March 13, 2010

Doug Hawley: First turns into 23 St. Patty Day runs

With the 5-kilometer this area’s most popular road race distance, you rarely hear of a spotlight on  shorter runs.

However, there is an exception to the rule and it rolls around Thursday in the form of a traditional 2-mile race.

The event is known as the “Twenty-Third Running of the First (and maybe the only) Dalton St. Patrick’s Day Road Race.” The Carpet Capital Running Club-sponsored race starts and ends at First Presbyterian Church. It is scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

Woody Cornwell, a former CCRC president now living in Newberry, S.C. with his wife, Elaine, helped start this event.

“A group of club members had been going to Chattanooga to participate in a 2-mile race on St. Patty’s Day as a club function,” Cornwell said. “We found out about a week before the race in 1988 that the city had called off the race. Nothing left to do but have our race in Dalton. Since it was a spur of the moment thing, we decided to call it ‘The First (and maybe the only) Dalton St. Patrick’s Day Race’. So naturally the next year we called it the ‘Second Running of. . . .’We planned it in a week, and had about 30 runners.”

At one time, runners sipped some extra cheer. That aspect has changed.

“The race has become more of a family event,” Cornwell said. “The youth are welcome.”

Last year, there was a record turnout of 100 participants.

“If you are a member, where else can you get a T-shirt, a 2-mile run, great fellowship and pizza for $5?” said David Sanders, past CCRC president. “We’re expecting a larger turnout.”

Non-members also are encouraged to participate in the run which exits First Presbyterian onto Tibbs Road, goes north to Wood Valley Drive, takes a left turn through the residential area and back to the church.

• An out-of-town visitor said following CCRC’s recent banquet which attracted about 100 people, “There certainly was nobody obese there. They were all slim and trim.”

We had been discussing the obese epidemic that has struck so many youth in our country. They obviously need some form of physical activity.

• Many high-profile athletes are quick, but not that fast.

Dalton High’s Tre Beck, a Daily Citizen All-Area Team running back, shows tremendous quickness on the gridiron. His prowess last fall included a whopping 294-yard rushing performance against Rome, a came that clinched the Catamounts’ 50th consecutive winning season.

Beck, a junior, came out for track this spring for the first time, saying he wanted it to further enhance his football skills.

In the season’s first meet, the recent Northwest Whitfield Invitational, Beck won he 100- (11.01) and 200-meter dashes in 11.01 and 22.71 seconds, respectively.

For those people from another generation who grew up in the 100-yard era, his shorter dash computed to a 10.1 clocking (100 meters equals 110 yards). Folks, that is fast.

If track does help Beck to become a better football player, opponents hardly could be blamed for shaking in their boots. 

• Joining the Atlanta Track Club helps people get entered early in the famed Peachtree Race on July 4th. It does help to get online without too much assistance, which inevitably is required of me.

After March 19, the masses of 55,000 people will try to register for the world’s most famous 6.2-mile race. 

• Many people swear by the computer age. Then some people just swear when it falters.

Standing around for 30 extra minutes in 25-degree weather is not conducive to one’s health. This late start happened to participants in the recent Scenic City Half-Marathon at Chattanooga: a failure struck the chip system.

Hey, let’s bring back hand-held timing.

Doug Hawley, a competitive distance runner for more than 50 years, can be reached through

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