It’s easy to believe that elite runners are superhuman.

They glide along, looking like their joints are greased ball-bearings and appearing more like passengers on a locomotive than a human reliant upon mortal energy.

All seven of the children born to Joe and Susan Shay from Central Lake, Michigan were elite runners.  Ryan is the most famous.  He was a state champion four times in cross-country and seven on the track for Central Lake High.

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In 1971 the Spinnler family mantle was a gathering place for athletic awards.  Five of the seven children in the family were boys, and the four oldest were great athletes.  Their MVP and team championship trophies adorned the living room. 

Mike, the youngest, could only admire the tribute.

Bill Spinnler, the oldest brother, graduated from high school in 1958, the year Mike was born.  The two had spent little time together, but Mike idolized Bill.  He’d heard about the accomplished college runner who went on to become a naval officer.

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Run because it brings you joy


The written word reveals something to the writer.  So in the years that I’ve been writing, I’ve learned some things about myself.

Now I’m on a quest, wondering where my own words might eventually lead me.  Those of you who faithfully read my columns may be searching too, and we could all be looking for the same elusive thing.

I have to begin with some of my earliest memories, when I was a boy playing sports in my back yard.  Always the youngest and smallest, I needed to prove that I was capable of competing with the others.

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Chasing Todd


I didn’t run cross country as a freshman in high school.  I discovered running later that school year, and began this lifelong pursuit as a miler in outdoor track.

By the time I joined the cross-country team as a sophomore, I had already decided that distance running was a good fit for me. 

I won my first cross country race, though I’m still not sure how I did that.  Perhaps for the only time in my life, blind ignorance was a benefit, and I ran out to a big lead in the first mile.  By the finish, I had no more than a meter over the second place finisher.

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Never let them change your direction


Rockland Road in Westminster has always been a favorite running location of mine.  Just about a mile and a half long, it connects Uniontown Road with Roops Mill.

Uniontown Road has a tiny shoulder there, and the traffic tends to be busy at times, so turning onto Rockland gives an immediate feeling of escape.  The top section is paved with an old tar and chip surface, like most all of our back roads used to be.

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Making two realities one


When I was a freshman in high school, I wasn’t exactly comfortable in a crowd, particularly one that included older kids.  So, riding a school bus filled with a rowdy track team wasn’t my favorite thing to do.

Sitting in a parked bus was even worst, but that’s what we were doing in the parking lot next to Westminster High School.

On the bus were the elders of South Carroll Track and Field, the upper-class superstars.  My peers of the time will remember the names:  Aleshire, Woodward, Llera, among others. 

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Flying Feet Running

Note - For registration form, please see the link at the bottom of this page.

Program Summary – Flying Feet, coordinated by coach Dave Griffin, is a running program for runners of all paces and experience levels.  Griffin has over 40 years of running experience and over 15 years of experience coaching runners.  Flying Feet has two primary areas of focus:


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