Woodward Relays Fan

50th Woodward Relays Tribute Project

The Speech

Speech delivered by stadium announcer, Kevin Milsted, April 13, 2024

Ladies and gentlemen, esteemed guests, and the illustrious track and field community,

Today, we stand together to celebrate a true icon in the world of athletics, a man whose unwavering dedication has become synonymous with excellence and community spirit. It is with immense honor and heartfelt admiration that we extend our deepest gratitude to Greg Dunston.

For an astounding half-century, Greg has been the driving force behind the Woodward Relays, a high school track and field meet that has not only withstood the test of time but has flourished under his passionate stewardship. In 1973, Greg's vision gave birth to an event that has become a hallmark of sportsmanship and athletic achievement.

The Woodward Relays, known for its unique all-relay format and the exhilarating steeplechase event, has been a testament to Greg's commitment to innovation and excellence. As we gather here today, we are on the cusp of an historic moment - the 50th Woodward Relays, set to unfold on April 13, 2024.

Greg Dunston's role as the meet director is no small feat. Coordinating 50 meets involves not only recruiting a dedicated team of staff and volunteers but also managing the intricate details of meet day logistics. What makes Greg's contribution even more extraordinary is that many of his recruits are family members and close friends who have tirelessly worked alongside him, asking for no pay, simply out of love and respect for Greg.

In the grand tradition of the Woodward Relays, Greg has been the meet director for every single event, a feat that speaks volumes about his passion and commitment to the athletes and the sport itself. It is estimated that Greg has put 5,000 hours of his life into this one single meet. It is estimated that 10,000 staff and volunteer hours have gone into the 50 runnings of the Woodward Relays, and it is estimated that 40,000 unique athletes and coaches have participated in the Woodward Relays since 1973.

As we gather to honor Greg today, we have prepared a special tribute - a commemorative book that encapsulates the essence of the Woodward Relays. Filled with captivating photos and celebratory comments from friends of the Woodward Relays, this book is a token of our appreciation for a man who has not only directed meets but has directed the course of countless lives.

Ladies and gentlemen, let us express our deepest gratitude to a true trailblazer in the world of track and field - Greg Dunston. May the 50th Woodward Relays be a celebration of his legacy and an inspiration for generations to come.

A tribute book was compiled and presented to Greg Dunston at the 50th Woodward Relays on April 13, 2024. Kevin Milsted of mocorunning.com and woodwardrelaysfan.com sought comments from friends of the Woodward Relays. Below are the comments as they appeared in the tribute book.


It happened gradually.

A dawning awareness sometime near my freshman year of high school - a year that I'd be both running for RM as well as filling in at WJ with timing, passing out volunteer meal tickets, and assuming my innate (at least since I could walk) duties as gofer. Sure, there'd been plenty of comments throughout the years..."the Woodward Relays, what a family affair!" someone would call to my mom as she recorded finishing times with pencil and paper. "How do you get them to keep coming back?" another would joke to my dad. Shout "Dunston!" at the Woodward Relays and six heads would turn.

But it wasn't until that year that I truly realized that all the familiar faces around me, faces of people I'd seen every April of every year since I could form memories, were volunteers.

"It's so nice for you to be volunteering here," a newbie might say to me.


I'd play with the syllables in my mouth. Is that what we'd been doing? A furrow formed in my brow as I fixed my brother with a look suggesting we'd been duped since birth.

"Are we...are we volunteers?"

And then it clicked. All these people my dad had collected since the mid 70's (before I was even born) were there by choice. Choice! This meet, and by association, my father (or the other way around for many) meant so much to people that they gave up their entire Saturday every April to stand in the ~ insert incredibly volatile weather condition here ~ to shuttle adorably naive teenagers to and from their events.

For the four Dunston children, choice had nothing to do with it. We'd been too busy getting sunburned, windburned, blasted with April snow, drenched with rain, and sometimes all of these in the same day since we were literal infants to have any existential thoughts at the relays. Our first words may have well been, "Watch the track!"

We'd started small - running hand-written timesheets from the track to the press box and from the press box to the fence (where we were consummate professionals at tearing athletic tape with our teeth to post the results).

