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Volunteer All-Star Program
As a way of honoring those who give so much to Atlanta Track Club, we instituted the Atlanta Track Club All-Star Volunteer Program in 2005. An All-Star Volunteer is any individual who volunteers with us 10 or more times in a year. Each All-Star receives a special gift and recognition at the Grand Prix Finale & Volunteer Awards Breakfast at the end of the year. It is never too late to join the elite ranks. Simply sign up for our newsletter and start volunteering!
2018 All-Star Award Winners
In 2018, Atlanta Track Club has proudly named 223 All-Star award winners! Click below for a complete listing of All-Star award winners by year.
Volunteer of the Year Awards
Each year, we celebrate six amazing volunteers for going above and beyond the call of duty with their volunteer work both within our organization and in the greater community. Awards are presented at the Grand Prix Finale & Volunteer Awards Breakfast each December. For a historical look back at all of our Volunteers of the Year, click here: Volunteer of the Year History.
The recipients of the 2018 Volunteer Awards are:
2018 Clarence W. May Jr. Community Service Award: Nisa Sommers
Among the most prestigious awards for Atlanta Track Club is the Clarence W. May Jr. Community Service Award. Named in honor of a long time dedicated volunteer of the organization who passed away in 2000, this award recognizes a volunteer who not only makes significant contributions to Atlanta Track Club, but to the greater community around us.
Clarence was an avid runner and cyclist with memberships to Atlanta Track Club, the Chattahoochee Road Runners and the Southern Bicycle League. He loved communing with nature through these activities. For many years, Clarence led the effort to refurbish hundreds of bicycles for underprivileged children in the Atlanta area during the holidays so they could receive a bike for Christmas.
The recipient of the 2018 Clarence W. May Jr. Award for Community Service is Nisa Sommers.
Nisa has been volunteering with Atlanta Track Club for the past nine years. While she began her Atlanta Track Club volunteer work with our In-Training Programs, these days you can catch her at a Kilometer Kids run, or at one of our events – most likely in the back of a cone truck! She’s out there keeping our kids and participants safe.
Because service and community engagement is a priority in her life, Nisa likes to volunteer in different ways. When she began volunteering with Atlanta Track Club she came to us a veteran coach of running and other sports, and she specifically sought the positive coaching experience,and structure afforded by In-Training. In 2017 she decided to shake it up, and beginning with the Publix Georgia Marathon, she discovered there was another way that she could be a part of the energy of our organization. As Atlanta Track Club’s first female cone crew member, or “Conehead,” Nisa soon found that she had a love of coning and takes pride in creating a safe course for all while enjoying the camaraderie of the crew.
Nisa makes service and community engagement a priority in life, and Atlanta Track Club is not the only organization that Nisa devotes her time to. Nisa also offers her talents to her passions of accessibility, sustainability, encouragement and teaching with the following organizations.
- Atlanta Bicycle Coalition as an Advocacy Ace and Bike Education Aid
- Blaze Sports as a volunteer swimming coach and instructor
- Runningnerds organization, as a cone lead, course marshal and course manager
- Co-founder of East Intown 10K Tuesday encouraging the group for some weekday miles
- Strong Start Reading Program tutor at Tuskegee Airman Global Academy Elementary School
In the words of Nisa, “Service is very important to me – even through all the ups and downs of my life. I believe my individual responsibility is to serve. People will say how can you work and volunteer so often? I always answer them by saying you can do anything you want to once you decide what are the most important things in your life.” Her extensive volunteer background speaks to this, and also to her objective of involving herself in organizations throughout the city where she feels she can have an impact.
2018 Road Race Volunteer of the Year: Cindy Patton
Cindy began volunteering with Atlanta Track Club in 2017 and quickly became a staple supporting the Club at many events, office projects, and as a new crew chief. Cindy brings a bright and cheerful attitude to each event she works and always comes away with wonderful memories.
Cindy has volunteered with us at least 19 times this year, but that doesn’t count all the hours spent reaching out to her crews before races as a crew chief and spreading the word about Atlanta Track Club throughout town. Whenever she sees another person wearing an Atlanta Track Club shirt, whether a runner or volunteer, she makes sure to introduce herself. Cindy says that as she has become more involved with the Club, she feels more connected to her city and her community.
We are truly lucky to have Cindy as a part of the Atlanta Track Club community. Our staff has come to witness how helpful and willing she is to do conquer any task that we ask of her and she is a great leader. This year she has been a crew chief for the food boxes at the AJC Peachtree Road Race, a hydration station at the Publix Georgia Marathon and the Invesco QQQ Thanksgiving Day Half Marathon, and as a zone chief for the PNC Atlanta 10 Miler.
Here is one of Cindy’s favorite memories from earlier this past March: “One moment I will never forget is at the Publix Georgia Marathon this year. I was Crew Chief for Hydration Station #1 and bit stressed since it was the largest station to maintain as a rookie Crew Chief. I looked up the street and it was like the flood gates opened. There were people everywhere and it was never ending. As they passed by grabbing water out of my hands they were exclaiming, “Thank you for volunteering!” That one statement is simple yet powerful to all volunteers. Thank you for saying that to us, it really does mean a lot for volunteers to hear.”
Atlanta Track Club thanks Cindy for approaching every task so eagerly, for her humorous remarks as runners pass, for all the extra work that goes on behind the scenes, in the office and before each event. Thanks for being so proud to join us weekend after weekend.
2018 Track & Field Volunteer of the Year: Craig Sprinkle
The recipient of this year’s Track & Field Volunteer of the year is Craig Sprinkle. Craig has been volunteering with Atlanta Track Club beginning in 2016 at the AJC Peachtree Road Race and quickly became a regular around the Club. This year he has volunteered with the Club on numerous occasions as a crew chief for our bigger events, and on the cone crew at our smaller events. Craig says that he keeps coming back because he enjoys working with other volunteers and supporting the running community of Atlanta and north Georgia.
