Tuesday, May 22, 2007

IJA festival joggling races

People often ask me if there are joggling world championships. The answer is no, there are no official world championships for the sport, but every year the International Jugglers' Association holds a series of joggling races. This year's event is in Winston-Salem on July 17. I would love to be there and compete in some of the track events, but my schedule is too busy.

Joggling pioneer Bill Giduz is the official joggling director for the event and here's what he has to say about the venue:

In my capacity as IJA joggling director this year, I traveled to Winston-Salem today for a first-hand inspection of the joggling track for the races, which will be held Tuesday morning, July 17. It's a very nice, and slightly quirky, facility. The track is a six-lane, black, rubberized surface that's just a year old. It's well maintained, and the starting points for all the races are clearly marked on the surface. The track is in Hanes Park, probably about a mile-and-a-half from the convention center. There are two fairly large pavilion areas to give shade, a mister where the runners can cool down, water fountain, and clean bathrooms.

The quirky part is that about half of the inside of the track is a tennis facility, with a clubhouse and eight or so courts. So at no point can you see the whole track, because it's obscured by the tall fences around the tennis courts. It won't be a problem for the 100, which is all on a straightaway, but the 200, 400, 800, 1600, and 5 k will all feature limited sight lines. For the 200, the officials at the finish line won't be able to see the start line, so we'll need a starter's pistol to signal the timers that the race has begun. I don't think that'll be a problem with the other races.

I'm happy, though, that it's a well-maintained, high-quality track, and located so close to our convention site. It's operated by the municipal parks and recreation department, and two of its officials, Tim Grant and Todd Barr, gave me the tour. They are very accommodating, and eager to do whatever's in their power to make sure we have a good event.

I'll be posting more about the races soon, but in the meantime please tell your friends to start training!

Also, I'll be looking for 8-10 volunteers to help with registration, judging, and timing. Give me a holler if you or your friends are interested in that, or if you have any questions about this summer's event.

Bill Giduz