We'd graduated to standing all of 4 feet tall in a circle amid volunteer timers calling out the school and time of their finisher. We'd witnessed the ushering out of individual stopwatches and the advent of the corded jeopardy-style timers that connected to one central box printing out a CVS-length receipt of times and places. Then humans as timers were replaced altogether by the camera, notes hastily scrawled on scrap paper were replaced by cell phones and text messages, and a new job was created - a job I'd hold with my brother for many, many years. If you've checked into an event at the Clerk of Course table and heard, "Heat 2, Lane 6", "put this on your anchor's right hip", or "I can't tell you how fast the other runners are, that's not really what I do here", then chances are we've met. You may have met me as a teenager, or home from college, or as an adult indoctrinating my husband, or with my own daughter strapped to my chest.

My siblings and I grew up at the Woodward Relays. We've seen them at half a dozen different schools, with and without technology, and they're really all the same. The spirit of what our dad created is truly awe-inspiring. He eats, drinks, and sleeps running, and the endurance of this meet is proof. (Just see how quickly he can rattle off every split time from the winning 4x8 team...from three years ago!) The Woodward Relays are an impressive legacy for a remarkable guy, and we are so proud of him.

Now if you see him at this meet, please make sure he eats something.

        -Erin Dunston Cooper, Woodward Relays Career Volunteer, Birth - Present

What makes the Woodward Relays one of the best meets around?

Its organization and meet people. Always fair and first class!

        -Fran Parry

The commitment to excellence and inclusion. It is energy-filled and an opportunity to participate as an athlete whether you are pursuing the sport in college or if high school is as far you go with track and field.

        -Tyrell Taitt, sprints and jumps coach at Georgetown Prep

The meet director, the competition, the camaraderie.

        -Dan Reeks, Northwood, Wheaton, Sherwood coach. Woodward Relays site director at Montgomery College.

The quality of the meet, the competition and DUNSTON.

        -Flo Groberg, Walter Johnson athlete and Woodward Relays attendee

The fact that it's a relay meet in which kids get to run together and jump together as a team opposed to doing events as individuals. It is one of the craziest meets in the area. The special events make it extraordinary.

        -Herb Tolbert, Gaithersburg coach and Woodward Relays attendee

Woodward Relays is unique because it makes every event a team sport. There are no individual winners. As a hurdler, it was one of the only meets around where you competed WITH your teammates!

        -Ava Segal, WJ CC, track & field and 4-time Woodward Relays participant '92-96

Woodward Relays is the ultimate team competition. To take the team title requires a full team's depth and breadth of skill and ability. For coaches, setting the team line-up, calculating which events on which to focus and how to use a team's best athletes was always one of the greatest and most enjoyable challenges of the spring season.

        -Tom Arnold, Good Counsel track coach 1987-2005

The Woodward Relays included everyone. It was always a special event because it included unusual events like the steeplechase and different relays, but it also fostered participation from a broad range of runners and athletes. It wasn't about how good you were. It wasn't about you individually. It was about the joy of running and competition. And the need to rely on your teammates. It was and remains a truly special event of which I have nothing but amazing memories.

        -Bill Gelfeld, Woodward Relays participant 1989-1992

The Relays are an infrequent chance as a runner to truly compete AS A TEAM. The most fun meet of the year. There are so few meets where you can participate in a full range of relay races, especially where distance runners and sprinters compete together. I recall the Relays being our first test of the year -- where we see where we were at and what work needed to be done through the rest of the season. It was an annual benchmark, and a lot of fun.

        -Joshua Orenstein, WJ participant, 1994 graduate

What makes the Woodward Relays one of the best track meets around is how you are made to feel while you are there. This meet is one that makes you feel welcomed and encouraged the entire time. There is a true sense of family with this meet. If you really know us you will begin to recognize that most if not all of the volunteers are family members or close friends of the Dunston family. You know you have become an honorary member of our family when you are brought in to volunteer for this amazing event!!

        -Jill (Dunston) Milla, Woodward Relays athlete, volunteer, and coach

Coach Dunston gives all of his heart to the athletes. Over the years he has done so much to make the Woodward Relays such a special event. Back at Woodward, Coach Dunston literally dug out the water pit for the steeplechase - a staple of the relays along with the race walk. Dunston hand-made the girls steeples, a wooden throwing circle (in case there is a need to go inside, if weather is too rough at Prep), and refurbishes the jumping boards. There is always an anticipatory electricity in the air surrounding the Woodward Relays...everybody stays to watch the steeplechase: such a rare opportunity to compete in and see in high school. Most high school athletes only ever see the race walk and steeplechase during these Relays. The preparation & organization it takes is a testament to Dunston's character. The success of the meet, the volunteers (many of whom used to compete for him) every year shows the love and impact he's had on their lives as well.

