It was such a surreal evening. Sitting trackside with fast company. 38 years had gone by quickly. Seems like just yesterday we were teammates not spectators. But time gives no special interest to 3 former high school tracksters. May 4, 2015, 5:00 PM and the start of the 59th Brookhart – Crew Relays begins as any other track meet. This one was different though. It was just yesterday the orange and black singlets and shorts were being worn by each of us as team members of the Fairfield High School Trojan Varsity Track and Field Team. And in retrospect what a privileged time to be training hard and competing.
For the first time in nearly 4 decades three former teammates gathered together at the Trojan Stadium to laugh, recall, and remember the fast times of the mid to late 70s. This particular decade was a fast one. Confirmation? 30% of the records for the Trojan Relays were set in 1975, 76, 77. Still standing. Wow. Sitting next to me were Wayne Shafer, DMR record holder, Doug Brown, DMR and 4 x 880 Record holder. All three of us still have our names etched in the school records.
This particular High School Relays is named after two very influential people to the sport of Iowa high school track and field. Gordon Brookhart was the Fairfield High School Principal and was also a Track and Field Official who frequently served as Starter. I remember him starting our relays and also the Iowa High School State Track and Field Meet held at Drake Relays Stadium. Lee Crew was an individual state champion who returned to his alma mater to coach. Both have since passed away. Each had a unique contribution to the sport. Each had an influence on my involvement and career in the greatest sport in the universe. I looked up to both in the high school track and field world. These two along with coach; Roger McHone (Boys Cross Country and Distance), Herb Justman (Track), and Ron Hunerdosse (Girls Cross Country and Distance – still coaching – pictured above).
Mix in some great coaching from Coach McHone and the fire is lit. As a runner, I have traveled to races in much of the Midwest and western US. As a former collegiate coach, I have taken teams across the Rocky Mountain and West Coast Regions coaching outstanding student athletes. Presently I am coaching a fine group of adult and masters runners. As a spectator, I have sat track side to witness the best of the best. As a runner I have packed my running shoes throughout my travels in the US and a couple of foreign countries. As a post collegiate runner and now masters (Grand!) runner I always enjoy toeing the line knowing the hard work is complete, the price has been paid, time to compete!
My older sister ran cross country in high school for Coach Crew. Her participation served as my introduction to this crazy sport. My first pair of shoes were a pair of Converse Chuck Taylor low cut canvas basketball shoes. $8 bucks. It was all I had. Probably all that we could afford. It was a big move up the day I could afford a pair of real of running shoes, a pair of Adidas Countrys. White leather uppers with the infamous 3 stripe pattern (green). Coach McHone welcomed me as part of the boys cross country team at Fairfield High School. Little did I know that this show of support would launch me forward as it has. A successful college career, a master’s degree with an emphasis in exercise science, a USATF Level II Coaching certification, Master Level USATF Certified Track and Field Official. Along the way privileged to train and race with outstanding people, Doug Brown, Jim and Mike Coburn, Gary Ringhiser, Paul Wieczorek, Jim Walker, Charlie Hays, Mark Morton, and so many others. Mix in thousands of miles running with two daughters who ran cross country and track and field in college and you have much to be grateful for.
What fun it is to share running whether training to race or for fitness! Thank you for getting me started Coach Roger McHone. Thanks for the encouragement along the way Coach Hunerdosse. What fun it was get a start as part of such a successful high school program. What fun it is to be part of this great sport. What a privilege to run for my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.