Friday, January 1, 1999
By BOB DALTON
Gayle Barron is truly one of the pioneers of American road racing. She was the winner of the first Peachtree in 1970 and went on to win five of the first six, earning her the endearing title of "The First Lady of Peachtree." She has also won three Atlanta Peach Bowl Marathons and the Boston Marathon in 1978 in a PR time of 2:44:38. She has run a total of 26 marathons as well as numerous other races. Her best 10K time is a stunning 35:20.
Not only recognized as the "First Lady" in running by Runner's World Magazine, she has been honored by the United States Jaycees as one of America's Top Ten Healthy American Fitness Leaders. She shares this leadership award with such luminaries as former President Ronald Reagan, Apollo Astronaut James Lovell, CBS Sportscaster Irv Cross and Strongman Jack LaLanne.
Her lifetime commitment to physical fitness has earned Gayle top honors, but her greatest honor is sharing her vast knowledge and enthusiasm with the masses. As a corporate spokesperson and motivational speaker, companies such as Evian Water of France, Converse Shoe Company, General Foods Crystal Light Drink Mix, Stouffer's Lean Cuisine, IBM, Bonne Bell Cosmetic Company and AT&T have all tapped into Gayle's infectious personality and winning attitude.
Using her Journalism degree from the University of Georgia, Gayle has been a talented host and commentator and has appeared on ABC's Good Morning America and on other major television stations across the country. Closer to home, Gayle has worked with WAGA-TV, formerly a CBS affiliate in Atlanta, as a feature reporter on Weekend Magazine and Atlanta 730 as well as Eyewitness News.
An expert resource on running and fitness, Gayle has been featured in Self, Runner's World Magazine, Ms Magazine, Glamour, Vie Magazine, Sport and Fitness Magazine and USA Today among other periodicals.
In a style all her own, Gayle shares her knowledge of running in her book, The Beauty of Running. Whether the reader's goal is to run a mile or a marathon, this book is considered a resource for every runner.
Gayle knows the value of being an active participant in her own community. Using her role as Georgia's Statewide Coach with the Leukemia Society of America's Team in Training program, Gayle has trained hundreds of novice runners and walkers to reach their goal of successfully completing a marathon. She has also served on the Boards of Directors for the Georgia Physical Fitness Council, the National Fitness Leaders of America, the Special Olympics, the American Foundation for the Blind and the Running and Fitness Association.
What Gayle prefers to do these days, however, is to continue to give back to the sport in which she achieved such excellence. Now retired from competitive racing, she has started a running program called Team Spirit, in which she passes on her enthusiasm and the lessons she has learned about running to members of her club. It is a marathon and half-marathon - training program designed for beginner and intermediate runners.
Her focus these days is on keeping company with many of the beginner's in her Team Spirit training program as they discover the highs of finishing Peachtree. Marking the completion of the first training session for her new program , Gayle accompanied the team to the first Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in San Diego this past June. More than 100 of her proteges completed their first marathon under her tutelage.
Gayle will be the guest speaker at the January 4th meeting of the Peachtree City Running Club. The meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Wyndham Executive Conference Center. Come hear this dynamic speaker discuss her running experiences and marathon-training program. If you are considering your first marathon or half marathon or would just like to ask Gayle any questions regarding her experiences as a former competitive marathon runner, this meeting is not to be missed. The public is welcome to attend.