This summer at the All Comers Track & Field Meets, Craig did just that. He was a stand out during the shot put of the Grand Prix Series Presented by Piedmont Healthcare as he and the group of volunteers he was working with went above and beyond supporting our participants. Craig, along with his group of volunteers, endured an unrelenting rain storm and stayed until every participant had their chance to put the shot.
Earlier that day, when the assignments came out, Craig let me know that he was undergoing some medical treatments and was hoping to take it a little easy that day. That evening Craig was to help check in all of our participants and make sure that they were ready for their turn. Instead, however, Craig was chasing down shot and measuring, which can be quite physical. His dedication and willingness stood out on that miserable day, despite what he already had going on.
A participant on Facebook said, “The shot put volunteers were incredible. They endured with good humor despite the heavy rain in the late evening for the last few flights of participants.” He was certainly talking about Craig.
Christopher Reeves says “A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles.” Craig wore his invisible cape that day and for that, Atlanta Track Club is thankful.
2018 Youth Volunteer of the Year: Ken Almon
When Ken Almon decided to start a running club at Norcross Elementary so that kids could be active even when they were not in his PE class, he quickly grew that group into one of the biggest Kilometer Kids teams we had. When the district opened a brand new school a mile down the road, Ken became the PE teacher there and began another rapidly growing team that now regularly contends for the biggest participation prizes at Kilometer Kids events.
Many people might think leading a team of around 100 elementary school students several days each week is quite enough work. Ken, however, found a way to coach a soccer team and coach a middle school cross country team so that his students would have athletic opportunities after elementary school. And when he isn’t at practice, he finds ways to get uniforms and shoes donated and even transportation money to take those kids to meets. When Norcross High School found itself without a cross country coach this year, Ken helped find a great hire and decided to go ahead and start volunteering with that team as well. While the high school team didn't even make it to state last year, this year they finished 14th thanks in part to underclassmen girls who ran with Ken when they were younger. What is even more impressive is that those athletes come back to run alongside the younger kids at practices and help keep the elementary school kids organized at races.
Due to scheduling conflicts, Ken was not able to host Kilometer Kids at his normal after school time this fall. While that would put an end to most programs, Ken saw it as an opportunity and moved Kilometer Kids practices to the evenings so that entire families were out running instead of just the kids.
Ken makes a big deal to his students about being an ambassador to the school and an ambassador to the community. They know that they need to set a good example for others and they use fitness as the first steps to do it. Ken is clearly an ambassador himself. The first time his team won money from having the largest group at Peachtree Junior, he used those funds to start a free race each year for all neighboring middle and elementary school students with different distances and prizes for each grade. And, just to make sure his kids have opportunities if their parent’s move, he convinces other schools to start Kilometer Kids teams as well and persuades his assistant coaches to bring Kilometer Kids along whenever they begin teaching at a new school.
Ken doesn't wear the typical green volunteer vest at our events, but his work as a Kilometer Kids coach is still just as visible. It's inspiring to see how much he has already contributed to Running City USA and I'm excited to work alongside him as we continue to build a healthy and active community.
2018 Ambassador of the Year: Ashley Greenfield
The Ambassadors are tasked with promoting our events at Expos and they also go to outside events to spread awareness of our events and initiatives - ultimately trying to grow our membership and to join Running City USA.
They’re always active on social media in order to help us create more of a constant conversation both in person and online. Choosing an Ambassador of the Year was a very tough decision as there were many people that deserved this honor. However, there was one person in particular who went above and beyond.
Ashley was not only one of the first people to volunteer and sign up for our events, but she also used her own resources to help us speak to an audience that Atlanta Track Club had not spoken to before. Ashley also had a significant part of the year where she had some medical issues and could not physically walk or run, but she asked if there was anything she could still do to help. It has been an honor having Ashley as part of the Ambassador team, so much so that Atlanta Track Club would be lucky to have her as an ambassador again next year.
2018 Run Lead of the Year: Brad Blitz
Brad has been part of the Atlanta Track Club In-Training program since 2015. In that time he has been helping runners reach their goals again and again. There are countless stories of Brad's ongoing passion, commitment, and selflessness in helping others achieve their fitness, health and wellness, and running goals. He has progressed from a novice runner to a run lead, to a triathlete, to a pace lead, and more. He has developed many friendships and given lots of encouragement and support along the way. Brad was also a part of the team who ran the 2016 TCS New York City Marathon and raised more than $25,000.00 for Kilometer Kids. Continuing his support for Kilometer Kids, Brad was a member of Team Stripes at the Kilometer Kids Charity Chase.
Brad's passion and dedication to being a Run Lead continued at the 2018 Publix Georgia Marathon when he took on the challenge of leading the 4:00 Pace Team. The team's finish time... 03:59:21. Textbook, because of Brad. Following In-Training for Publix Georgia Marathon and the race, Brad went on to lead the 2018 In-Training for Peachtree John's Creek location.
Many describe watching elite runners running as poetry. Brad has an equally beautiful talent when it comes to pacing In-Training participants during training runs, and it’s a joy to watch. His skill, ability, and range reflect his focus and hard work. You’ll never find him without a participant, or two, or three, or more. And always willing to run extra miles.
Recently, many Atlanta Track Club members gathered to celebrate Brad and his wife before they depart Atlanta for their next adventure. During a toast by a fellow run lead, she asked the group of nearly 25 to raise their hand if Brad had ever given up his race goals to pace you. Every person raised a hand...everyone from the 6.5 hour marathoner to the 3.5 hour marathoner...the 45 minute 5K runner to the 21 minute 5K runner. Brad is the textbook definition of a Run Lead.