        -Dan Rose, Woodward Relays athlete in the 90s and Georgetown Prep Track Coach in the 2000s

What sights and sounds come to mind when you think of the Woodward Relays?

Quiet for the Start. Guns up!

        -Gerard Lederer, Announcer and father of a Coach Dunston runner

The sound of the gun while Dunston is doing his walk.

        -Flo Groberg, Walter Johnson athlete and Woodward Relays attendee

A sea of activity across the entire track with multiple events going on simultaneously...I remember waiting for my relay events during the Woodward Relays and finding shade from the sun. I ran the 4x800-meter relays and the individual 800-meter events. The baton handoff was so important that we practiced it constantly.

        -David Lim, Woodward High School, Class of 1982.

The two levels of races for the boys 4x1600 relay which gives more distance kids a chance to compete. The crowds around the water jump for the steeplechase. Very competitive races and team competitions.

        -Dan Reeks, Northwood, Wheaton, Sherwood coach. Woodward Relays site director at Montgomery College.

When I think of the Woodward relays, I always hear my dad's voice and smell the scent of the blanks from the starting gun. As a freshman, this meet can seem so overwhelming at first but it is so much fun. There are tons of athletes from all different schools cheering each other on during each race. It has a mini-Penn Relays feel to me.

        -Jill (Dunston) Milla, Woodward Relays athlete, volunteer, and coach

Share a specific memory related to the Woodward Relays

Dunston wrote us messages on our numbers like, "Tall over those hurdles! Short but fast! Use that speed!"

        -Ava Segal, WJ CC, track & field and 4-time Woodward Relays participant '92-96

My favorite memory of the Woodward Relays was when the 2023 Boys' steeplechase was canceled due to a thunderstorm threat. All of us runners ended up jumping into the water pit, and it was a blast.

        -Teddy Kavanagh, two-time Woodward Relays athlete

Getting to run the steeplechase in both my junior and senior years, such a unique race, especially back in the 80s with the rickety water jump, and then this year getting to see Nate Swanson win it for Churchill.

        -Paul Jacobson, Einstein runner at Woodward Relays in 1980-1981; Churchill coach of 20 years

Can't believe it's been 50 years of the Woodward Relays! This was my first ever XC race and I have fond memories of running this meet on the track as well. This was my first ever steeple, into a mud pit. What an intro to competitive running. Here I am coaching, 20 years later.

        -Will Palmer, Woodward Relays Participant: 2003-2007, University of Florida distance coach

The story is the meet itself and Greg's determination to hold it every year, AND to maintain the meet's name no matter where it has held: Woodward, MC, WJ, and Prep.

        -Dan Reeks, Northwood, Wheaton, Sherwood coach. Woodward Relays site director at Montgomery College.

Greg was my track coach at Woodward and I ran the relays 1974-77. One of Greg's favorite terms of endearment/encouragement was "Mental Midget," and don't be one! What he meant was believe in yourself and don't underestimate what you can accomplish. To prove this point, Greg would regularly put us in relay events/distances that we had not run before. For me, a sprinter, he put me in the 4 by 800 relay, OUCH. This positive and never give up attitude epitomizes Greg, what he instated in us and accomplished with the Woodward Relays. Congrats Greg on 50 years! - my coach, mentor & friend.

        -Tom McCally, Woodward Track team and Woodward Relays participant 1974-77. Woodward Relays official.

In 2009, when I first began track, I don't think Coach Dunston had much faith in the young man who showed up to run in khakis. Fortunately, his kind and accepting mentality spurred me on to a great athletic career in shot put and discus. Even at the end of a long meet, I always enjoy standing at the starters pen with Coach Dunston as he corrals the runners towards the line. Over a decade later, I still enjoy trying to pick out the bright green shirt to get a question answered or just to chit-chat about life during the meet. Thank you for being a steadfast pillar that the "institution" of Woodward Relays is built upon.

