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The Letters, Ramblings, and Rants under the Reign of Tony Mozingo

February 17, 2002

At the exposition the evening before the Mardi Gras marathon, Prince Chuck George, race director for the New Orleans Track Club paused reluctantly for a picture with club president Tony Mozingo.  The summit that was to take place later in the evening was aborted when George abruptly announced that he had duties to take care of and wouldn’t be available.

            “Tell Elmer I said, ‘Hi’”, was the only comment he made as he was whisked from the area by his handlers…

February 07, 2002
Please advise Prince George that I have not forgotten the welcome I received at Tad Gormley stadium when I reminded him on the eve of the 1999 MGM that it was indeed I who had written him a letter and called him complimenting him on his work as President. His only response to me was; "Oh, you're the lawyer. Man, it freaked me out when I got a letter and message from a lawyer in Mississippi. No offense, though, Huh?" As I have "laid in wait", as it were since then, further advise that I will be directing troops around the city this next weekend, bypassing the plains and swamps of Chalmette Plantation, past the Rodriguez Canal, (I doubt he knows where that is anyway), crossing near the slip at Algiers, and reentering the city from the west bank where I have reinforcements. No doubt we'll dine on pasta the evening before the battle and will look forward to word of a summit arranged by you, though you conveniently as usual start a fight and watch from higher, safer ground. Tell him that it would not be wise to again try an oblique move across my front like that late January day in 1814. The result will be even worse.
Yours truly,
President Tony "Ole' Hickory" Mozingo
P.S. I ain't never kilt no indians!

In a letter from their Executive Director, almost hidden by their gracious New Orleans charm and manners, the NOTC hints of retaliation for the dispersions cast on their club during a raucous visit to their recent Jackson Day race by several Pine Belt Pacers.  Tony Mozingo and his new sidekick, Antha Estridge, representing themselves as future high officials of the Pine Belt Pacers, reportedly stirred up old tensions (real and imagined) that had almost died down between the two clubs , and introduced several new ones, including territorial disputes, past Louisiana politics, problems with the pace car, etc. Showing a complete lack of the foreign relations skills required of a running club president, Tony even managed to personally insult the Southern Runner (a running store in New Orleans) President Mike, and the NOTC Executive director, Chuck George. The complete text of Mr. George's admirably restrained response is below.

Enjoyed reading the report on the Jackson Day Race in the pacers website.

Perhaps we can arrange a meeting with Tony Mozingo, etc... in regards to the territorial rights. (an International Summit)
I'm thinking that we (NOTC) will take all territory purchased by the 1803 Louisiana Purchase and we'll give you Mississippi and throw in Berkley, California for laughs.
Maybe franchising would be a good idea.
*Please forward to Tony, Antha, etc and when/if you all get down this way, please introduce yourself(s) to me, I'd like to meet you all.

Chuck George
Executive Director, NOTC
Intelligence Agency"

Becky Ryder, Mississippi's RRCA representative, has reportedly cut short a long planned vacation to Big Bend, and is racing to Houston TX, to see if she can head off a similar diplomatic disaster when Tony and his crew show up for the Houston Compaq marathon next weekend. 

Tony as you know is at this point the only official candidate for club president, although several troubled factions are reportedly organizing alternate slates. They are confident they can get the one vote they need to upset him (Tony has publicly promised that he will not serve unless the vote is unanimous).  As their spokesman said recently "We need to elect someone who is more serious about running.  All Tony cares about is getting more new members, plus getting everyone to have a good time with their running, improve their race times, and have fun going to races. What kind of goals are those for a running club?" 

Keith Barrett is reportedly increasing security for the election meeting and has promised that RRCA protocol for club elections (campaign, elect, inaugurate) will be strictly enforced in spite of Tony's request to change it to: junket, inaugurate, elect, campaign. He also stated that no matter who is elected club President, the title will not be changed to District Attorney. He has not yet heard from either Jimmy Carter or Jesse Jackson as to whether or not they will be able to come help oversee the balloting, but Katherine Harris was already committed.

Feb 07 2002
March 27 2002

President's Column

March 27, 2002

I am pleased to report that I will be writing a column periodically to update members and readers on club activities and members’ achievements.  I’ve decided to start the column since I have been unable to write a race report each week, and also because a hostile takeover bid by Nestor Raul Anzola was successful in stealing the privilege from me.

