- The Washington Times - Sunday, December 28, 2008

A new year. A clean slate. A time to take stock of the best and worst of 2008, successes and shortcomings. Now put it behind you.

New goals. New challenges.

New Year’s is a time for partying, champagne, the ball dropping, New Year’s road races and time off from work for some of us. But it is also a time for resolutions, that fantasy list full of action plans for self-improvement that are abandoned as fast as pizza at a post-race brunch.

Leaders from our running community weighed in on what they would like to see in 2009.

From Alisa Harvey, masters runner extraordinaire:

“In 2009, I would like to see a public use competition-grade indoor track facility in Northern Virginia. And I would like to see President Obama establish a Cabinet-level Office of Exercise that promotes running for all Americans, from youth to seniors. A $1 tax reduction for every mile logged and documented would be an additional feature of the program.”

From Ryan Lamppa, Running USA media director, statistical genius and tireless promoter of American running:

“In 2009, I would like to see the sport - races, sponsors, organizations and individuals - ‘invest’ more in athlete development/training groups so that, four to six years from now, there are four to five Ryan Halls and Shalane Flanagans. More top-end U.S. runners will help raise the profile of the sport - races, more media attention, attract more sponsors and inspire other runners.”

From Phil Stewart, legendary event director of the Cherry Blossom Ten Mile and 2:19.58 marathoner, albeit 33 years ago:

“I would like to have the cap on the size of the Credit Union Cherry Blossom increased by the National Park Service so we have the opportunity to give more runners, locally and from around the world, the opportunity to run past the nation’s monuments at Washington’s most spectacular time of year.”

From John Cook, coach of 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Shalane Flanagan:

“Would be nice to see a functioning USA Track & Field organization which works for the athletes. We are ultimately judged by how many stand on the podium. While it is nice to have multi-variable programs - the professional athletes and huge marathons drive the sport and public, so why not separate the professional athletes from the joggers? - we need to find a way to fund them. And not just depend on shoe company money, which is dwindling.”

From George Banker, marathoner, race historian, journalist and go-to man at the Army Ten-Miler:

“May each person who laces up a pair of running/walking shoes have a set realistic goal as to why they are doing what they do. It could be for a personal best, to control the weight or to run for a dear friend. The bottom line [is] to have a purpose and to enjoy it.”

For me, 2009 starts with a six-mile race and a dunk in the frigid ocean to clear my head.

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