Bucs News · Words of Wood- Buc Runner David Waid

Buc Runner David Waid

                                                                                                                   By Wayne Wood
   In the illustrious history of the Hoover Buc Track Program, there have been numerous outstanding performers. One of those was David Waid. Here he reflects on his background in becoming a Buc Runner: “My dad (Big David Waid) coached me through park league football with the Hoover Raiders. I played running back and defensive end. We won 4 Jefferson County championships in a row. Our teams were made up of future Berry Bucs, Vestavia Rebels, Homewood Patriots and Shades Valley Mounties which was interesting because we became rivals in our high school years.”
   “I first became introduced to running while getting in shape for football season. I would run laps in our neighborhood, not knowing the impact it would have on my future. I enjoyed elementary school ‘Field Day’ and grade-school track meets. My earliest track success started at Gwin Elementary at meets on the old Berry High School track. I received the Presidential Physical Fitness Award in the 4th grade at Valley Elemenetary in Pelham.”
   “The first coach to influence me Coach Mary Birdwell at Simmons Junior High School (now Middle School). She is still an influence today in my resurrected running career. My early disciplines were long distance events and my track prowess at that time was still a ways off.”
   “Fellow teammate Blake Harris was my measuring stick for development. Chasing him on the roads and the track at Simmons is what motivated me to get better and laid the groundwork for my high school years.”
   “During the summer between 8th and 9th grade, I competed on the Mountain Brook Track Club Team. I ran the 880 and was on the 4×880 relay team. We won several Junior Olympic competitions-including the Southeastern Regionals. My teammates were my chief rivals during the regular school season.”
   “There were a lot of coaching influences during my high school years at Berry such as Devon Hind, Joe Jennings, Chuck Whitley and Bob Finley. My freshman year was a break-out year for me. I won several cross country meets then and placed second in the State Meet. I benefited by training with the varsity team that went on to win the state championship that year and some of the techniques taught by Coach Hind I still use today.”
   “I was chosen to participate in the AAU Junior Olympic Cross Country Championships, along with some of my MBTC teammates. It was a great experience to compete with some of the best in the nation.”
   “I won the first of my state championships during the indoor and outdoor track season. I was the Indoor & Outdoor 880-yard State Champion and out Mile State Champion.”
   “Chuck Whitley took over the track team and the effort & dedication he put into my training was very instrumental to my overall success. He was the varsity football linebacker coach as well as the Strength & Conditioning coach but he saw that I had some ability on the track. He researched and learned all he could about middle distance running. That training proved very beneficial to me. We would begin each season with a long run before practices began-just the two of us. A great memory.”
   “I was selected to participate on a USA team running in London, England my senior year. It was a great experience and a chance to meet athletes from all over their nation. I finished 3rd in the 5K road race.”
   “My senior year in 1985-1986, I won the indoor & outdoor 800 meter state championships. I had the second fastest indoor 800 meter time in the nation and was invited to participate in the TAC National Indoor Championships at Yale University. I am very honored and humbled to have two plaques commemorating my state championships hanging on the Wall of Fame at Hoover High School.”
   It must be noted here also that among David’s other accomplishments was being selected by his classmates as Mr. Berry High School. He was also a treasurer on the Student Council.
   “My parents were very influential in my track career, even to this day. Alabama’s indoor season back then only consisted of two meets-the Auburn Invitational and the State Meet. My dad, along with Coach Whitley, set up an extensive indoor season that included meets in Mississippi, Louisiana, Florida and Tennessee. This afforded me better exposure to college programs & recruiting.”
   “There were great memories traveling the Southeast with my dad. It was usually just the two of us but on occasion we had some teammates with us like Mike Vann and Reggie Phillips.”
   “The recruiting process was pretty cool with lots of phone calls & letters. I kept my visits to the Southeast only. Nebraska and the Naval Academy were intriguing possibilities but too far from home. I chose Georgia Tech over Georgia and Auburn.”