            Several runners from the area wound up in Mobile on the 22nd of March to take part in the silver anniversary of the Azalea Trail Run, one of the best and biggest 10K’s anywhere.  The weather was perfect for the race itself, and Becky did a great job of working at the Mississippi Track Club booth to sell our merchandise and recruit new members.  Other races in the area included the CANA 5K in Columbia and a wild, mountainous endurance run which was completed by Running Bear Beardshall and a few of his closest friends.  Former President Keith Barrett won the race in Columbia since I elected to go to Mobile, giving a few of the runners here a chance to win one.  As the defending two-time champion of the race, it was a tough call for me.  It is obvious that I made the right call since this year there happened to be several runners there, not just the race walkers that I outrun handily.  As for my performance, I was just about to make my move on the Kenyans at mile 4 when I heard that they had crossed the finish line.

            This is the perfect time of year to get back in shape.  I encourage all of you to subscribe to Runners’ World or some similar publication, or get on the internet and see what it has to offer to motivate you.  Springtime offers many 5K and 10K races, and everyone should remember that you don’t have to be a fast runner to enter them.  If you need help or advice on things like shoes, places to run or ride, or injuries, then email one of us for answers.  Chances are that one of us at least has had the same question before.

            One of the things that motivates me to run more is committing to an upcoming race.  I have found that if you go ahead and sign up for a run, then it isn’t hard at all to find time to train during the week.  It gives you something to shoot for, so to speak, and will get you out of the office or off the couch more than anything else.

            I would like to ask that you all help us in recruiting new members, and to give you an incentive, the club will suspend your dues for one year for every three new members you recruit.  Make sure that you tell whomever you bring in to let us know so we can give you credit.

            I ran into Chuck George, President of the New Orleans Track Club at the expo. in Mobile.  He is looking forward to having a bunch of us down for the Crescent City Classic this weekend.  Let someone know if you’re going so we can all get together.

            Please make plans to join some of the members at Lau-Tori’s Restaurant in Sumrall April 25 for a get-together.  We promise not to bore you, but to give you an opportunity to meet new friends and have some fun.  Details will be announced soon at this website.

Stay healthy and get involved.  We need you.

Tony Mozingo


May 2002

            Somewhere in the Caribbean- Greetings from your traveling leader, from whom executive orders come cheaper than shuffleboard lessons on a cruise ship.

            I’m writing while en route to the island of Cozumel for a long weekend, the demands of being President of the Pine Belt Pacers having taken their toll.  I’d like to say that I had a great reason for leaving on a moment’s notice yesterday, but since I don’t, I’ll suggest a few that I have thought of:

1.                    I needed to do some training in a sub-tropical climate to get acclimated for my big trip to Hawaii in October.

2.                    I am trying to be more like Becky and Hollie Ryder, who are always going on cool trips.

3.                    I’m on a continuing legal education seminar and working on a book.


I am very proud of several of the members who have achieved some outstanding goals in the last month.

            Richard Simms and Eddie Pierce completed their first marathon in Cincinnati at the Flying Pig Marathon.  Their goal was to break the five-hour mark, and they did.  It is a great feeling to train for and complete a marathon, and we are excited for them.

            Robin and Becky Ryder traveled to Boston for the Boston Marathon in April, Robin having qualified last year.  Those of you who are runners understand how difficult it must be to even qualify for this famous event, which is accomplished by running a marathon within the previous two years in less time than is the mark for your particular age group.  Congratulations to Robin and his family.  (It must have done him some good, because since returning, he’s won two 5K races while pushing Tate in a baby jogger).

            John Pendergrass recently traveled to Tennessee and competed in an event called Powerman Tennessee, which was the national championship race for duathloners.  While he fell just short of taking first overall, he did place high enough to be chosen as a U.S. team member, which makes him eligible for the world championships to be held in Austria in August.  The race was tough according to John, who said it was one of the hilliest courses he’s ever seen.

            Elmer and Ann Beardshall have been doing some traveling themselves, with Elmer doing another endurance/trail run of 50 kilometers in Arkansas recently.  Vicki Copeland and some of her buddies went to a bicycle race and festival in Lafayette, Louisiana last month, and Hugh Massengale is healthy and back running again.  Also, Antha Estridge is over her injury and the rest of the Laurel/Ellisville contingent are doing well in local races.

