Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2014--Transition Time

By Jim Ferstle
2013 was a memorable year for Minnesota running with several national championships earned and outstanding performances.   2014 is set to begin at Midnight, and it's a time of transition for Down the Backstretch.  Charlie Mahler, who founded this site along with Pete Miller and Chris Marshall  in 2007 has moved on to greener pastures.  As many of you already know he is still working within the running industry as Media and Communications Manager for Twin Cities in Motion.

For about a year I've been doing the editorial coverage for DtB, so the shift will be pretty seamless.  We all owe Charlie a debt of gratitude for his commitment to the Minnesota running community and his work bringing  DtB to this point.   Another person who will be missed is Doug Cowles, the fantasy contests director whose encyclopedic knowledge of the sport has been invaluable.  The problem for those competing in the fantasy contests is that he can now play the game instead of gather the information for it, and he will be a formidable opponent.

Thanks to DtB's two main sponsors--Adam Lindahl and TC Running Company and the Board of Directors of USATF Minnesota.  Their support has been the financial foundation that allowed the site to operate since 2007.  Lifetime Fitness, Twin Cities in Motion, Carrie Tollefson, The Thunder Bay Marathon, The Grandma's Marathon, the Minnesota Mile, Hopkins Raspberry Run, Autism 5K, City of Lakes 25K, Victory Races, Randy's Run, Brian Kraft 5K, Sisu 200, MDRA, Flotrack and any of the past advertisers I might have missed. Thanks for your support.

Gene Niemi has captured photos of many memorable events this year.  Kraig Lungstrom showed us the magic moments of the Wayazata girls' national championship run at NXN and other high school photos. Bill Miles, Tim Miles, and Kevin Moorhead gave us the high school lists.  Dave Emmans, Jamie Kirkpatrick, and Howie Cook provided the high school cross country rankings.  Kevin Holubar gave us reports on Maggie Ewens' exploits in the throws ring.

Despite the cold weather and the snow, things will not slow down in January.  On the 18th in Washington, DC, Richfield grad Steve Holman will be inducted into the Georgetown Athletic Hall of Fame.  More will happen on and off the track and the roads.  The Minnesotans who entertained and inspired you with their performances in 2013 will try for an encore.  Enjoy the show, and enjoy Down the Backstretch. Send your comments and suggestions to downthebackstretch@gmail.com and we'll do our best to keep you informed about what's happening.

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