   “Joe Jennings was the Berry wide receiver coach and the track sprint coach. While I specialized in the 800 meters, with Coach Jennings’ help, I developed some sprint speed. I always enjoyed running the relays also and loved anchoring the 4×400 meter team. Its’ such a competitive event and so many times it comes down to the anchor leg. One of the requirements to run on his relay teams was to participate in the weekly ’50 second’ run as far as you can go around the track in 50 seconds..beat your previous mark or the whole team does ‘penalty 110’s.’  Funny how it always came down to Keith ‘Ensley’ Ensey and myself to make our marks. Coach Jennings told me recently that I wen 29 paces past the 440 mark and that remained the farthest anyone had gone!”
   “In college, I ran on a then school record setting 4×800 meter team as a freshman and was an All-ACC performer in the indoor 1000 meters that year. I also earned a Varsity letter that first season. It was also neat to be a training partner for Olympic Gold Medalist Antonio McKay and would be a pace setter for him in 400 meter events.”
   “Several years passed by and I soon resurrected my adult career in what we call the ‘Gray Beard Club.’ I was inspired by my sister, Dea Anne Williams, to run again. She did not participate in athletics past park league but ran the Mercedes Half Marathon in 2008. My goal was to run one with her. It took 10 years but I finally ran and completed my first Half Marathon in 2018 with her.”
   “My goal in running now is to run for God’s Glory, run to the best of my ability and hopefully inspire others. My motivation now is to stay fit and be around for many years to come for my family-notably my daughter, Catherine, who had special needs.”
   “After 30 years since my last race, I toed the line for the 2017 Vulcan Run and it was amazing how quickly the competitive juices came back, While I am not the same runner as I was in high school & college, I am just as competitive. I jokingly say I represent the Gray Beard Club on the roads and I have had some success in my rejuvenated career. I have an overall 5K win and consistently make the podium either in the Masters (40 plus) division, the Grandmaster (50 plus) division Age Group division. I was selected as an elite runner in a Half Marathon in Florida last fall in 2019 and was a seeded runner in the 50th Peachtree Run last July.”
   “Coach Birdwell has continued to encourage me in my running endeavors. She has coaxed me to get back on the track and compete in the 800 meters for the first time in 30 years. I competed in the USATF State & Regional Championships and won  my age group for both the state & southeast in 2:30. I also ran in the Hoover Alumni Invitational in the Open Devision-19 and up and finished third in 2:21.”
   “I will continue to run competitively as long as God allows me but even when I have lost more steps to the competition, I think I will always run for the love of it and the health benefits. In my younger days, I met and competed with so many great athletes-many of them I still stay in contact with and the same can be said now. Runners form a tight community.”
   “While I may not have ended up being a celebrated Olympian and by my own standards did not reach my full potential, I’ve had a great running career that has taken me to so many great places and introduced me to so many great people. I have no regrets.”
   “My mom, Suzzane, validated my career last year in a Facebook post after a race that read, ‘You still have a wonderful running stride. God has finally shown me why He planned your life the He did. He needed you to take care of His angel, Catherine, so running could wait til this time in your life.’ “
   “I came up with a running mantra-a phrase to use in the tough times. WGTL-We Got This Lord helps with those tough races, workouts or moments in a run.  It also applies to everyday life. I have enjoyed being asked about it as I use it in my Facebook posts about races, comments and daily postings of Bible verses of the day and birthday wishes. I get to share my story and I feel that WGTL has big things ahead.”
   “The biggest thing is realizing that our bodies are aging and we need to take care of them. I’ve had my share of pulled and torn muscles, strained tendons and general aches & pains. In my experience, I treat the symptoms and try and miss as few workouts or races as possible.”
   “As competitive as I am, I would push myself too hard and too far and would suffer an injury. I have learned to listen to my body and rest when needed and slow down when necessary. Weight training, sound stretching and hydration are key to long-term success.”
   “I am still striving to set more PRs in the 5K and 10K over the next couple of years and my ultimate goal is to run a full marathon and qualify for the Boston Marathon.”
   “Goals are important in anything you do. I hope to inspire others in their walk with Christ with WGTL and athletically or physically in knowing that no matter our age we can still be active and relevant.”
    Buc Runner David Waid is a classic example to inspire any athlete or young person.