            As you probably know by now, I am going to need some help this summer as I train for the 2002 Hawaii Ironman competition in October.  I never thought that I’d have the opportunity to be a part of such an event, and I am excited about it.  I’ll be spending the next five months training most of the time that I’m not working, so I’d appreciate it if you’d email me from time-to-time and let me know about when you are running, riding, or swimming.  I intend to “go for it” and try to take first overall, since I heard that the prize money is $50,000.00 for the winners.  Unfortunately, when I told the folks at PowerBar and Gatorade that the other day, they declined to sponsor me.  Looks like Leatha’s Bar-B-Que, R.J. Reynolds, and the Pine Belt Pacers will be the only groups I endorse this year.

            Well, I need to get off this computer and head for the deck.  They’re about to start the shuffleboard lessons, and then after that, bingo, led by a Croatian emigrant nicknamed “Eddie”.  As for running, this morning I had to run 860 laps around the Lido deck because the water aerobics class was cancelled. The electronic steel drums synthesizer isn’t working.  (I think that what actually happened was that the only who knows how to operate it, a guy with dreadlocks who tries to look and talk like Bob Marley, probably overslept.  The reason I think so is that he’s actually from D’Iberville, the same guy who I played basketball against in high school).


May 2002
Dec 2002

December 2002            

Happy Holidays…

            The PBP Running and Walking Club has just completed a successful year.  On behalf of the members, thank you for supporting all the local races and for sending your membership fees in.  The money we collect is strictly for the facilitation of healthy lifestyles through walking, running, and the occasional stretching classes that Becky Ryder puts on, which are always our most popular gatherings.

            By way of review, the HubFest race was extremely popular last October, and we were excited that the leadership of the Gulf Coast Running Club and Mississippi Track Club supported the Thanksgiving Day race.  More and more folks are using the Longleaf Trace, and more and more are getting together for group runs and walks on the weekends and during the week.

            The club posted a positive cash balance at its year-end meeting last Saturday at Lake Serene Grocery, and all the officers that served last year were re-elected for another year of service.  We all pledge to make ’03 an even better year as the club continues to grow.

            To illustrate the growth of the club, I should point out that we started less than three years ago with a few runners, and now we report and fraternize with walkers, triathletes, and ultramarathoners.  The growth of the club is steady, and none of it would have been possible without the leadership of Becky and Hollie Ryder, who along with Elmer Beardshall, have given the most in the way of time to the cause.  I wish I could name all the people who have encouraged us along the way, but I’m sure I’d leave someone out.  Suffice it to say, our out-of-towners have helped keep us going.

            Look for some exciting new things coming soon.  As an example, I am working on organizing an urban adventure race, open to all.  In case you haven’t read the latest edition of Runners’ World, which contains a report on one, it is part scavenger hunt, part road race, and part adventure.  Keep up with the website to learn more.

            Thanks for giving me the opportunity to serve as president of the club.  We have forged great friendships as a result of our involvement and encourage more of you to write us and let us know that you want to be involved.  Thanks to Dr. Ed Wheeler and Bob Clark, who among others are ready with the encouragement and help to keep us going.

            Finally, my Christmas would not be complete without letting out a hint about what it is that I want for a present.  In case anyone wants to buy me something for all my hours of dedicated service, please get me the one thing I want most; a pair of maroon running shorts, preferably with the initials JCJC on them.

            In the words of Eddie Valentine, “Merry New Yeeah…”.

March 2003

            The days are getting longer and the first days of Spring are just around the corner, so if you haven’t gotten back out and started getting rid of those extra holiday pounds, now’s the time to do it.  This is a particularly good time of year especially on the Longleaf Trace to watch as in the next few months, the natural world around us seems to change.  Every day, there is a new look and feel to the Trace, and it won’t be long until the new segment is open, one that will connect USM to Jackson Road. 


            Spring is also time for the best races, including two of my favorites, the Azalea Trail 10K in Mobile and the Crescent City Classic 10K in New Orleans.  Many of us had a great time last weekend at the first annual Sacred Heart 5K in Hattiesburg, as well as some of the longer races in the area like the Mardi Gras Marathon, the Blue Angel Marathon and others.  I loved the course that Dave Beckett picked out for the Sacred Heart Run.  In my opinion it is the best 5K 
course in Hattiesburg.  It was a beautiful day and a great cause to run for. 


