Sunday, October 17, 2021

History of the Twin City Track Club


TCTC - The First 10 Years

By Sandy Walters - July 1987

In the beginning there were runners. Without banding together and assisting each other, there would be runners with no races to run in and no sense of belonging.

In the spring of 1977 there was a gathering of runners for the first Wake Forest ROTC Road Race. It was a modest start, for as the newspapers announced, "106 Started and 104 Finished." Yet this was enough encouragement to a small group of runners to organize the Twin City Track Club. At first, we weren't sure just what direction we would take, but our desires were to promote running/jogging as an enjoyable and healthful activity, and to try to make sure that there were races held locally in which we could participate.

I wish I could recall the names of the small group which met by the track at Wake Forest after an evening workout to form the TCTC. I know Kitty Consolo was there and I believe Rick Amigh and Perry Macheras were there also. I was there, but my participation in the organization phase was limited. I felt that one of the best ways I could support the club was to insure that we in the ROTC would continue to put on two road races a year.

That is how I remember the origination of the TCTC. It has grown and prospered over these 10 years. I feel that the current membership is carrying on with what we had hoped to do when we organized TCTC.

TCTC's Founding - A Different Version

By John Danforth - August 1987

Sorry, Sandy Walters, but I must set you straight on the details of the club's founding. I know your memory is not cloudy, but military men need to get their history straight.

Think it's been hot the last few weeks? Hardly hit 97. I remember a lovely evening for a summer track meet, an All-Comers meet at Forsyth Country Day staged by Carlos Cespedes, former West Forsyth dynamite track coach, and yours truly. I recall particularly the DJ gleefully announcing that it was exactly 100 degrees at 6 pm as I drove onto school grounds. I can see it now - under the blazing sun at least 25 crazy people (worse than the 48 masochistic Ultimate runners) actually showed up. Among the masses on that steamy evening was Fast Eddie Stenberg, Terry Startsman, Kitty Consolo, and a young lass by the name of Diane Swick who wanted to be timed for the mile. She had never run one before. Diane ran a 6:48 mile, if my memory serves me well. Interesting to think that Diane's brilliant career was spawned at an FCDS Summer Steamer meet.

TCTC? What's that? Well, to move right along, I recall Terry Startsman saying to me that night, "John, let's talk about starting a track club." I asked Kitty, Carlos, and Terry to come over to my house to discuss this club idea over a few beers. Folks, we're talking pre-Bill Walker days. On that evening we discussed the various implications of starting a club - incorporation (we needed a lawyer). Where was Bill when we really needed him? We didn't know what we were doing except for one thing - the idea of starting a club sounded good to us. If I could only remember whose law offices we visited in the coming months.

Hey Sandy Walters, can you help me? By the way, thank you for those early ROTC races! What would we have done without them? Probably just continued to jog through the gardens without our TCTC T-shirts. Whose idea was it to call ourselves TCTC? Anybody out there? Kitty? Carlos? Terry? Help!

TCTC - The First Year

By Terry Startsman - September 1987

John Danforth, your recollections are great. I had forgotten about the All-Comers meets at Forsyth Country Day. That's it. That was the genesis of TCTC.

It's been amazing to watch the growth and success of the Club over the years, especially when I harken back to the formative months and realize that all we started with was good intentions. As John pointed out, the Club was actually founded in his den in the Summer of 1977 by John, Kitty Consolo, Carlos Cespedes and me, with moral support from Dennis Dolny.

The small group planned and conducted the first Club event - The Twin City Fall Five Miler. The significant of the event was not that 71 runners participated, not that we were able to pull it off at all, but that it attracted two people to the club who were instrumental in it's eventual success - Phil Falkenberg and Jon Lewis. Incidentally, the race was won by Dennis Dolny (26:12), and Bill Walker was 3rd (26:45).

The Club as incorporated in the winter of 1977 by lawyer Mike Greeson, who performed the service as a personal favor. We reciprocated by making Mike an honorary member of the Club. This singular act stirred up such an emotion in Mike that he purchased a pair of Cugas and tried the sport. He's not forgiven me since.

There were two ominous decisions which were required after incorporation: election of officers, and a name for the newsletter. For the former, Carlos flinched first and became President, John was VP, Kitty was Secretary and I got to count the money, what there was of it. Jon Lewis and Phil Falkenberg were members-at-large or large members, I forget.

The newsletter decision requires a little elaboration - very little! No one will surely believe that we named it the TCTC Flyer because it sounded like the Tsetse Fly (Webster, "a small fly of Africa which can carry sleeping sickness"). What an august beginning!

A highlight of the early Flyer was the column written by Phil Falkenberg - Psych-Run - which featured a distinctive logo and contained such jewels as "the effects of running on personality" and "spouses' attitudes toward running." Phil was then a fledgling psychology professor, which was a legitimate excuse; however, my son had him for psych last year at Wake (yes, John, it has been that long!) and reports that Phil still dispenses this stuff.

The next club event was the Twin City Open Cross Country Championship at Hanes Park on Nov. 5. Despite a day-long monsoon, we had 86 participants in 12 different races. TCTC members Diane Swick, Phil Falkenberg, Cliff Mansfield and Bill Walker won races. This event made the Journal's headlines because the entire North Forsyth Cross Country team was "ineligibilized" by the NCHSAA for competing. In those days, if you participated on a high school team you could not compete outside high school (even on weekends) during the season. This incident and the TCTC were instrumental in getting the rule changed later that year. Small consolation to Scott Brent, coach at North Forsyth.

Next came the Twin City Holiday Classic (7 Miler) on December 11 held at Wake Forest. Records indicate that Coca Cola sponsored the event (a first for us) and we awarded turkeys as prizes (these turkeys did NOT run in the race). Eighty-nine runners finished. Terry Zieglar was the men's winner in 37:03, Kitty Consolo was the top woman in 46:41. Cliff Mansfield was tops in masters at 44:38.

The event that really put the club on the map, and in the money, was the Natural Light Classic, March 11, in 1978. Jon Lewis and Phil Falkenberg secured the backing of R. H. Berringer Distributing Co. and the participation of the Shea family (Mike, July, Mary, and Mark) of Raleigh. At that time Julie and Mary were budding world class runners and were big attractions. Over 500 runners participated in the 10K and half marathon, both of which started and finished at Hanes Park and wound through the Buena Vista neighborhood. David Shafer won the men's 10K in 21:23 (by 2 seconds) and Julie Shea won the women's 10K in 34:29 (by nine minutes!). Richard Shriver won the men's half in 69:02 (by 54 sec.) and Mary Shea won the woman's half in 79:27. Kitty Consolo was the second woman in the half at 90:44. TCTC members Donald Smith, Diane Swick, Anne Mansfield, and Matthew Spear won age group divisions. (Incidentally, Mike Shea placed second in the men's 40-49 bracket and Mark Shea won the men's 13-15 bracket by 13 minutes in the 10K).

We finished the year with the first TCTC picnic and fun run at Tanglewood and elected new officers, who were: Jon Lewis, Pres.; Kitty Consolo, VP; Cliff Mansfield, Secretary; Phil Falkenberg, Treasurer. Bill Brackley and Bill Walker served as members-at-large.

By this time you may be questioning the lucidity of my memory regarding these events of 10 years ago. However, I should point out that I edited the Tsetse Fly(er) for the first year and knowing all along the ultimate worth of these esteemed documents, retain 7 of the 11 issues. I've reviewed with you only a smidgen of the juicy tidbits contained in those tabloids - there are hundreds more gems! Hopefully for you, Bob will not again ask me to comment of the early history of TCTC.

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