Woodstock 5K notebook: Talley receives Skyler Brady Award; NPBC2 Run For God team champion
by Star staff
Aug 03, 2013 | 3058 views |  0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Eastaboga's Robyn Talley, who ran Saturday's 5K after a year-long battle with breast cancer and was the cause for the Robyn's Runners team in the 2012 Woodstock, received the Skyler Brady Heart of a Champion Award after Saturday's race.
Eastaboga's Robyn Talley, who ran Saturday's 5K after a year-long battle with breast cancer and was the cause for the Robyn's Runners team in the 2012 Woodstock, received the Skyler Brady Heart of a Champion Award after Saturday's race.
This year’s Woodstock 5K Skyler Brady Heart of a Champion Award went to Eastaboga’s Robyn Talley, who made her Woodstock return after a year-long battle with breast cancer.

The award presentation included a video filmed by Talley’s husband Hoby, who is serving in the U.S. Air National Guard in Kuwait.

“If you haven’t figured it out now, this award goes to my best friend, my running partner and my love,” he said in the video, which aired during Saturday's post-race awards ceremony.

Talley was the cause for the Robyn’s Runners team that participated in the 2012 Woodstock. The team was made up of Insurance Planners co-workers, friends and family.

Talley sat on a curb during the 2012 race, cheering on runners as they approached the finish line. Her run Saturday came less than a month after breast reconstruction surgery.

“I just want to let you know that, no matter what you’re going through, you keep Jesus first in your life, and he’ll get you through,” Talley said in her brief remarks. “He’ll help you keep on going, and always look to your best friends and your family for help along the way. Don’t try and do it alone.”

The Skyler Brady Award is named for a girl who suffered from Dandy Walker Syndrome but participated in Woodstock with the help of her grandmother. Both Brady and her grandmother passed away three years ago.

RUN FOR GOD WINS: NPBC2 Run For God was the winner of the team competition with more than 40 members and took home the $1,000 award.

It marked the second year a team affiliated with the Run For God program has won. The program was started by Mitchell Hollis, a builder and runner from Dalton, Ga., with several groups springing up.

RFG groups wear stickman T-shirts, hoping to draw attention and inspire people to ask their story.

The group that won the team award for this year’s Woodstock is based out of New Prospect Baptist Church No. 2, near Spring Garden. Melissa Brittain is the team captain.

The New Prospect-based RFG group will use its prize money to support its runs, Brittain said Saturday.

‘ALL’ MEANS MORE: The “We All Run” group celebrated its second year at Woodstock with 20 kids running, up from 14 a year ago.

W.A.R. founder and coach Joseph Jankoski took particular interest in two new runners, staying with them in the field as they completed their run.

“It’s things like this where Miya (13) and Kadeem Jenkins (16) --- you know, they’ve never run a 5K before; they couldn’t even run, really, three quarters of a mile without stopping --- and today they did a 5K in under 40 minutes,” Jankoski said. “It’s a start, and they came out, and they worked hard, and all the kids came out and worked hard throughout the summer.”

W.A.R. was established in June of 2012 as a joint outreach from the Anniston Runners Club and Calhoun County Community Development Corporation. It’s designed to help city students and West Anniston kids to live healthier, more active lives.

The group meets four days each week all summer to build up endurance, learn running safety and tips and get in shape for Woodstock. Of the 20 runners who participated Saturday, nine ran in the Kidstock mile fun run and 11 in Woodstock.

“I’m proud of them and really happy with the effort,” Jankoski said. “Then, we’ve got some great volunteers and parents, and stuff like this doesn’t happen without the support of parents. The parents brought the kids out here.

“I’m just really happy with the way the process went and the growth of the program and how they’ve been embraced by the Anniston Runners Club, by the community. I heard people cheering for them even though they, maybe, didn’t know them, cheering, ‘Go W.A.R.!’”

LOTS OF JACKETS: Former Oxford athletes seemed to be in abundance Saturday, two notable standouts being basketball star Justin Lawler and cross country and track and field speedster Jacob Schwyn.

Schwyn took the course in 18:20, which is what he was shooting for, while Lawler finished the race in 26:37.

“I haven’t been running lately,” Lawler said. “It was a little harder than I expected, but it was shorter than I thought.”

