A race organized for more than 20 years by Human Kinetics is being renamed in honor of a late employee who was a strong advocate of running.
The Twin Cities Twosome will now be called the Human Kinetics Not Your Average Joe 5K/5-mile race in honor of Joe Seeley, who died of leukemia in October. Mr. Seeley was a usability analyst for websites at Human Kinetics, and he devoted considerable time to the Twin Cities Twosome, which has been organized by Human Kinetics since 1992 and raises money for local charities.
“That race has been very special to the Seeleys,” said Mr. Seeley’s wife, Jan, who helped found the race. “Our family has a long history with it.
“We’re very touched,” she said. “It’s a nice way to continue to honor Joe’s memory.”
Kim Scott, director of association management at Human Kinetics, and Ann Maloney, human resources director, are the co-directors of the race. They said they were looking for a way to honor Mr. Seeley’s life and commitment to running.
They and other members of the race committee considered a number of possibilities in renaming the race, and they ultimately decided Not Your Average Joe “encapsulated Joe’s uniqueness.” The name came from a headline on a News-Gazette story about Mr. Seeley published last fall.
Mr. Seeley was in charge of the finish line each year for the Twin Cities Twosome race. He trained the finish-line volunteers and was there to help them deal with any problems that arose during the race, Scott said.
Two years ago, she recalled, the timing device at the finish line ran out of tape as runners were finishing.
“It was a disaster,” Scott said. Mr. Seeley “figured out a solution for us and we had results.”
He also served as a consultant for the race, she said. Any time a change was proposed, she and Maloney ran it past Mr. Seeley for his input.
Mr. Seeley was also an integral part of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon, managing the event’s website, generating reports and responding to questions from participants.
Along with the new name, the format of the Twosome race will also change. It has been a two-person relay in which each would complete a 5K run or walk and results would be based on cumulative times. There was also an open 5K run and walk.
“As we were looking at results over the years, we realized we had very few twosomes participating,” Maloney said.
“It was a unique thing when we started it,” Scott said of the relay. But, “we knew the twosome part of it wasn’t doing well anymore. There was some misunderstanding of what the twosome was.”
Many participants wanted to run or walk alongside their friends, rather than as a relay, she said.
The relay is being dropped, and the race will offer 5K and 5-mile distances.
The race will be held May 11. Registration information will be available on a new website, www.notyouraveragejoerace.com, in March. It is not yet live.
The race will continue to benefit the Crisis Nursery, the TIMES Center and the Center for Women in Transition. All the race proceeds go to those organizations, and almost $125,000 has been donated in the 21-year history of the race.
Jan Seeley said having the race bear her husband’s name is also meaningful because it is run in Crystal Lake Park, where a sugar maple tree is planted in his memory.
The race also has a connection to University Laboratory High School, which Mr. Seeley’s sons attended. Uni High students run the race as part of their physical-education requirements, Scott said, and Human Kinetics and Uni plan to hold a joint blood drive in honor of Mr. Seeley every year around the time of the race.
Anyone wanting to volunteer at the race can contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Runners participate in the 2012 Twin Cities Twosome at Crystal Lake Park in Urbana. Photo by John Dixon/The News-Gazette.