Race eager to continue momentum

We all like feedback. Whether it's a thank-you note, a job review or a letter to the editor, it's always nice to know where you stand.

Which is why Tom Mayfield and the rest of the volunteers with the Run the Reagan Road Race were thrilled by the e-mails they received after last year's event. Mayfield, who helped spur the return of the race last year after a three-year absence, solicited a large number of runners to send form letters to the County commissioners after last year's race.

Despite a chilly day, folks enjoyed the event and were happy to help in any way to retain it. But it was the 50 or so who later e-mailed unsolicited who confirmed to Mayfield the success of Run the Reagan's return.

"We had about 300 letters of support that were sent out," Mayfield said. "But we got a lot of

e-mails, too.

"Runners, their expectations are high for events like this."

That the race met those expectations means a lot to the volunteers who worked so hard to support the event. And it has helped raise interest in this year's race, scheduled for Feb. 17, which Mayfield hopes will eclipse last year's turnout when more than 1,500 runners braved the elements to transverse Ronald Reagan Parkway by foot.

You can learn more about the race (the Daily Post is a sponsor) by going to www.RunTheReagan.com. It starts at 8 a.m. and it's a four-in-one deal, appealing to people of all ages and skill levels by featuring a half marathon and 5K and 10K runs along with a one-mile fun run geared toward kids and families.

Those offerings plus a family area set up with food, games and the like were cited heavily in the e-mails Mayfield received.

So as this year's race day rapidly approaches, Mayfield said the volunteers' mission remains to make the participants excited even if there's "cold, rain or bad weather."

"We can't order the weather, but we try to think of everything to make this a runner's event and a family event," Mayfield said. "We want to get it where they'll want to come back every year, even if it's 30 degrees and windy."

Organizers certainly hope that's not the case. But, as Mayfield found out via the e-mails, the weather is less of a factor when the course is set up well, the races are put on in a first-class manner and there's plenty to do afterward.

Last year was all about the return of the race, the resurrection of an event the running community missed. This year is about building on that first one, and this time the feedback for Mayfield and the volunteers will come from the number of runners on the road.

Todd Cline can be reached via e-mail at todd.cline@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Tuesdays.

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