        -Nicholas Guthrie, Georgetown Prep Student Athlete, Coach, and Woodward Relays Volunteer

My sophomore year at Prep, I was trying to break 5 minutes for the mile in the 4 x mile relay. As I rounded the halfway point of my final lap, I looked intently at my watch to see where I was pace wise. Realizing I was going to break it, I looked up, smiled, and raced in to the finish. After the race, I distinctly remember Coaches Greg and Andy congratulating me on a PR and a great race, but reprimanding me for staring at my watch in a crucial time of the race. I will never forget that.

        -Pat Mullery, Georgetown Prep XC/Track 2012-2016 - Assistant Coach 2023

Some of my most memorable moments of being a part of the Woodward Relays were when I ran in them with my dad (Greg Dunston) as my coach. Although he was always running around making sure everything was going off ok, he always knew when his team was on the track and you could hear him coaching us from across the field.

        -Jill (Dunston) Milla, Woodward relays athlete, volunteer, and coach

The meet day was "cool," rainy, gray, and a very stiff "breeze!" Greg sees me and says with a huge smile on his face, "Hey Fran, this is a great day for sprinters and relays!" I thought to myself, "He is out of his mind!" But that was Greg! It was always a beautiful day for his meet!

        -Fran Parry

I remember my very first Woodward Relays back in the early 70s at Woodward HS. It was a bright, warm, sunny day and I was attending the meet for the first time with the "girls" team from Gaithersburg as track had not gone coed yet. At the coaches meeting, I met Greg Dunston and Corky Logsdon, the Woodward coaches, for the first time. Little did I know then that Greg would become someone I would come to admire, respect and call a friend some 40 plus years later. Greg, you are a gem and it's been a pleasure knowing you, coaching against you and having you as a friend. Keep on keeping on.

        -Herb Tolbert, Gaithersburg coach and Woodward Relays attendee

Thank you, Greg

Biggest congratulations to you, Mr. Dunston, for your commitment to not only the Woodward Relays for 50 years but to the running community as a whole! The Woodward Relays will always hold a special place in my heart as our opener for the outdoor track season...and without a doubt, it was always cold, rainy, and windy! As a result, I became a more resilient athlete and competitor. Thank you, Mr. Dunston, for having us participate in the Woodward Relays each year and for a lifetime of memories with you and my amazing WJ teammates!

        -Sally (Glynn) Hauser, Walter Johnson & Woodward Relays Athlete, 1992-1996

Thank you, Coach Dunston. You always have given lots of effort into our meets so they go smoothly and also be our coach at the same time. There is no better coach than you.

        -André Clevy, Runner and Paper Boy

Thank You, Coach Dunston! Congrats on 50 years of Woodward Relays!

        -Jack Robertson, Woodward Relays Runner, 2014-2018

Thank you, Coach Dunston!! The Woodward Relays were always the highlight of my cross country year and my favorite memories are from the race. Thank you for all your work putting on the race and supporting us and making us the best athletes we could be!

        -Jonathan Paravano, Georgetown Prep Student

50 YEARS of dedication to providing a competitive and fun track meet that has seen generations competing at this wonderful meet. As my mentor, I learned so much from you about creating a welcoming and fun team environment where athletes want to do their best and care for their teammates. I just wish you would be forthcoming in sharing your bowling secrets!

        -Tom Martin, WJ Coach with Greg

Coach Dunston has the rare ability of making running fun! Being part of Dunston's team meant you were going to put in the sweat equity, and the return was incredible experiences and lifelong friendships. Dunston taught me dedication, grit, and a no-quit stubbornness that I use to this day. Thank you, Dunston, for all of that plus the laughs along the way.

        -Ava Segal, WJ CC, track & field and 4-time Woodward Relays participant '92-96

Coach Dunston, congratulations on 50 years! What an amazing history of organizing and heading up the Woodward Relays. Our family was fortunate to compete in and volunteer at some of them and saw firsthand the countless hours you put into making these meets the highlight of the track season. Thank you for bringing together athletes and families from all the local schools and keeping this tradition going for so long. We all have benefited from your efforts, expertise, wisdom, and good humor!

        -The Strong Family, Matthew (GP '21), Katherine (SR '22), Genie & Frank Woodward Relays volunteers

Coach Dunston, thank you. I love you. I appreciate you. Thank you for being an amazing coach, mentor, and lover of one of the most honest and bias free sports on the planet.

