New director Gregg tweaking Woodstock 5K
by Joe Medley
Jun 09, 2013 | 2578 views |  0 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
New race director Haley Gregg, right, participates in the first weekly Woodstock 5K training run Thursday evening. (Photo by Bill Wilson)
New race director Haley Gregg, right, participates in the first weekly Woodstock 5K training run Thursday evening. (Photo by Bill Wilson)
Haley Gregg breaks down her new role as Woodstock 5K race director into two parts.

“You try to do the things that people expect,” she said. “You try to get all of those done, and then you also try to create your own personal flare into it.”

A new Woodstock logo, an after-race concert and a green-thinking approach to race packets and water bottles show that Gregg has been busy.

Runners have also gotten busy on the recently recognized historic Woodstock course. The Anniston Runners Club’s weekly Woodstock training runs started Thursday night, and Saturday morning runs will pick up in July.

The 33rd annual Woodstock 5K is set for Aug. 3, as an expected 1,500 runners chase the Road Runners Club of America’s national championship for the 5K distance for the fourth time in five years.

Gregg inherited an event that previous race directors Dennis Dunn, Brooke Nelson and Nancy Grace built. Since 2006, the Woodstock has swelled from a local event with 79 runners to a nationally recognized race with more than 1,500 runners, with 40 percent of each registration fee going primarily to United Cerebral Palsy and Special Olympics.

“First off, I have to say that I’m honored to be the Woodstock race director,” Gregg said. “I love this event, and I think it’s awesome for this community. It’s awesome for the runners club, and I love the organizations that we give our donations to.”

Then again, she called the job a “learning process, and a challenging one at that.”

“It slowly became a second job,” said Gregg, whose first job is program development coordinator for the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a little overwhelming. It’s a big event to try to handle.”

The most visible of Gregg’s tweaks involves her work to deal with the copyright fears surrounding the Woodstock’s logo, the Charlie Brown cartoon bird by the same name.

Gregg got Jacksonville State University associate professor Jinsook Kim and Kim’s advanced art class involved. Four students heard Gregg’s presentation then toured the Woodstock course.

Each student came up with a design, heard feedback from Gregg and ARC officers then designed one logo that ties in the musical history associated with the Woodstock name. In a bow to the famous 1969 concert in Bethel, N.Y., the yellow bird wears a blue headband and walks ahead of red musical notes.

The new logo also ties in nicely with what Gregg called a “Woodstock revival concert,” where local bands will cover bands that participated in the Woodstock concert.

The JSU group that designed the new logo also designed this year’s shirts, bibs and water bottles.

“The shirts are kind of a secret, and I’m kind of excited about them,” Gregg said. “They are definitely different and unique from any other shirts we’ve had before.”

Gregg also eliminated race packets for runners, completing a green-friendly project she started with Dunn in 2012. When runners arrive in August, they’ll get a shirts and bibs but no packet stuffed with ads and forms for other races.

Gregg worked through North Carolina-based Virtual Race Bags.

“What they do is they tailor a Web site for your event that you can upload advertisements, coupons, and special offers,” she said. “They also provide four to five national offers, as a part of your contract with them, and the runners are emailed this bag a week before the event and then a day after the event, kind of as a thank you.

“If they see a coupon or offer that they like, they can click on that and print if off themselves. Or, if they have a smart phone, they can just pull it up on their smart phone and just take it to the business.”

Runners got packets and the virtual bag in 2012. Starting this year, they’ll get the virtual bag, along with shirts and bibs.

“I’m excited about that, because I think that’s pretty much going to be the future of every race, especially the bigger ones,” Gregg said. “I know Mercedes is going to it next year, which is huge.”

Gregg also helped to start commemorative runner water bottles a year ago and will have them again this year, through sponsorship by Wells Fargo Advisors. Runners will get the bottles at the finish line, and organizers will have refill stations throughout the race-day setup.

“Then they can take it home with them,” Gregg said. “It was pretty cool. I was in the gym the other day, and I saw a couple of people have their Woodstock water bottles.”

Sports Columnist Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter @jmedley_star.
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