            The rumor mill is grinding again as the race season heats up.  Big buddies Mike “Rocket” Barnes and John “Missile” Pendergrass have been training a lot together.  In fact, they’ve been training together most every day.  Word has it that two-time Ironman Barnes is working with the Missile in the pool to help him with his swimming.  There is talk of a training program that the Missile purchased called Tonya Harding’s Training Tips for Triathletes, but he sent it back when he found out that she recommends boxing and ice skating for cross-training, and that cutting the swim course short was all he really could learn from the vixen. 


            “I’m a peaceful man”, Missile said to Rocket, “Since my days as a fighter pilot, I just don’t like violence…”.


            Meanwhile, the club continues to prosper.  I apologize for being A.W.O.L. for the past couple of months, but I have experienced a great spiritual conversion of late.  Suffice it to say, I am looking forward to being back in the thick of whatever controversy I can help assuage.  Internal strife among the members is rampant since my sabbatical, with infighting and jealousy raging.  I promise to do a better job of keeping the peace.


            Get ready to take part in some of this year’s racing.  Set a goal and meet it.  And remember like I do since turning forty, that the older the violin, the sweeter the music.

El Presidente

March 2003

Restaurant Review on La Cocina Mexicana,: NO “HOT CHEESE SAUCE” HERE


            A buddy of mine from Texas, a cowboy named Wheeler Coe, passed through Hattiesburg recently with a few of his top hands, bound for a cattle sale somewhere down in south Georgia.  And trying to be a good host, it was the right thing to do to try to satisfy their hankering for some bona fide Mexican food.  They’re not runners or bicyclists. (Heck, I would die if they ever saw me in running shorts).  So we set out to find some good Mexican food, not to do a ride on the Longleaf Trace.  In the process, I found a new place to carbo-load.   

            “Not the Tex-Mex variety,” my friends all agreed.  “We’d rather eat Chinese in Mississippi than Tex-Mex fajitas”.  Bored with Texas BarBQue and not convinced anyone outside the lone star state knows how to cook it, my friends were skeptical that I could outdo them.  I must admit, I was worried about it too, knowing that it was a tall order to satisfy the appetites of good friends who had treated me in the past to the best food and music that Texas has to offer.  So knowing that the order would be hard to fill, the group set out for what would by the end of the evening be called the “best place for Mexican east of the Red River.” 

            I’ll admit that I had forgotten about La Cocina Mexicana, or the Mexican Kitchen as the place has been known for twenty-five years.  Folks there don’t advertise much, and I don’t usually travel south on Highway 49 on a routine day.  But I scored big points with my starving friends and got the promise of a big steak the next time I’m near Houston for treating them to one of the finest meals I’ve ever had in Hattiesburg.

            Now I’m not sure if the building it’s in once served as host of a video store, but it seems like I remember as much.  It looks like it anyway, which is part of the appeal.  I do remember back in the old days, before hot cheese sauce was served with chips at the table in other places around town, that next to PayLess shoes was a little home-owned joint on Hardy Street by the same name.  Not having been there in years, I crossed my fingers and hoped as our party arrived that old Frank from Monterey was still there, and that he’d not sold out and compromised the quality of his fare.  I had a lot riding on it.

            The place is a jewel.  The smell of fresh corn tortillas roasting in the kitchen hit us as we found a table, (the opportunity of being seated by the hostess, Frank’s wife, is chancy), and the taste of the fresh guacamole was as good as anything an avocado garden could afford.  But unlike most great things in life, which are best appreciated after a little time passes, we all agreed that the food was some of the best we’d ever had.  And when the college boy at the table next to us asked Frank’s daughter if they had any “hot cheese sauce”, her reaction confirmed to me that we were in the right place.

“No cheese sauce here”, she replied testily.

Hearing that, Wheeler raised a toast to celebrate. 

The waiters, most of whom looked bored, were nevertheless prompt and courteous.  They ain’t from Mexico, but their only chore is to serve the food, not prepare it.  That was right up our party’s alley.

