Minutes of 7 Mar 2002 HTC Executive Board Meeting


Board Members Present:  David Purinton (President), David Cain (VP-Programs), Harold Tinsley (VP-Communications), Richard Rodenhausen (VP-Races & Equipment), Clare Purinton (Secretary), John Roberts (Appointed Member) and Malcolm Gillis (Appointed Member – Marathon Director).


Guests Present:  Louise Tinsley.



  • David Purinton commenced the meeting at 6:42 PM.


  • David asked for any general comments or suggestions from board members before discussing agenda items.


  • David Cain suggested having one person in charge of coordinating sponsors for club races.  This person could have a database of sponsors and key names to facilitate race directors in acquiring funds and donations for track club events.


  • Harold Tinsley suggested that we consider making a donation to HEMSI for the volunteer support the organization has provided to our races over the years.  He also suggested that the club set up a fund in which to funnel some of the club’s race proceeds to seed the possibility of an executive directorship and/or club office in the future.


  • Clare Purinton recommend the HTC make a donation to the UAH Cross Country team to assist their program.  This would be in keeping with the HTC’s mission statement to support running at all levels in our community.  In return the team could provide volunteer support for some of our races.  David Cain, the UAH Cross Country coach, said this would be appreciated and that the majority of their program is supported through donations and fund raising efforts.  David Purinton said that he would confer with Kris Whorton, treasurer, to discuss what type of expenditure would be feasible.


  • David began discussion on meeting agenda items:


  • It was suggested by the Huntsville Police department that it would be more convenient for them if this year we could move the start of the Monte Sano 15K from 8:00 AM to 10:00 AM.  David said that he would talk with Randy McFarland, the race director, about the proposed time change.  Sgt. Jim Smith, of the HPD, had told David that there was going to be a meeting this week to discuss the event schedules and would be in contact with him at a later date to discuss this in greater detail.


  • Race director positions are still needed for both the Harry Williams Track Meet and the Half Marathon.


  • Discussion of Marathon issues begins with Malcolm Gillis announcing we will host the Southern region championships and that John “The Penguin” Bingham, a writer best known for his columns in “Runners World” will be our clinic note speaker.


  • David Purinton addressed Marathon safety issues such as placing cones along Bailey Cove to prevent traffic from driving in the right hand lane and notification of all public areas that the marathon crosses to prevent potential interference on race day.


  • Malcolm proposed a restructuring of the distribution of prize money with no double dipping allowed.  A discussion followed on the benefits of continuing to award prize money and what ramifications would ensue if prize money were to be eliminated altogether.  The new structure would shift some of the money from the first few places downward to lower finish places.  It was thought that this would result in a slower finishing time but that it might not effect the overall participation of the event.  The Rocket City marathon is now a runner’s marathon in that people come to our event for the quality of the race we put on, not for a big prize purse.  Unlike the early days of the event when our prize money structure was not too far from events like New York and Boston we had faster winning times.  The Rocket City Marathon just cannot compete with events such as these on a prize money basis.  Our event must rely on the quality of the event as perceived by the participants.  It was decided that Malcolm should convene a committee to further investigate this issue before a final decision was made.


  • Harold Tinsley suggested that we seriously consider whether the HTC should continue the Rocket City Marathon past this year’s commitment.  He stated that volunteers for this race have been on the decline and this year’s race did not have enough support at several key locations. Additionally, there are safety concerns due to traffic volume along the heavily traveled streets in the south end of town.  The difficulty in replacing race directors for HTC events would be a factor at some point in the future of the marathon.  Also, spectators and crowd support are minimal.  John Roberts, a long time marathon committee member, echoed Harold’s concerns by saying that the marathon is very short on committed volunteers and we need to be careful not to cut corners in directing a race of this size.  Safety of the runners must remain at the forefront of our race planning.  Additionally, the running community is significantly different now than when the Rocket City Marathon began.  In the early years of the marathon there were not a lot of marathons, especially in the Southeast.  Today there is a marathon almost every weekend.  Many of these events simply have much larger budgets than we do and some even rely on paid support. All of our club events have and remain strictly volunteer programs.  It was decided that these issues, including whether or not to continue the marathon, should be shared with the marathon committee members and their feedback should be used to aid in making a final decision.


  • Richard Rodenhausen suggested new incentives for volunteers, but it was mentioned that we need to be careful because city workers, such as the police who support our events, are not eligible for such rewards.  It was remarked that we are very fortunate to be assisted by the HPD who provide traffic control for all races free of charge and that clubs in most other cities have to pay for this service.


  • Discussion ended on Marathon issues


  • David Purinton made a motion to approve the minutes from last board meeting.  They were approved with a unanimous vote.


  • Clare Purinton made a motion to e-mail the minutes to the general membership to keep them up to date on the latest issues facing the club.  The motion was seconded by John Roberts and unanimously approved.


  • Meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM