Minutes of 12 Feb 2002 HTC Executive Board Meeting


Board Members Present:  David Purinton (President), David Cain (VP-Programs), Harold Tinsley (VP-Communications), Clare Purinton (Secretary), Jim Oaks (Appointed member – Cotton Row Director), and Malcolm Gillis (Appointed Member – Marathon Director).


Guests Present:  William Alvarez (Redstone Arsenal Race Director), Janet Duncan and Louise Tinsley.



  • David Purinton commenced the meeting at 6:40 PM.


  • Janet Duncan presented a proposal for a new HTC event to be held at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens in conjunction with the Galaxy of Lights in late November.  Via email with David and a meeting with the Garden she had a number of details well thought out and planned.  Some questions were brought forth by the board as to certification and race distance.  It was decided that a 5K event would have more appeal to runners than something shorter.  David took and action item to contact John Dehaye with course certification questions.  A vote was taken to approve this event and was unanimously passed.  Janet Duncan will serve as race director for this new event.


  • William Alvarez brought forth concerns about the 2002 Rocket Runs.  There are some valid safety issues with the new course beginning and finishing at Williams Elementary School.  A number of the roads for this new course would be in the county and all attempts so far to get information from the country on requirements and/or support have been unsuccessful.  Sergeant Jim Smith with the HPD told David that the HPD could only provide course control for streets within the city limits.  Because the roads in the county, although marked for low speed limits are often driven at speeds greatly in excess of the posted limit it was deemed too dangerous to hold the event given the lack of course control in the county.  David gave information on the 3D Duathalon’s experience of no support from the county for their event.  Given the late date and lack of time to promote the event it was decided that it would be best this year to cancel the Rocket Runs.  A course that is safe and controllable will be found for next year’s event and the Rocket Runs will return.  This decision was unanimous by the board.


  • David gave an update that all event permits for HTC races have been filed with the city.  Also, the pavilion and other required facilities within Monte Sano State Park have also been reserved.


  • It was decided that the club has sufficient funds to send the President to the RRCA National Convention in Norfolk, VA.  As David is able to attend he will represent the club at this years convention.


  • It was proposed that the HTC pay for Clare Purinton’s RRCA convention costs to attend the seminars.  Since she attends the convention with David but often attends different seminars in order to gather more information for the club it was decided that the club would help defray the convention seminar costs only.  The board passed this unanimously.


  • The HTC had received a question from Don Kardong as to what the HTC policy is on giving/selling its membership address and email lists.  It has been and continues to be club policy (in practice) that the membership and email lists are NOT sold to parties outside the club.  These lists are used solely by the club for the purpose of information dissemination.  The club will sell for a one-time use preprinted mailing labels.  These labels have only US postal addresses and no electronic mail information.  Also, sponsors are not given access to club email addresses.  Any organization to which labels are sold will be deemed relevant and appropriate to the club membership.  All board members present officially approved this policy.


  • A proposed change to the schedule of HTC general meetings was discussed.  Given the very low turnout at general meetings a proposal was made to move away from the current every other month schedule of meetings and move to a quarterly schedule.  An effort would be made to bring in a “big name” speaker to attract more members to meetings.  Cancellation of the HTC picnic was also discussed, again due to very low member turnout.  It was decided that for this year the HTC would stick with the current meeting schedule as printed in club publications and on the web site but that a change to a reduced meeting schedule would be examined later in the year.  It was decided to cancel the picnic indefinitely beginning with this year.  This was approved unanimously.


  • A suggestion had been made to David that the club look into possibly sharing the cost of a ChampionChip Timing System with another club on the Running Journal Grand Prix.  Although a cost savings would be realized, it was felt that such an arrangement could preclude us from using the system at other HTC events due to scheduling conflicts.  Other issues would be transport of the system between two sites, upkeep/storage of the equipment, and ownership issues.  It was felt that when the HTC decides to purchase a ChampionChip System that it would be better for us maintain complete ownership.


  • David informed the club that Triptych Design in Birmingham had contacted him.  This company was offering to design a turnkey web page for our races or our club web page.  The board members had been given notice before the meeting of this proposal and were given the opportunity to check out the Mercedes Marathon site done by Triptych.  It was remarked that the site did have nice graphics but that our site actually provides more information to runners.  It was remarked that our club web site provides more information to club members than many other club web sites.  A decision was made not to pursue this offer.


