HTC Executive Board Meeting

28 April 2009

Board Members Present:  David Purinton (President), Ashley Cain (VP-Programs), Kathy Youngren (Treasurer), Anne Park (Secretary), Harold Tinsley (VP-Communications), Eric Charette (VP-Races & Equipment), Dink Taylor (Appointed Member—Co-Cotton Row Run Director), Suzanne Taylor (Appointed Member—Co-Rocket City Marathon Director), Craig Armstrong (Appointed Member – Past Board Member)


The Huntsville Track Club Annual Business meeting was held on April 28, 2009 in The Lodge at Southwood Presbyterian Church.  David opened the meeting at 7:05 p.m. and Suzanne was asked to give a report on Cotton Row Run preparations.  Suzanne reported that the numbers are up from last year at this time, especially with females in the 5k, and there has been an increased sign-up among elite athletes.  We will also be able to block out bandits if they cross the finish line as well as 10K runners in the 5K or 5K runners in the 10K.  Suzanne has met with the VBC and the hotel, and everything is going well.   


David mentioned that several runners at the Cookie Dash were wondering whether there was any interest in moving the Cotton Row Run to the Saturday preceding Memorial Day rather than on Memorial Day itself, as it is now.  This was briefly discussed and the Board felt that it would be interesting to conduct a survey to determine how well such a change would be received.  Several survey methods are being considered. 


David then gave the board an update regarding RRCA news mostly concerning insurance issues. 

  • If a car dealership provides a lead vehicle for a race, we will need to pay them an official “fee”. Otherwise we do not have RRCA insurance coverage if there is an injury involving the car.  It is suggested that the fee should be reasonably substantial, e.g. $50, and it should be noted as being “lead car rental”.
  • If anyone is injured during a race they need to be strongly encouraged to be taken to a hospital.  If they refuse, then we need to have them sign a “medical refusal” waiver.
  • Fifteen passenger vans are not covered by insurance.
  • If we have hired a company to erect scaffolding we need to be sure that we are insured by their insurance carrier.


This brought up the issue of runner safety and the need for runners to understand scoring procedures.  Runners that do not pin their bib numbers on the front of their clothes cause scoring and safety problems at the finish.  Headphone use during races was again agreed upon as something we must strongly discourage for the safety of all runners and due to such use being prohibited by our liability insurance.  Because insurance carriers differ on this issue, the acceptance of headphone use by some out-of-town races clouds this issue so that some local runners don’t take our ban seriously.  The Board attempted to determine the best way to inform runners of these and other race requirements since insertions in race packets are not read, and pre-race instructions are not heard.  No clear direction was agreed upon.  Another safety item brought up later at this meeting but that can be mentioned here was the possible need for age guidelines for younger children so that their bodies will not be subjected to undue stress that is not appropriate to their maturity and might be injurious both physically and emotionally.  In general, parents should be trusted to exercise due diligence; however guidelines might still be helpful, and Suzanne volunteered to research what other running groups and clubs are doing concerning this issue.


David reported that we are still working to update our HTC Web page and that our Facebook page is becoming popular and is an incentive for runners to join the Huntsville Track Club in order to participate.  The Board agreed that the web page and items found there need to be continually updated to maintain interest.  Providing access to race finish times by link to a year would also be very helpful.  We also recently experienced an errobeous posting on our web site in that personal information such as names and addresses from one of our races were accidentally posted.  David immediately erased this information and assured the person who reported this that it was not intentional and would not recur.


The next item of business was a replacement for Anne Park as Board Secretary due to her upcoming out-of-town move.  Before addressing a replacement David thanked Anne for many years of excellent work as Board secretary.  He and other board members noted that she would be greatly missed as a board member, regular race participant, and friend.   Names of two very qualified candidates were mentioned, and David will contact one possible candidate to determine availability/desire, and then balance that possibility against another very able volunteer, and the board will then determine who should finish out Anne’s term of office.  At the January 2010 Business Meeting we will then vote on a nominee to begin the new term with the rest of the Board elected at that time.


