Bobbi Jo Katchmar – Spirit of the Equinox 2019

The winner of the Spirit of the Equinox Award for 2019 is Bobbi Jo Katchmar. Following is the presentation by Tracey Martinson, one of the most devious and fun we’ve heard in a long time!

Once upon a time, there was a new runner. Not sure how he got started, or why, but he ran and got very excited about the running community. He ran every race he could find. For many years he ran and participated, laughed and inspired countless others with his persistence.

He made it a goal to run all the races in the Usibelli Series. Check. Got the shirt. He made it a goal to run the Equinox 50K Ultra. Boom!

Then sadly, injury struck, and he couldn’t run anymore, or even walk the races.

Now, a lot of people would have faded away from the scene, staying away from races that they were unable to participate in.

But this person didn’t quit on the community that he had grown to love and support. He kept showing up to help at races. He took on the directorship of some events.

People say that they can always count on this person to lend a hand in a pinch.

This person received the Running Club North Volunteer of the Year award in 2016 and has served on the RCN Board of Directors for several years now.

I don’t know this person super well so I went to see what dirt I could dig up.

I went to that bastion of knowledge, Wikipedia. Uh, no. Nothin’ there.

I went to that other fountain of information, Facebook.

Ok. A little better…Two things came up. One: Lots of picture of dogs. Her dogs. Other people’s dogs. Lost dogs. Found dogs. Dogs she wishes she could adopt. Two: Posts about her two favorite sports teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Pittsburgh Penguins.

So, by now you have figured it out…… Bobbi Jo Katchmar.

The day after the presentation, when teased about the deviousness of using “he” to refer to Bobbi Jo early in the presentation, Tracey responded, with this narrative of the evening. We include it here with Tracey’s permission as a fun footnote to the presentation!

Well of course! Gotta throw them off track right away. And it worked. She still thought it was a guy who happened to be a Steelers fan.

My other plan, which did not work out because he is out of town, was to announce that the winner was George Berry (thereby completely baffling the rest of the Spirit of the Equinox recipients who were present), and have George come up and announce that it was Bobbi Jo. George and Bobbi Jo sound a lot alike on paper.

The tricky part of the day came at about 5:15 p.m. when Monte Jordan called me in a panic and said Stacy was going to call me because Bobbi Jo, who was at that moment handing out finisher patches, had decided that she was going to go home at 6 p.m. and not stay to take tickets at the banquet. Chris Oliver pleaded with her and said that Stacy really needed someone, and finally Bobbi Jo relented and said “Ok, fine, I will stay, just because it’s you!” This all happened as I was on the phone with Stacy, so I told Stacy that I would come right over and hang out with Bobbi Jo to make sure she didn’t leave after everyone had come into the banquet. I figured she might be tired and cold after being out there. Out at the finish line, Bonni Brooks came over to Bobbi Jo and offered in a sweet, casual voice to save her a seat in the banquet and get her a couple of slices of pizza. Stacy later talked to John Estle, and he agreed to have the award presentation after the relay team announcements and before the individual awards.

After the finish line closed, Bobbi Jo and I went in to the ticket table and sat talking and taking tickets and generally ribbing everyone we knew who came in. While sitting there, a few people came in and thanked her for being at Black Sheep Road all day and being so inspirational to them at that point in the race. Sooner than it seemed possible, I heard Rachael call my name, so I excused myself from our conversation, and went up to give the spiel. Bob Vitale, under the pretense of forgetting his reading glasses on the ticket table (which he actually did, but didn’t realize it until he got back to the table and saw them there), went back to make sure Bobbi Jo didn’t go anywhere, and to kind of keep an eye on her as I talked. He said she kept guessing different guys as the winner, and he kept saying “Nope, they already received it.” (Maybe even if it wasn’t true, just to mess with her a bit.)

So that is what transpired from my viewpoint. Maybe others have a different view from being out in the audience.

Thanks, Tracey!