            The best bets are the small, medium, or large “plates”, which give the diner a sampling of several items.  The enchilada is perfectly done, the tacos actually are topped with fresh lettuce and tomato, and the tamale is surely hand-rolled in a corn husk.  We confirmed with Frank that prepping the fresh food is a daily chore, and left the restaurant hoping that no matter how bad the labor force gets, that old Frank will stay true to the quality that he now insists upon.

            “No hot cheese sauce here”, reminisced Wheeler’s wife Sandy as we rode back home in silence.  “What a profound statement about a place.”

            In a world of prefabricated, canned, microwaved food, a person can taste freshness, and even in some cases, smell it.  At La Cocina Mexicana, it’s all fresh.

            And thank goodness, they don’t have any hot cheese sauce either…

            I recommend the Mexican Kitchen as a great place to carbo-load before a big race.  The reason is that since I ate there, I haven’t been hungry since, and it's been two whole days.

La Cocina
Fleet Feet

Fleet Feet Sports

            Your President was in Jackson last week to do some legislative business and monitor Ann and Elmer Beardshall at the state capital as they worked a Longleaf Trace booth in connection with Lamar County Day.  I watched pensively while the tandem lobbied dizzy lawmakers as one-by-one, the statesmen happened to swerve by the makeshift booth which was covered with pictures of mostly Elmer and his closest friends on the Trace. 

            “Ever heard of the Longleaf Trace?” Elmer asked one of the fat cats with a cigar.

            “Hey man,” Elmer followed after not getting so much as an acknowledgement, “you look like you could use some exercise…”

            Needless to say, the fine committee that takes care of the Trace could have sent someone like Martha Rae or Vicki instead of Elmer, but the damage to south Mississippi’s reputation was mitigated by Ann throughout the day. 

            Later, I decided to visit the new running store in Jackson, Fleet Feet Sports, since you all know that I have very fleet feet.  I was immediately welcomed to this fine establishment by the owner, Jeff, who asked me the right questions about running.  As runners, we are wary of anyone trying to tell us anything about shoes; we think we know it all.  I was pleasantly surprised to find out that I don’t know near as much as the professionals at Fleet Feet, who brought out three choices of brands that I had not considered before.  I ended up changing for the first time in years to an Adidas model from the New Balances that I’ve been running in.  They have a better fit and I am very pleased with them.

            The service at Fleet Feet was great and the selection was wide.  The price was comparable to Road Runner Sports yet I was able to get personally fitted and advised.  For my money, I prefer to buy from Mississippians and will try to do so in the future.  If you need a new pair of shoes for running or walking, give Fleet Feet a try.

            Back at the Capital later in the day, I noticed Elmer hurriedly loading his minivan with his Longleaf Trace shirt on wrong side out.  Rumors were flying by then that he had bugged the governor’s office in an attempt to find out Mr. Musgrove’s intentions on running for another term, and that he had been listening in to conversations at the highest levels of state government.

            When asked by a reporter for confirmation of who had employed him to wire the office, Elmer replied,

            “I don’t  know Jerry Keywood but I do think that Amy would make a great first lady.  Heck, they already have a dog…”



After gaining five pounds in five days soaking up the sun in old Mexico, El Jefe of the Pine Belt Pacers, yours truly, decided that it would be advisable to take a long-overdue early-morning run while on my honeymoon vacation.  Donning nothing more than my Ironman necklace, a pair of shorts and my new two love handles, I ambled off down the cobblestone streets of Playa Del Carmen, situated along the beautiful Mayan Riviera.  It took about five minutes for the real adventure to begin.

            First off, as the new wife says when she begins explaining to me how I’ve messed something up again, I almost twisted my ankle off as I passed a Catholic church and saw who I thought was my long-lost friend from Laurel, Ray Martin, dressed in a priest’s outfit with a black cape.  Turns out, it was a life-sized wax figure of the great Father Guido Sarducci of Saturday Night Live fame.  (See results pictures from last week’s race in Jackson for true picture of Brother Martin).  But gamely I recovered and resumed my trek along Calle 5, the heart of the once tiny village known for nothing more than a great beach and topless sunbathers.  As I ran, I reminisced about the success that our club has enjoyed in spite of my leadership, and thought about all the good times we’ve had and how much surely I mean to the club.  Then it dawned on me that the annual Pine Belt Pacers’ “night out” was scheduled for the very same week that I was to be out of the country.  I tried not to let it bother me though and continued running, gasping for breath from the heavy humidity. 