Lawler, who ran with his father’s running club, Walk Jog and Run, said he’s been working more on basketball than anything recently, after signing with Iowa Central Community College in the spring. He said he’s moving on Aug. 23.

“I’m looking forward to being in a different place,” he said. “I’m going off to college so I won’t be at home anymore. Plus I’m playing basketball.”

As for Schwyn, his focus has shifted to triathlons, into which he said a friend got him.

“I’ve been biking more than I have been running, but it’s still fun to come out here and run,” he said. “Today it was cooler than usual so that’s good. The hills suck, but overall it was fun.”

Schwyn said he will attend Auburn University in the fall and plans to major in mechanical engineering.

LOTS OF COACHES: Along with high school athletes from several schools being in attendance, a few coaches also attended the Woodstock 5K.

Munford football coach Will Wagnon said he was reminded he isn’t in as good of shape as he thought Saturday morning after finishing the race in the mid-20s. He added he’s usually a finisher around 23:00, but with football being busy over the summer, he wasn’t able to train.

“Right now July is a busy month for football coaches, and we know how August is, so this will be my last run until after football season,” Wagnon said. “It was nice to be out here. My wife loves to run, so she put us in this thing, and both of my kids ran. This is a great event, and we had a great time.”

Wagnon did participate in a personal competition, however, with his defensive coordinator, Eric Firestone.

“I had gotten ahead of him, and he had caught me at about the one-mile point,” Wagnon said. “We kind of pushed each other, but as the head coach, I couldn’t let my defensive coordinator beat me. I beat him by a pretty slim margin, but I did beat him.”

Jacksonville football coach Clint Smith also spent his last Saturday before football practice outside Anniston High School. Sporting a Jacksonville hat and pullover, he spent the morning cheering on his wife and son.

“My wife runs several times a week, trains and does a good job, so I just enjoy watching her do something she enjoys doing,” he said. “My little boy is also starting to get into it. To come and see them compete not only against other people but also against themselves and get themselves better is fun to watch.”

SMOTHERED AND COVERED UP: Maybe the most popular off-course attraction at this year’s Woodstock 5K had to be the hash browns offering at the Waffle House booth at the head of Vendors Alley.

Turns out, it was too much of a good thing.

Booth operators reported they had run out of the breakfast staple – offered free to the participants – for the first time in their nine-year association with the race.

“It caught us a little off guard,” Ed Reid said forlornly from behind the griddle.

Division manager David Cooley estimated they served more than 300 orders of hash browns to the masses Saturday. It might have been plenty in previous years, but this year’s volume caused him to rethink their formula.

“We did in two hours more than we do in my busiest (of nine) stores in a day,” Cooley said. “We had a little backup this year, but next year we’re going to bring another case, which will put us right around the six- or seven-hundred mark served.”

ALL FOR RUN: Third-place men’s finisher Fred Kosgei looked a little quizzical when he was asked after the race what type of work he did in Kennesaw, Ga., when he wasn’t running.

“Running is my work,” he said.

Therein lies the difference between the dominance runners in his native Kenya have in the world of running and the United States playing catch-up.

The U.S. offers professional contracts in football, baseball, basketball and the like, while running enthusiasts are left to train on their own. In Kenya, there are professional runners who train together.

The Americans would do well to follow that approach, said Kosgei’s coach, Ambrose Kimitei.

Kimitei’s Kennesaw, Ga.-based Kongasis Camp runners finished 2-3-4 in the men’s race.

“Everybody’s training in different locations,” he said. “In the United States, it’s like something happening in a box, like I’m doing this by myself. As an athlete, you need a group you can train with and, one day, come in like we not I.

“If you try to do it yourself, you cannot do it. The United States needs to do it as a team, do it as one group. Let’s all meet at this one place, let the best ones from an area come and train in one location and everybody bring something to the table.

“Somebody brings speed, somebody else strength, somebody else endurance and you all combine. When we go to the track, we use it all.”

SPREADING THE WEALTH: Race officials distributed $10,000 in contributions to three local charities after the race. They gave $4,000 each to United Cerebral Palsy and Special Olympics, and $2,000 to Anniston High School.

A total of 1,378 runners registered for Woodstock and the Kidstock mile fun run, and 1,241 participated.
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