After we officially named our 10 mile race the “Ted Tweed 10 Mile,” Ted submitted a letter to the Waunakee Tribune thankful for the honor. Ted shared some background on the race, including how it came to be, and the ideas behind Fritz and the cannon. We’re sharing his letter in its entirety here:
“Sometimes things grow in a surprising way. Like eating spinach – the more you chew on it, the bigger it gets! That’s the way with the WaunaFest Run. That little run has turned into a village tradition. Who would have thought?
I find it hard to find enough words to properly thank Ellen Schaaf, the WaunaFest Run Committee, and the Chamber for the distinct honor of having the 10 mile version of the WaunaFest Run named the “Ted Tweed 10 Mile run.” I am honored and humbled. So, I’ll just say a hearty thank you. And, they even gave me a plaque to commemorate the honor. I couldn’t be more pleased!
Now, I have to say that the WaunaFest Run, or originally the Volfsfest Run, didn’t suddenly happen simply because I had the idea. I presented the idea to the Volksfest of the Arts folks (Collete Koltes and Dave Chalgren) who agreed that a run might bring more people to the festival. Funding for even a small race is critical so when I presented the idea to Jim Schmitz, then President of the First Wisconsin Bank of Waunakee, he essentially said, “whatever you need, you’ll have.” He was an outstanding sponsor and supportive member of the Run Committee for the 18 years that he and I had the race.
Then, knowing that a well established run like Stoughton’s Syttende Mai Run had a well known brand (the Viking Ship), I felt that we should do something similiar, something that would stand the test of time. I met with an artist friend, Steve Hovel, suggesting that he create a brand, or logo, that would represent not only a run, but something of Waunakee’s German heritage. And, Fritz (I call him) was born. He’s 43 years old and hasn’t aged a day! There he is in all his glory – in lederhosen, a little on the chubby side, running with a stein of malt beverage. I was thrilled with the design, especially after Fritz quit smoking his cigar after his first yar. Oh, did we hear about that. Runners don’t smoke.
After a year or two, I felt that we needed something to make us even more unique – something that would make folks say, “Can you believe what they have at the WaunaFest Run?” So, I brought in a cannon as the starting gun. (“You’ll be a bang out of our race,” said the race registration form.) There was no question that everyone heard the thing fire! Further, in a few years Jan Tweed (Ted’s wife, pictured together to the right) and a small ensemble from the Waunakee Community Band were there to provide live spirited tunes before the race and when winners were entering the finish area.
In addition, I must thank all of the many committee members who served during the first 18 years, and who carried out their assigned tasks with creativity and enthusiasm. Events like the WaunaFest Run don’t just happen, lots of folks are needed to make it successful. It’s been exciting to see how over the years the run has become bigger and better, thanks to Ellen Schaaf and Jeff Skoug and others at the Waunakee Chamber and the run committee. I don’t doubt that there’ll be a WaunaFest Run for many years to come. So, thank you again for all that you’ve done for me!