            “Self,” I said, “I’m sure it was just an oversight.”

            Turning toward the beach, I then came to the shores of the Caribbean and slowed to jog more carefully in the deep sand.  I tried that for about a quarter, then drifted toward the water, where the sand seemed to be more packed.  Looking down to ensure my footing as I jogged, I finally looked up to see a big Mexican lady running toward me with arms outstretched a la the movie “10”.  Only problem was, nothing about her resembled Bo Derick, so I turned around and started running for my life.  By then I was sprinting a tune of about six-thirty a mile, when I realized that I was running right for the chairs of some European topless ladies smoking cigars.  They were as startled as I was, so I then made a break for the water.

            Trying to act nonchalant, I swam freestyle for what seemed like a half mile when I looked up and realized that the current had swept me into the jurisdiction of an exclusive resort down the beach from town.  There a heavily-armed uniformed security guard stood sentry with his hands out hollering “Alto, Alto”.  Not knowing what “Alto” meant, I ran toward him and stretched out my own arms and yelled;

            “No problemos, Senor, I am El Jefe of the Pine Belt Pacers.”

            He slowly dropped the muzzle of his M-16 from my stomach and a wry smile crept over his face.

            “Ah, Senor”, he said, “Welcome to the Ritz-Carlton…”

            With that, the man said something in broken English about whether I had ever met the great white warrior runner named Elmer Beardshall.  After telling him that I was personally acquainted with him, he then told me a story about the time that the legendary Hank Hardy from Jackson was arrested for holding a shoe clinic for the Leukemia Society in the lobby without a permit.  He finally let me pass, where I shortly found myself in a beach bar translating a request for my personal favorite drink, “El Toro Rouge”.  I smoked a big Cohiba and ate some fresh guacamole and chips, then decided to resume the workout.

            After a quick break, I started back for our hacienda, a little villa down the beach.  I passed the usual hawkers and gawkers and managed to keep a good pace back into town.  By the time I got back to our place, I was depressed to learn that not only did I not get in a good run, but I actually somehow gained more weight in the process.

            These days I’m back in the old routine and trying to get back into fighting shape.  Goodness knows I’ve lost my edge, with poor performances in the local races lately. 

But don’t count me out yet; I still have six months left in my term as President.  Even though the club would like to move forward without me, I don’t intend to let it. 

            Take a trip now and then and don’t forget to bring your running shoes.  There’s no better way to discover new territory than running.


Yours truly,
President Mozingo
Revolutionary President of the Villa/Zapata Party
Pine Belt Pacers


September 2003

September 2003

            The days are getting shorter and the evenings cooler as Fall arrives.  We’ve had two good organizational meetings to prepare for the upcoming HubFest 5K State Championship Run/Walk.  Mostly, things will be the same at the big event this year, with only a few minor changes to mention.

            As most of you know, the members decided to choose the Muscular Dystrophy Association as our charity for the race this year.  Specifically, we are going to donate all proceeds to benefit local children who wish to attend a summer camp that the MDA administers every year.  We all felt like that the money we raise will help more in this way.  It gives us all a good feeling to know that we are sending a couple or few children to this special camp who otherwise could not afford to go.  Please pass the word along to everyone that you come in contact with to come out and support the race on October 11th.

            We are happy to report that some major sponsors have come forward to help out with the race.  Hattiesburg Clinic, Wal-Mart, and the Hattiesburg Coca-Cola Bottling Company are on board, as well as several other local businesses.  After much discussion, the members did decide to go ahead and bite the bullet; we are getting portable toilets again this year by popular demand.

            The course will be the same, with the start/finish line near the pavilion.  There will be plenty of pizza, fruit and liquids after the race also.  A nice supply of trophies have been ordered and t-shirts too.

            We have just returned from the western White House from a month-long vacation.  None of the children were arrested for anything so mostly the trip was a success.  I met with a few foreign club presidents and kept up with club news through daily briefings. 

            Lace up your shoes and get involved.  We need volunteers for the big day next month.  Remember, it’s a great cause we are doing this for and we need your help. 

Dec 2013


December 2013

            Two years ago, we embarked on a long journey to bring respect and honor to the Pine Belt Pacers organization.  Through hard work and self-sacrifice, we instituted policies that have shaped the future of recreational running and walking in south Mississippi. But now, sadly, we must bid farewell.  After all our accomplishments, a newspaper editor has gained the necessary votes to gain the chairmanship from your president and has secretly carried out a coup that will result in a change in leadership next week for the Pacers. 

