Episode 60 "Run Gasparilla's RD, Susan Harmeling" can be heard on most podcast apps, including Anchor, Spotify, Apple and Google!
Our guest Susan Harmeling has been at the helm of the Gasparilla Distance Classic for 30 years here in Tampa Bay, and guided it from a small local race to one of the largest events in this part of the country. Susan started at Run Gasparilla just after her first marathon, and literally had to "read the book" on race organizing, and has since accumulated wisdom and been the recipient of knowledge from some of the best! When she started, she was the only full time employee, with a few volunteer and part-time advisors. The Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic is close to our hearts as it truly highlights some of Tampa's best views and character, as part of the Gasparilla Festivities each year. Jose Gaspar is a fictional pirate, who is loosely based on the real-life buckaneers and other seafarers who sailed in this part of Florida centuries ago.
|Susan Harmeling at the Finish Line|
Like most running events across the globe, it has been sidelined by Covid-19 and was run virtually in 2019-2021. In addition, its community running and youth programs were put on pause as a result. All are excited to get going again, according to her. In this episode, Susan gives us some hope for the future and a look at things to come in 2022. In addition, she describes what it's like to put on a world-class expo and race-day logistics, harnessing the incredible power of volunteers, without which no modern race could realistically take place.
Run Gasparilla in the News, Pepperjack: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A5FrRavqSik
Susan also thanks the running community for their continued support, and reveals the new mascot's name (Pepperjack) as a result of a naming contest the past few months! Finally, she shares what a hobby runner with a passion for organization and the running community can do. We share some of this in this episode, and of course a dose of cheer to carry us into the new year... ready or not, here we come, 2022!