A Conversation: Director, USATF Foundation & USATF Vice-Chair Jack Wickens

    

     A retired executive with United Heath Group, Jack Wickens has been involved with the USA Track & Field Foundation since 2005.  Then in December 2008 he was voted onto the USATF board of directors after sweeping bylaw changes directed by the USOC reduced the board’s size from 31 members to 15.  As director of USATFF, Wickens heads up the USA Distance Project which supports training centers across the country.  A Bucknell grad, Jack ran on the track and cross country teams for the Bisons.

T.R.  Where does the USA Distance Project need to go to maximize it’s potential?

 J.W.>   We’ve been a godsend for Team USA Minnesota, the Mammoth Track Club, Zap Fitness, and Indiana Elite.  We have 10 or 11 elite training groups which are eligible for support, and we are funding about six or seven this year.  But we will have a mid-year evaluation to decide whether to add one or two more programs.”

 T.R.   You list ten “eligible” training centers, but only fund six or seven.  Some clubs like the Hanson’s-Brooks Distance Project in Michigan told me they have never applied for support, while Brad Hudson’s group Marathon Performance doesn’t receive a nickel.  Yet by having their names listed on the Distance Project website there’s an inference that they are being supported. (more…)

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Arizona Promoter Joins $1 per Entry Pledge

     Steve Taggart of Tagg Running Events in Tucson, Arizona has become the third race director to pledge $1.00 per entry to help fund U.S. distance running training camps. He joins Steve Nearman and Dave Watt from the Washington D.C. area who made their intial pledges earlier this month.

     “Greg McMillan (Team USA Arizona) posted the story link (WOODROW WILSON BRIDGE HALF…) ,” explained Taggart. “I read it, and got goose bumps.  I immediately wanted to do it.  I told my wife about it, and she thought it was good idea, too.  I just think it’s a great thing that people can do.” (more…)

Thin Scrims of Sweat Soon Pearled

 
Thin scrims of sweat soon pearled,
Gleaming beads fleeing in terror
From prisons of flesh,
Engulfed in the flow of a coursing ambition
In the white-noised hush
They had become urgent,
Exotic, and wild
Slack-jawed slayers of all things 
  Shallow,
Menacing crusaders
To the doubting infidels
Amongst their indolent brethren. 
 
At full extension,
Their cravings became ravenous,
  Lurching, consuming,
Strung out to a vanishing,
  Throughout this mad universe of flight./
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Meseret Defar Aids Entoto Foundation

     The big beneficiaries of the on-going second running boom have been charities.  Nearly $1 billion was raised last year for a wide variety of causes through American road races alone.  I am proud to be part of a 501C3 charity called the Entoto Foundation (Entoto.org) which is dedicated to bringing medical care and treatment to Ethiopians for whom such care is otherwise unavailable.  (more…)

READY, SET, SWEAT?

     One study says coffee is good for you, another says it’s bad.  Sugar, same; salt, yes. In fact, you name it, and there are reports written by sage academics swearing to the validity of their conflicting findings. So what should we believe?  And how do we know?

In 1977 Time magazine put out a cover story headlined Ready, Set, Sweat! focusing on the booming fitness movement rolling through the country.  And off we dashed in our Suzanne Sommers thighs, coughing and wheezing, then aching and complaining, perhaps even throwing up – if we were doing it properly.  In other words, onset running was a lot like onset smoking, and we never made the connection.

Amazing, really, that anyone continued after day one.  But like smoking, if you just stuck with it  you might actually get hooked, because as with any endeavor which requires an investment of puking, running held out before it the potential of a payoff.  The potential, mind you, not the guarantee.  In that one sense, smoking has it over running, cause with smoking you got the guarantee. (more…)

RICH GET RICHER

     At this month’s Oscars, the extravagant goody bags that were once bestowed on the Red-Carpet brigade – containing schwag like jewelry, spa treatments, luxury trips, and the latest tech gear – were replaced by what were called “gifting suites”.  These scented, tented lounges were invitation-only opportunities for the Hollywood A-listers to graze at their leisure out of sight of the prying eyes of the media, public, and IRS. 

     Well, USATF has its own version of the rich get richer giveaway.  The April issue of Track & Field News explained in detail the three-level tier system from which the USATF distributes its financial aid, medical support, health insurance, competition grants, and other benefits to American track and field athletes. (more…)