It’s never too early or too late to start something new

By Christopher Cudworth

530There is much to love and hate about committees. They build consensus. But they take time. They bring new ideas to light. But they can bury initiative.

Still, as a necessary evil in this world, committees are the key to much that gets done, and at the highest level.

Which is why, when asked several years ago to serve on the large committee that would survey the community and recommend a plan for the new Batavia High School addition, it was a welcome opportunity to serve.


The committee attracted more than 70 community members who broke into groups to discuss the needs of the high school, its curriculum and extra-curricular activities. The committee was led by an associate whose son I had coached in soccer. The task of leading a committee effort that large was daunting, but Eric Camplin was up to the task.

We met every week for several months. One could feel both the energy and tension in the process of deciding what to recommend. Slowly a vision emerged. There would be a new theater, because the Cafetorium left everything to be desired in terms of performances in music, theater and school functions.

Early MorningBig Picture

There would be new classrooms and a new floor plan. And there would be a field house with an indoor track, additional practice courts and room for a thousand other activities.

The field house was prized by many in the community as a link to success in athletes. So many sports require indoor practice facilities, from baseball to football, track and field and cheerleading.

All that construction would cost money and take a good solid year to complete. But the $75M referendum went through and the committee rejoiced that the Batavia Facilities Commission had done its work and come up with a plan that served as the foundation for the recommendation made by the school board for approval by the community.

Home alone

But here’s a funny little fact about the work of that committee. When the final meeting was done, the report had to be written by someone. No one really stepped forward, but I failed to step backward and suddenly, there I was with a pile of notes and a weekend to complete the report.

When I got home I said out loud, “This can’t be how this happens.”

But it was. And it was a pleasure to condense all those findings down into 10-page document. Writing can be as pleasurable as doing a puzzle, and that’s how it felt.

Tom and FredRevelations

So you can imagine the pleasure it brought to rise at 5:15 this very morning and head over to that field house for the chance to use the indoor track. The behind-the-scenes work of chatting with my friend and head football and track coach Dennis Piron (his football team won the 2013 Illinois state championship) was done. So were the phone conversations and emails with Tom Spadafora, President of the Fox River Trail Runners, a highly successful running club that now directs major races in the area such as the Fox Valley Marathon and Half Marathon.

Those two guys know how to get things done, and my role in getting the early morning run program going was through.

Stepping up

The school took over from there, and an instructor named Ms. Ryersky volunteered to check in the runners each morning for the next two months. Her smiling face looked too cheery and fresh for such an early hour, but she informed us, “I got up at 3:45 this morning. Because I’m a girl.”

“What do you mean?” someone asked.

Ryersky“I had to put my makeup on,” she cheerily responded. The mostly middle-aged guys standing around shook our heads. How easy our lives really are…

Getting into it

It felt weird and good to be out on that track. The surface is a highly grippy, textural sort of surface. The air was cool and the 200 meter track is a perfectly balanced mix of curve and straight.

First person on the track was a 3:07 marathoner named Marlena. Her efficient stride is a wonder to behold. Also her calves would be the envy of any woman–or man for that matter–on this earth.

The rest of us popped into the outside lanes to warm up and see what our bodies would give us at that hour.

I felt good. Really good in fact. Yet I decided not to worry about how far I was going. Just do 30:00 and see how the calves responded to indoor running.

WeRunandRideLogoNature called at 22:00 so I broke for the bathrooms. When I emerged the duo of Tom Spadafora and Fred Spizzoli were clipping along in some sort of interval training. So I jumped in.

Running tempo in the company of others is one of the great joys of training. We moved at a good clip, estimated at 7:00 per mile pace or so. It’s hard at first to tell pace when you’re on an indoor track, running in the outside lanes, and moving along in the company of others.

It didn’t matter. We were running faster together than we might on our own. The laps clipped by. So did the minutes. Obviously this was a mile interval, I realized. My body felt smooth, and I wondered how I’d feel once this winter weight was gone. Again. Somehow I need to break that cycle. Gaining 5-8 pounds every winter is not a good plan. Perhaps this morning running was the start of a better me in winter.

Open lanes

Getting up early can be a bear. But it's worth it when you get there.

Getting up early can be a bear. But it’s worth it when you get there.

The option to run on Tuesday and Thursday mornings is open to everyone who wants to join the fun. That’s as it should be, and a reflection of the original committee that brought about that wonderful facility.

But it still strikes me as funny that something so grand can come down to someone with a keyboard, a pile of notes and a weekend to pump out the facts.

Much of the world works the same way, however. Just ask anyone who runs, or rides, or swims. Sometimes you just put one foot in front of the other and see what happens. It’s never too early or late to start something new.

If you’re in the area, the field house opens at 5:30 a.m to 6:30 a.m. Park in the lot at the far west of the Main Street entrance. Costs are $15 for all sessions through the end of March. 

We'd like to profile you or your group.

We’d like to profile you or your group.

Want to be profiled in We Run and Ride? We’re starting a weekly feature and would love to hear your story whether you’re here in North America or around the world! Write if you would like to share your running, riding or swimming history with our readers. 


About Christopher Cudworth

Christopher Cudworth is a content producer, writer and blogger with more than 25 years’ experience in B2B and B2C marketing, journalism, public relations and social media. Connect with Christopher on Twitter: @genesisfix07 and blogs at, and Online portfolio:
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