Regarding the need for race permits with the City for our races, Eric has been applying for permits for the following year for each race as soon as that race is over.  After some discussion it was decided that since all of our races continue to maintain the same route and the same position on the calendar each year, it would be beneficial to approve the HTC race calendar at least a year in advance so that as permits are submitted they apply to races on an approved calendar.  In other words, approve the 2011 calendar  at  the January 2010 business meeting.  Any minor changes could be dealt with later. 


The Board has been discussing via email the need for cases for our clocks for protection of our investment and greater ease of transport.  Through an internet search, David had found a very reasonably priced case with wheels, and Eric will measure the clocks and determine whether the cases would be a good fit.  David moved and Craig seconded the motion that if the dimensions of the case are favorable to the clocks we should purchase two cases.  The motion passed.  It was mentioned here that the new stanchions which were recently purchased through Eric’s efforts have been extremely well received as they are so much easier to transport and are considerably more wind-resistant. 


The next order of business was the recruiting of sponsors for our races.  The Board agreed that our Race Directors do an admirable job of recruiting sponsors; however, we try to avoid any sponsor of a product that we, for health or other reasons, would not want to encourage runners to purchase or that some of our members may take issue with.  We remain committed to being sensitive to this issue and to not advertise controversial products at our races or on our shirts.


David was recently approached with the question of whether the HTC would want to absorb another race into our race calendar, and this brought up the question of whether we in general want to increase the number of races we sponsor.  It was determined that we at present we are not interested in sponsoring any more races.  Another query David received was whether we would consider having corporate memberships along with our present individual and family membership categories.  The Board felt that rather than having corporate memberships, it would be much more profitable for corporations to sponsor a race and thereby realize a greater return for their money.


David suggested that we again schedule an informative Race Director’s Meeting to discuss issues, but to have it at the Monte Sano Lodge as more of a social occasion and appreciation dinner, with spouses also invited.  Ashley will contact the park as to a handful of dates either at this time or possibly in the fall.  Different weekdays and times were discussed, and depending on what is available we will decide on what would work best for everyone.  It was suggested that we could provide the directors with attractive polo shirts displaying the HTC logo, and Dink will look into what is available and to get some quotes.


On occasion some of the proceeds of our races have been donated to non-profit groups who have donated their services to our races such as the Huntsville Police Citizens Foundation, HEMSI, Huntsville Hospital Foundation, UAH Cross Country, etc.  Race directors often aren’t aware that donations have been made from other races and as a result we receive requests from directors to donate funds to worthy causes that have already been covered.  The Board discussed this issue in order to determine whether there is a more effective way to return some of the excess from our races to charities that benefit our races and membership.  Suzanne pointed out that it would be very beneficial to both a charitable organization and our races for the members of the charity to come as a group to volunteer at our races, thereby gaining recognition for their cause and enabling us to perhaps further their efforts in some way.


Finally, the Board was challenged by David to examine our outreach to the community and what we want our club to do differently or in addition to how we are functioning at present.  Suzanne and Dink have contributed much in the way of runner development and new runner training programs and runs.  Suzanne did mention that we could use a lot more involvement of our membership in the types of things that they have initiated, as it takes time and effort to establish running programs such as she has begun at Hampton Cove Elementary.  It was pointed out by Eric that there are many runners who are involved in personal efforts to advance the cause of running in our area and who have track or running groups that they work with.  We were all encouraged to consider what more we could do for our community in this respect.  The question was how to get these individuals to become HTC members.


As the meeting was adjourning, Suzanne distributed a letter from The National Children’s Advocacy Center regarding a relay event to coincide with the 2009 Rocket City Marathon.  Suzanne asked each board member to consider this request and come up with ideas as to whether this is something we should pursue.


Since there was no further business, David adjourned the meeting 9:30 p.m.