Route 16 Run and Walk Shoe Store
6745 Kimball Drive, Gig Harbor
The 2020 Kent Bowl Grand Prix Series Award Party
by Betty Dietrich With Photos by Bruce Fisher
5/11/19 Silver Striders celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Grand Prix Series on Saturday, January 11th. Wow! 10 years!
The first Grand Prix Series only had 11 finishers. There were 15 races. This year’s Grand Prix Series had 47 finishers and 29 races. There were 8 men and 3 women the first year. This year there were 25 men and 22 women.
Being a Grand Prix Series finisher is quite an achievement. Only 87 runners in the State of Washington over the entire 10 years have successfully completed a Grand Prix Series.
The Series grew and developed a loyal following each year. Some of the Grand Prix finishers competed in many Series over the years. Some were able to complete just one. Six did all 10 Series.
So it was with great excitement that Jerry Dietrich, founder of the Silver Strider, welcomed all Grand Prix Series finishers, past and present, to the 10th anniversary awards presentation. The banquet room of the Old Spaghetti Factory was filled to capacity. The Old Spaghetti Factory has been the home of the awards party every year. Everyone looks forward to the good food and excellent service they provide.
The atmosphere was festive and charged with anticipation. A large banquet table displayed the impressive 2020 silver victory trophies, as well as the special awards, gift certificates, free race entries and prize drawings that would be presented during the program.
The room was beautifully decorated with silver centerpieces created by Nancy Larsen. A running themed gift basket, created by Diane Martin, was on display. Who would win this fantastic prize? A jar filled with pins from race bibs the Huskos collected over the years was also on display. The person who came closest to guessing the number of pins would win a prize donated by Steve and Patty.
While lunch was being served, everyone enjoyed a photo slideshow of the Silver Strider races over the past year.
Following lunch, the awards program began with a slideshow of each of the past Grand Prix Series finishers. A moment of time to remember good friends from the past who were not present at the party. Our thanks to Allen Walker for putting together this touching tribute. (Click on Memory Lane to view)
Jerry then invited a special surprise guest to come forward. Ten years ago, George Gonzales was the first man to earn the title of “Mr. Grand Prix”. He ran the most races in the first Grand Prix Series. George went on to compete in 6 consecutive Grand Prix Series, finishing first in his age division twice. George flew from his home in New Mexico to be a part of this ceremony.
It was with great pleasure that Jerry presented George with a gift card and a 10th anniversary silver medal to commemorate the occasion. George, in turn, was asked to present a 10th anniversary medal to each past and present Grand Prix finisher.
Thanking Our Sponsors
Before the awards presentation began, Jerry thanked Dennis Zaborac, from KENT BOWL, title sponsor of the Grand Prix Series. Next to be thanked was the TOP IO title sponsor, SOUTH SOUND RUNNING who contributed shoe certificates to all of the age group winners. Recognition was given to feature sponsors, SHOES-N-FEET in Bellevue, SUPER JOCK N JILL in Green Lake and Redmond, and ROUTE 16 RUNNING in Gig Harbor, and WEST SEATTLE RUNNER. There were 2 new sponsors. RUNNING WAREHOUSE joined the sponsors this year. The 2nd new sponsor requested to remain anonymous.
The Silver Striders were then delighted to welcome Samantha Quiqle, representing sponsor FLEET FEET SPORTS. Sam would be presenting $50 gift certificates to the special achievement winners later in the program. Sam was introduced and received an enthusiastic round of applause.
Super Athlete Ring
Next, Individual recognition was given to Arne Hales who attained Super Athlete status last year by ranking in the TOP IO at all 4 distances – the 5k, 10k, Half Marathon, and Marathon. Arne was receiving his award at this time because he would be unable to attend the Super Athletes Awards party in February. He was congratulated on his excellent achievement and presented with a Super Athlete ring. This was Arne’s 4th Super Athlete ring!
The Century Club
Then, the official induction into the Century Club Hall Of Fame was held, recognizing the achievement of those who have finished 100 or more Grand Prix Series races. Bruce Fisher introduced each of the honorees as Judy Fisher, the first runner to be inducted into the Century Club, presented the awards. Those honored were Keith Lerew and Nick Bailey. Congratulations to Keith and Nick!
Grand Prix Series Awards
It was now time to present the Grand Prix Series Awards to this year’s finishers. Each age group winner received a pair of running shoes from South Sound Running. All of the other finishers received a $50 gift certificate from Shoes-n-Feet, Super Jock n Jill, West Seattle Runner, or a $50 gift card from Route 16 and the Running Warehouse.
In addition, every finisher present at the party also received a free race entry to an upcoming Grand Prix Series event.
We began with the youngest age groups first.
We took a break at this time to conduct the first set of prize drawings. Bruce Fisher, assisted by his daughter Heidi Schultz, awarded the prizes to the lucky winners. Everyone present was eligible to win a prize. Since there were over 20 prizes, 2 separate drawings were held.
A special raffle was held for the running themed gift basket. The lucky winner was Judy Fisher. Keith Lerew shrewdly guessed the number of pins in the Husko jar and won a $50 Amazon gift card.
Grand Prize Drawing
The final prize drawings were held at this time. The grand prize each year has been an overnight stay in a fireplace, jacuzzi suite at the Wesley Inn in Gig Harbor. The winner of the coveted Grand Prize drawing this year was Tiare Bailey.
It was now time for the Achievement awards.
This year we recognized the Silver Strider who ran the most miles in the Grand Prix Series. A special trophy was presented to the winner – Steve Husko. He ran 171.3 miles!
Judy Fisher ran every Grand Prix Series race this year. But so did Patty Husko. In a tie-breaker, the title of Ms. Grand Prix goes to the oldest runner. Because Patty was younger than her competition, she yielded the title. In recognition of her amazing effort, Patty received a $50 gift certificate from Fleet Feet. The honor of being Ms.Grand Prix this year went to Judy Fisher.
Steve Husko also ran every Grand Prix Series race this year and earned the title of Mr. Grand Prix. Steve reclaimed his title after losing last year in a tie breaker. Before that, he held the title for 3 straight years.
Samantha Quiqle presented a FLEET FEET SPORTS gift certificate to each of these incredible athletes who ran all 29 Grand Prix Series races during 2019.
Silver Strider of The Year
With all of the awards presented, there was only one award remaining. The highest honor – the Silver Strider of the Year.
Jerry pointed out that the recipient of this award is the one who most exemplifies the Silver Strider spirit and is an inspiration to others.
He said that the recipient of the award this year loves the Silver Striders. You can see it in her smiling face when she’s helping another strider, attending a breakfast, running in a race, posing in a group photo, or just listening to others with sincere interest.
She puts her whole self into the Silver Strider activities and, when asked to help, goes beyond what was asked.
No one is more dedicated. She gives her whole heart.
It was with great joy, that Jerry introduced the Silver Strider of the Year for 2020 –
When Karen came forward to receive her award, she received a standing ovation. Jerry thanked her for giving so much – from being Project Liaison, administering the race reports, supporting Molly in Victoria, traveling to Viet Nam to share the Silver Strider spirit and for the many often unnoticed acts of kindness she brings to all of us.
Allen Walker, last year’s Silver Strider of the Year, presented an elegant plaque and a gift card to Karen. Karen graciously thanked everyone for the honor and said the Silver Striders have been her family.
With that, the awards ceremony concluded.
A Parting Surprise
To their surprise and astonishment, Betty and Jerry were called forward to receive a special retirement gift from all of the Silver Striders. With gratitude and much love, Betty and Jerry expressed their appreciation to all of the Silver Striders and thanked them for filling the past 10 years with joy.