  • David asked the board their opinion on posting HTC Executive Board meeting dates on the web site.  David’s motivator was to open the meetings to any club member, something they have always been.  Although notices have been given in the past members have not typically attended board meetings.  It was thought that this was worth trying as long as members were required to give notice so that a proper location could be reserved to accommodate all wishing to attend as well as the board.


  • Jim Oaks suggested having a race directors meeting.  This was thought by all to be a good idea, both as a way of rewarding those members who keep our races running and as a way to disseminate and exchange information.  A date in March will be sought to hold this meeting.


  • Jim Oaks gave a detailed update on Cotton Row Run.  Everything is going to schedule and there have been no stumbling blocks so far, even given the changes taking place for this year’s event.


  • Jim presented a list of various computer costs he has paid out over the past few years obtaining equipment for the HTC.  It was felt that since this equipment was used for HTC events that Jim should receive reimbursement for the costs.  He took an action item to compile a list of equipment and costs and submit it to the Treasurer for reimbursement.


  • David gave the board some feedback he had received on the marathon.  This feedback was very good.  A suggestion was made to eliminate the painters cap and use the money to obtain Mylar blankets for runners at the end of the marathon in need to them.  A suggestion had also been made to obtain a better quality shirt, although the graphic design of this year’s shirt did elicit commendations.  Another suggestion was the elimination of prize money.


  • Malcolm Gillis proposed a new prize money structure for the marathon.  Malcolm wanted to find a structure that would promote/reward more American, and possibly Southeast runners to compete at Rocket City.  The proposed structure would also eliminate the double dipping of master’s runners, winning prize money in both the open and master’s categories.  In comparing the old structure with the proposed, it was seen that the old structure gave $10000 to non-citizen athletes and $12000 to citizens.  In comparison the proposed structure would give only $4000 to non-citizens and $16000 to citizens.  It was thought that if more prize money is given to citizens that the marathon gets more of a return on the prize money.  A number of points were brought up on both sides of the issue as well as discontinuing prize money altogether.  A decision on this was postponed to a later date.


  • Jim brought up concerns about the Children’s Marathon held in conjunction with the Rocket City Marathon the past two years.  A number of difficulties with the program were discussed.  One was the time of year and unpredictability of the weather.  This can be a large factor in attendance at a children’s event.  Also, it is difficult to get the information out to all the schools early enough for the children to complete the 25 prerequisite miles.  Other concerns voiced are already crowded parking areas and the low day of race turn out of schools with high pre-raceday program participation.  It was decided that although this is a great program in theory, at Rocket City in practice it has a number of obstacles to overcome.  David suggested asking if the Huntsville Times would rather try and resurrect the Spring Fever Runs.  It was felt that this program would better serve the children, given the large turn out at Autumn Chase.  Jim took and action item to draft a letter to the Huntsville Times discussing just such a proposal.


  • Malcolm discussed changes in the marathon contract with the Hilton.  The Hilton wants to require a 2 night minimum stay for marathon participants.


  • The issues associated with having a wheelchair athlete at Rocket City were discussed.  This past year a request was made by an athlete to compete in a wheelchair.  Given the late date of his request his participation was discouraged, as it was too late to be able to take proper safety measures for both his and other athlete’s safety.  It was noted that the City of Huntsville has said that we must allow wheelchair athletes to compete or they will rescind their support of the race.  The issue of the tunnel at Whitesburg and the parking lot at Lily Flagg pool were major safety concerns.  Harold felt that the current course is just not safe for wheelchair participation.  This topic was to be further discussed at a later date.


  • Harold asked the board if it was in the best interest of the club to continue the marathon.  He asked this given the fact that each year the numbers of volunteers for the race drops.  This year some committees had less than what they consider the minimum number of volunteers required to perform their race task.  There are also a number of huge logistical issues with the race, including the traffic situation on Bailey Cove Road, Airport Road, and a number of other major road crossings.  The difficulty in finding race directors was also discussed.  The simple truth is that the club will not be able to continue to offer the programs and races it has in the past with out continued support from the membership.


  • All the attendees were polled for any further issues and none being found the meeting was adjourned at 10:10PM.