Coach Ron Laird
Those of us who were walking were not alone. We were accompanied by the greatest race walker in American history, the only race walker who had been named to the Guinness Book of World Records for his race walking feats, he was Ron Laird. Ron would direct the route decisions. He had an exact schedule to keep. Every day there would be a school, a youth center or simply a group o concerned parents who would meet us, at times they would just be cheering along some lonely road. Ron kept order to the long daily walks.
Alas, all was not perfect. Ron had a loud speaker strategically place on top of his support van. As he trailed behind us race walkers, guarding us from the hazardous of traffic and perhaps unsupportive people, he would blare religious music, and sermons from the ever present speakers. This was painful, or perhaps simply interesting.Oh, and on Laird had been the most recent U.S Olympic Team race walking coach. Every night, over diet coke and fried chicken, he would dutifully critique my race walking form. For this I am forever grateful.