Unlike his friends and neighbors, Tom Mayfield has embraced the recent cold snap. Rooted for it even.
But before you question his sanity, consider his volunteer position as one of the organizers for the Run The Reagan road race. A month from now, on Feb. 13, the annual race will be held in what Mayfield hopes are much warmer conditions than what we endured last week.
"My thing is: Bring it on," Mayfield said of January cold spells. "Because the likelihood we'll have two bitter cold months in a row is small."
Mayfield and others who work on the event have to hope for good weather, but everything else involved with staging the race takes much planning. And a lot of volunteers.
The number of runners for the race has steadily grown each year, reaching 3,200 in 2009. This year Mayfield is hoping for 4,500 participants and a large amount of volunteers is needed to support the event.
"Every year we think we can grow the race," Mayfield said of the race, which is in its fifth year after coming back from a hiatus. "And to do that we need volunteers. We have opportunities for volunteers for the family festival, to hand out water on the race course and to hand out fruit. We need all kinds of volunteers."
Last year 301 people volunteered their time for the race, which raises funds for the Gwinnett Community Clinic and for Young Life. Mayfield got involved because of his work with Young Life in the Grayson cluster, but once he started he got caught up in the event itself.
"This event is so unique," Mayfield said. "It's all about so many of the things that make Gwinnett great. It's just really a unique event for Gwinnett."
The event has categories for all types of runners, including a half marathon, a 10K race, a 5K race and a 1-mile fun run. For the serious runners, another nice addition is electronic timing.
Registration is under way on the Web site www.runthereagan.net, and volunteers can sign up on the site as well. Online registration goes all the way through Feb. 10 and race day registration will also be available.
For Mayfield, this next month will go by as fast as some of the runners at the head of the pack. But at least when race day gets here he can quit rooting for weather and start rooting for runners.
E-mail Todd Cline at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears on Wednesdays.