            But be not dismayed, for the same thing happened to other great figures in history, such as Winston Churchill, who after leading Britain through World War II was summarily dismissed to pasture by parliament.  I’ll bet he wasn’t told beforehand either.  But rather than dwell on the negative, i.e. an average runner from an elite New Orleans prep school with no foreign running club policy experience, we prefer to accentuate the positive.

            Looking back over the past two years, the Pine Belt Pacers is a larger, healthier organization.  We actually get along with the bicycling club and have attracted larger gatherings to our races.  The moderate wing of the organization emerged during our tenure to quell the uprisings, both liberal and conservative, that once beset the prosperity of our great club.  The organization’s domestic policies are sound and the percentage of p.r.’s is up, a clear indicator that the direction that the club was heading was right.  I leave my post in good conscience expecting a watch or plaque thanking me for my service to arrive at my meager office before I am forced to make room for the Kingfish.

            The new president’s campaign mantra, “Every man a runner”, sounds good, and has a catchy tune written by his new buddy, Keith “Brutus” Barrett.  But I must warn him, politics makes strange bedfellows, and he isn’t the first person whose coattails that Barrett latched onto.  He’ll leave you as soon as another runner moves to town that is slightly slower than him, or, when you beat him in a race, whichever comes first.

            I would like to thank my cabinet for their dedicated service.  One or two of them could have made more money in the private sector, but I doubt it.  I’d especially like to thank Tate Ryder, 3, who consistently supported my policies for his unwavering support of my administration. 

            And so I will run into the sunset with my little family, which appreciates the work that I do for them.  I will go quietly and continue to support the club from the ranks.  No need to pull a Yeltsin and have me placed under house arrest.  I will not fight no more forever. 

In retrospect, I should have learned from Mr. Gorbachev and instituted Glasnost sooner, but as my old Dad would say, “Hindsight is good stuff, son…”  So much for giving runners their freedom.


Adios, amigos.


El Jefe 

Jan 2004

January 21. 2004

With the overwhelming mandate to change the club leadership behind us, the officers and membership of the Pine Belt Pacers have come together to set aside their differences and move the club toward new horizons.  Never mind that new president, Jim Coll, didn't even bother to show up for inaugural ceremonies; Vice President Robin Ryder assumed Coll's duties after being roused from his nap after breakfast at Lake Serene Grocery and conducted the meeting anyway.  As for me personally, I left the meeting early after it became apparent that I was not going to be given a watch or plaque for my two hard years of service to the Pacers organization.
    The new year has begun and with it new resolutions for running and walking.  Several of us are planning to spend a weekend in Birmingham in early February to "see one and run one", i.e. watch the men's Olympic marathon trials on Saturday and run the Mercedes Marathon on Sunday.  ( ).  It should be an exciting weekend.  If you're interested in going, send me an email and I'll let you know when we're leaving and where we're staying etc.  Other upcoming races members are sure to attend include the Azalea Trail Run in Mobile, the Crescent City Classic in New Orleans, and numerous 5K (3.1 miles) Runs in the Pine Belt area.  (For a full calendar of races and other useful information, go to
    A bunch of us had a good time in Mobile the weekend between Christmas and New Year's Day.  The half and full marathon courses are the same for the first eight miles, so I was able to run with Party/Race Director Barrett and President Coll.  Many Pacers were present who either ran the half or full marathon or cheered for their teammates.
    Several people have asked me lately about nutrition and hydration and other running and walking-related issues.  I have decided to go ahead and divulge my secrets and will be including them in the next few issues of the newsletter.  I tried to sell my story to The Independent and the National Enquirer, but neither responded to my query.   I'm trying to include some information from Bob Clark about what he actually carries in that CamelBak on long runs and will discuss the diets of great local runners and bicyclers like Robin and Tate Ryder who frequently dine at Shipley DoNuts, John Pendergrass' daily visits to Ward's, and Mailman Steve Phillips'  Strick's lunch buffet bash.
    We have some great trips planned, so train hard and enjoy your health.  It' s a great blessing to enjoy the great outdoors. © Tony Mozingo,

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