Running's His Game -- and His Sport

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New Balance Nationals

Source: The Winston-Salem Journal.

By John Syme, Journal Reporter.

Lee Tuttle wants to run wherever he goes, and it doesn't matter to him how far from home he gets.

"I think of running in one way as ... when you get out there on the road, it's you and God," said Tuttle, a North Forsyth senior cross-country runner, with a grin. "Ever how far away you are away from home, it's you and God and you gotta get home."

He laughed aloud, sitting atop the embankment overlooking the North Forsyth parking lot as school let out and teen-agers revved their engines below.

"That one's got the sense of a small rock," he said with another laugh, pointing at one who was driving dangerously. "He fluctuates."

Tuttle said he tries not to fluctuate too much, in his running at least. "Being consistent is the hardest part."

Still, his record proves he meets the challenge more often than not. He and the Vikings are 13-0 again this year. His personal record for the regular season was 12-0 until the last meet, with Page, where he took second.

"We have a real strong team, and I love teamwork," he said, adding that the team's top five -- he, Allen Meyers, Neil King, Trenton Allman and Charlie Hunt -- are a tight-knit group. But the independence of running is what attracted and still attracts Tuttle to the sport. "There's a lot of politics in (other) sports. I guess I picked running because ... you earn everything."

Tuttle earned third place out of about 150 runners in the Rural Hall Fall Festival on Oct. 18. "They take care of their people up there," he said with relish, "like food and everything. It was well-planned and organized."

His days this summer were well-planned and organized, too. He was a Royal Ambassador counselor at Camp Caraway near Asheboro. "The main point of the camp was to show the Christian lifestyle being lived out 24 hours a day," he said of his work with 10- to 14-year-olds there. He said the fellowship of his church, Redbank Baptist in Germanton, is important to him.

He is also busy at school, with holiday-season food drives sponsored by the Key Club, ROTC responsibilities, academics and thinking about college.

"I'm going to try my best to go to college," he said, naming Pembrook State and Brevard College as two possibilities, and adding that he is looking at military scholarships, too. Ideally, he would like to attend college for four years and then join the Marines.

"I like their toughness and physical training," said Tuttle, who bales hay and does other odd jobs to earn extra money. His girlfriend, Jodi Valencic, is athletic, too, he said. She swims and was second seed this year in girls' tennis at North.

"She's really academically inclined, too," he said with a smile. "She's one of them all-around types."

The Vikings will be all around and maybe all aroound the state if things go well for them the remainder of the season, Tuttle said. They are to run the Metro 4-A conference meet at home today, and hope to progress through the city-county meet and the regional, to the state meet on Nov. 15.

"Our coach (Brent Scott) has really done an excellent job," he said. "We developed over the last three years into a real strong team."

Tuttle lives in Stanleyville with his mother Mary Ann, who works at Vulcan Materials and runs, too, anywhere from three to five miles a day, he said. His father works for RJR Nabisco. His sister, Lisa, is studying pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Tuttle went on November 15th to win the 1986 NCHSAA State 4-A Cross Country Championship by 10 seconds, leading his team to a 2nd-place finish.



"Pembrook State" was Pembroke State University (now UNC Pembroke).

North Forsyth's coach was Scott Brent.

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