        -Rhadi Ferguson, Richard Montgomery class of 1992, 2004 Olympian

Coach, thank you. It's not spring until we've competed in the Woodward relays.

        -Herb Tolbert, Gaithersburg coach and Woodward Relays attendee

Coach, you will always be an inspiration, and I am so excited to see that number 50!! You have impacted thousands of lives over the course of your career! Love you, coach.

        -Flo Groberg, Walter Johnson athlete and Woodward Relays attendee

Congrats and thank you, Coach, for a truly memorable meet that we still talk about 25 years later!

        -Jamie Knapp, Woodward Relays Participant (1994-97)

Congrats and thank you, Coach Dunston! I have so many incredible memories from my time at Walter Johnson and running in the Woodward Relays. 50 years, amazing!

        -Jon Schick, Walter Johnson runner & Woodward Relays participant

Congrats Coach Dunston on 50 years of Woodward Relays spring track meets!

        -Brian O'Looney, Woodward Relays Parent Volunteer

Thanks, Greg, for keep this meet (and the XC meet) going all these years.

        -Paul Jacobson, Einstein runner at Woodward Relays in 1980-1981; Churchill coach of 20 years

Congratulations Coach Dunston for inspiring 50 years of student athletes and for directing one of the most unique events in the region! I have enjoyed competing in the relays as a Woodward HS Wildcat, seeing Anna compete in the event for Walter Johnson HS, and cheering on my Blair HS runners at the relays. Your dedication to directing the Woodward Relays over 50 years is admirable. Thank You!

        -Angie Prunella Bosse, Woodward HS Woodward Relays Competitor, 1980's

Congratulations Coach Dunston for running an incredible and top-notch track meet for 50 years! I feel so blessed to have been coached by you, to have competed at the Woodward relays as a WJ Wildcat and to now volunteer at Woodward relays as a MCPS coach. Thank you so much for all that you have done and continue to do for the high school running community in our area. You are amazing and I will forever cherish the wonderful memories I made at your relay events ❤.

        -Anna Bosse, Woodward Relays participant, volunteer and Girls Distance Medley Relay record setter (WJ 2011)

Congratulations Coach Dunston on being a remarkable and kind human being and a terrific and considerate coach. In my two years at Prep, I watched you and learned about your work ethic and how you quietly went about making things better for the kids that we coach. Thank you for your examples. Your discipline is second to none and I'm grateful to know you and continue to learn from you. Woodward Relays is a staple and that is in large part due to your tireless efforts to make it a great event for the athletes and spectators.

        -Tyrell Taitt, Sprints and jumps coach at Georgetown Prep

Congratulations Coach! I am so incredibly blessed that I have been affiliated with Prep and the Woodward Relays for over 10 years now! Cross country and track at Prep was one of the highlights of my time there, and I will always cherish the memories and friendships I created. Coach Dunston has made a tremendous impact on my life and has always served as a role model and leader since I was Wee Pat back in 2012. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to come back and coach the sport and team I love back at Prep. Congratulations on 50 years of the Woodward Relays, and to many more!

        -Pat Mullery, Georgetown Prep XC/Track 2012-2016 - Assistant Coach 2023

Congratulations Greg for all the wonderful years of Woodward Relays! It's been a great honor and fun working with you over the years! It's good to know you and I are the masters of the markings - it wouldn't be Woodward Relays without the shuttle hurdles and the steeplechase!

        -Jay Udovich, Woodward Relays participant in 1976-1978 and longtime meet starter

Congratulations to Coach Greg Dunston for hosting 50 years of the Woodward Relays. Thank you for being a mentor and fantastic coach through all the years and having a positive impact on the countless number of students.

        -David Lim, Woodward High School, Class of 1982

Congratulations, Coach Dunston!! This is an incredible accomplishment that few others anywhere could come close to. You are an outstanding, legendary MoCo coach and had a tremendous impact on me and many others. Thank you for encouraging me to run, patiently bringing me along, and creating an environment where I could make lifelong friends.

        -Joshua Orenstein, WJ participant, 1994 graduate

Greg, thank you for being the most innovative meet director in Montgomery County. I never doubted you would guide The Relays to and through 50 years, from an epic high jump competition in the late 70's to innovative steeplechase sand/water jumps, to race walks. Thank you for inspiring other coaches to host invitational meets as well. Literally, generations of families have competed in the Woodward Relays.

