The Quad Cities Marathon offered thanks long before Thursday.|
But with no events conflicting with the Thanksgiving Holiday, what a perfect weekend to finally recognize Bob and Mary Lou Ries in print.
The Rock Island couple recently was named the race's Carol J. Mindrup Award winners for outstanding volunteerism.
Together they've shepherded the same relay transition area for all 15 years of the event.
"They are just phenomenal," gushed Joe Moreno, the QC Marathon's founder and race director. "They organize Relay Station No. 1, perhaps the most difficult of our transition areas, and they do it every year with pride and perfection.
"They are fanatics on detail, efficiency and organization. They could seriously write a book on how to organize a relay. We have been so blessed over the years to have so many wonderful and devoted people like Bob and Mary Lou."
The Rieses are the third married couple to share the award since the honor was founded in 2006 as a memorial to Mindrup, who gave tirelessly to the race, even through a long and fatal bout with cancer.
"It's funny because Bob is one of the tallest guys on our marathon committee and Mary Lou is the shortest. But I like to think that's why they make such a great team," Moreno said.
"Mary Lou is close to the ground, so she hears the runners needs and concerns. Bob is so tall, he has a great view of the horizon and what's coming. What a terrific pair."
During the awards ceremony at Davenport's Neckers Jewelers, the race also recognized the champions of its Group O Corporate Challenge for participation.
All three were repeat winners — The Erika Kate Foundation (non-profit division), John Deere (75-or-more employees) and Eastern Iowa Physical Therapy (74 or fewer employees).
Hall call: Also on the back burner until now has been this year's inductees into the Quad Cities Bicycle Club's Hall of Fame.
The 1,200-member service club, which has been around since 1964, recently recognized a trio of cyclists at its annual awards dinner at St. Ambrose University's Rogalski Center.
That third induction class boasted a pair of links to 2010's founding group, too, with the trailblazing Davenport duo of Deb Kuehl and Jacque Myers joining their internationally reknown brother Jeff Bradley in the local hall.
England's Ian Hibell, a charter member of the QCBC and a first-year participant in the QC Criterium, during a bicycle journey around the globe, also was posthumously enshrined.
During her acceptance speech, Myers downplayed her role of popularizing competitive cycling for women in the 1970s and '80s.
Back then, few women's-only races were available, even after Title IX was passed in 1972, so the "Bradley Sisters" grew up competing mainly with men, or dealing with inappropriate prizes, such as a tube of lipstick at one event.
"I was a little oblivious to being a trailblazer because I was just doing my best as I went along," said Myers, now a 49-year-old central Iowa resident and the mother of two college students.
"It was just what was expected of you as a Bradley. I was the baby and so Deb was more the trailblazer, and it didn't hurt that my brother was there most of the time for me to chase."
The "Bradley Sisters" combined to win the first three women's races at the QC Criterium, along with a trophy case full of national championships.
At 17, Myers even became a member of the United States World Championship team, and a year later in 1982, was a founding member of the first 7-11 women's pro cycling team.
"My most-treasured memories are a three-week trip to compete in France, competing in the '81 and '82 World Championships, and winning the Mohawk Carpet Cycling Classic," said Myers, who as a high-school senior pocketed $15,000 for the latter win.
"I felt God's love for me when I won that race. Not because I deserved money more than anyone else but because I needed that money in order to become the person God intended me to be. My father was quite controlling, and I just didn't want to live under his control anymore. I prayed for strength and opportunity for months before the race.
"I remember I was in a breakaway with Connie Carpenter-Phinney and on the last lap, my father got nervous and hollered, "Make a deal and split the money!" I remember Connie turning her head and asking me, "What did he say?" I said, "Nothing," because my deal was already with God. I had already promised 10 percent of my winnings to my church."
For the record
Year: Award winners
2012: Bob & Mary Lou Ries, Rock Island
2011: Marcia Lintz, East Moline
2010: Roger & Kay Long, LeCalire
2009: Larry Davis, Davenport
2008: Bruce Acton, Davenport; Joyce Keegan & Alan McDermott, Bettendorf.
2007: Donna Gulley, Milan; Sandy Ohlweiler, Moline
2006: Fred & Cathie Whiteside, Rock Island
QCBC Hall of Famers
Year: Inductee (Category)
2012: Debbie (Bradley) Kuehl, Davenport (Racing)
2012: Jacque (Bradley) Myers, Davenport (Racing)
2012: Ian Hibell, England (Adventure)
2011: Gregory Zaborac, Canton, Ill. (Endurance)
2010: Jeff Bradley, Davenport (Racing)
2010: Steve Gay, Geneseo (Endurance)
2010: Carter LeBeau, Davenport (Adventure)