track "meet" at the UNC track in the summer. It goes for 13 weeks, and each meet has 5 events. The events are open to all, and they are timed. It is pretty laid back and informal as everyone records their own time on the honor system. There is no need to be a member and you are only asked to donate a $1 to the Gatorade fund.

Click here for details if you are interested in attending. First meet is tomorrow!

At the banquet, runners in each age group are recognized for winning the most events.
The "Iron Man" awards are awarded to runners who participate in 75% of all track events throughout the summer. Running all of the events is called a "full Kirby" and is considered more than a little nuts.

Charles hands out the always creative summer track "Iron Man" awards

Tom and Barbara take home one of the snake headed bottle opener awards
for performing the incredible "Full Kirby

Winter Series Shirts
Godiva puts on 7 races in during the winter, called the "winter series". These are full fledged races with bibs and timing, but only cost $5 each. Each race has its own creative spin like age & gender based handicapped head starts, team scoring, and running through cow manure.

In order to complete the series you must run in or volunteer for 5 of the 7 races. If you do this, then you earn the custom designed winter series t-shirt. This year they were once again designed by member Susan Slade.

Jim performs the annual "tossing of the t-shirts"

Runners of the Year Award
Each year Godiva names a male and female "Runner of the Year", which are announced at the banquet.

The previous two years when the winners were introduced, they first read off the impressive and extensive list of their accomplishments: 1st place in this marathon, 1st place in that ultra. Set course records. Won too many 5Ks to count. Ran a 2:40 in Boston, etc.

This year, Bubbles was brought up to do the announcement: "The 2010 male and female runners of the year are a couple. They run the unofficial Cary shelter for unwanted animals, have a blog..."

Shannon and I looked at each other, stunned. Oh, no. It's us.
I was so nervous that I don't remember a single thing I said.
Hopefully it wasn't just a stream of incoherent cursing
Shannon and I are far from the caliber of previous recipients. I am not a threat to win any races (though Shannon is), let alone set course records. I guess if the committee was going by sheer quantity of races, we may excel in that category.

While we are humbled and honored for this recognition, we are also embarrassed by the amount of things that Godiva has done for us. All we did was show up to races and run. If anything, we should be the ones giving an award to Godiva.

Just in the past year:
  • We got to be part of a Godiva sponsored Blue Ridge Relay team, where we had a fun and unforgettable experience.
  • We were honored to be part of the Godiva teams that placed at the National Trail 10K championships.
  • Ran in Umstead Marathon, Umstead Coalition run, and 5 winter series races. All organized and run by Godiva volunteers. 
For those readers who are not CGTC members, let me tell you that this club really is something special.

The current "running boom" taking place seems to be a commercially driven one. The running "community" is mostly people trying to sell you something: for-profit mega-marathons, companies pushing their running shoes, arm warmers, and energy gels, personal trainers, massage therapists, etc. Even some running clubs exist only as shoe store advertising.

In contrast, Godiva is just a group of people who love running. Not just for themselves, but they genuinely want to see others enjoy it and succeed at it. No profit motives. No ego trips.

Godiva is a collection of the most generous and friendly people I have ever met, and Shannon and I are just lucky to know them.

Volunteer of the Year Award
More important than Runners of the Year, is the Volunteer of the Year Award, because the club really only exists because of volunteers. For 2010, it was awarded to Bubbles (aka Mickey) for her really outstanding work as the newsletter editor, Lady Godiva columnist, Yvonne impersonator and haiku generating machine.

Bubbles accepts the 2010 Volunteer of the year award

Thanks to VP Halle Amick for organizing the event,
and of course, big thanks to Jim and Carolyn for hosting

Thank You, Godiva!

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