Thanks for competition, innovation, and friendship.

        -Dan Reeks, Northwood, Wheaton, Sherwood coach. Woodward Relays site director at Montgomery College.

Greg! You are my legend for Track & Field for the county and state! Through your dedication and leadership, Track and Field has moved forward by leaps and bounds to become what it is today: a premier sport for athletes and spectators! Thank you for all your positive energy, determination, and dedication over all these years! You have made a positive difference to a huge number of track and field coaches and athletes! Your meet is a constant in so many coaches' and athletes' lives! Don't hang up the spikes anytime soon.

        -Fran Parry

To my coach, mentor & friend, congratulations Greg on creating and running the Woodward Relays for 50 years! You positively impacted literally 1,000s of young athletes through your coaching, mentorship, and the Woodward Relays. I was on the Woodward track team running in the Woodward Relays 1974-77 and came back several times to officiate. Whether Greg was coaching me at the Relays or teaching me how to officiate, he was and is always the consummate teacher and mentor: ever patient and encouraging. Here's to another 50 years my friend...

        -Tom McCally, Woodward track team, Woodward Relays participant, 1974-77, coached by Greg, and meet official.

You are an ICON, Greg! A true legend in MoCo Track & Field, and the Woodward Relays is the embodiment of everything you represent. You have been a great mentor, colleague, and friend to me throughout my career. Thanks for everything for me and for our sport. Congratulations on 50 years - absolutely amazing!

        -Scott Mathias, Woodward Relays attendee as Clarksburg, Poolesville, Churchill coach since 1994

Coach Dunston is the best coach I've ever had. From the beginning of my running career with him at Prep, he always believed in me and gave me the motivation to keep going even when times were tough. He consistently inspired me to be a leader both on and off the team, and I can say with confidence that I would not be the man I am today without his influence. Coach always used to say "you'll thank me later" when we had tough practices - well, this is it, Coach. Thank you for everything you've done for me and congrats on 50 years of the Woodward Relays!

        -Sean Mullery, Georgetown Prep Runner, 2017-2021

Coach Dunston was one of my first coaches at Walter Johnson High School, and the positive culture he cultivated in the program is one of the reasons that running remains an important part of my life. Even though I wasn't a varsity runner, Coach Dunston made me feel seen and was invested in my progress. I keep those lessons at the forefront of my mind now that I'm also a cross country and track and field coach at Walter Johnson. Seeing him at the Woodward Relays every spring is a highlight of my year, and I can't thank him enough for his dedication to the sport and all the runners he's coached.

        -Kelyn Soong, Walter Johnson track, Class of 2005. Current XC and track assistant coach at Walter Johnson.

Coach Greg Dunston made an incredibly positive impact on our two sons, who each ran all four years at Georgetown Prep, as well as on the countless other athletes he coached or who participated in Woodward Relays meets. We have wonderful memories of, and immense gratitude for, the camaraderie, love of competition, personal growth, and leadership that Coach Dunston fostered in so many young people. Thank you so much, Coach Dunston, for the traditions and legacy you created at Prep and throughout Montgomery County. Our family and the Prep and Moco running communities have been blessed to have you in our lives for so many years. Gratefully, Kathleen & Steve Mullery

        -Kathleen & Steve Mullery 2012-2021: Georgetown Prep track/cross-country parents & Woodward Relays volunteers

Congrats, Coach Dunston, on the amazing feat of the 50th Woodward Relays! I have such fond memories of running Woodward XCTF with you 1984-87. I will always remember the first time I met you. Well, you actually met me! I was lined up to run the "880" as a Tilden Middle School team member at a meet using Woodward's track. You were helping run the meet. You came running up to each girl wearing a Tilden uniform and asked "Woodward or WJ?" For those of us who answered "Woodward," you quickly jotted down our names and grade on your clipboard. A few of us looked at each other like, "Who was that guy?"!!!

I have been a teacher for 32 years now and have coached high school and middle school XCTF over the years. I hope that my former and current runners will remember our time together and my investment in them as fondly as I do yours!

        -Jennifer Atherton Reistle, CWW '87. Woodward Relays participant 1984-1987

You have been an incredible role model for so many students and athletes. Thank you for the many great memories that I share with my kids. Your positive attitude is infectious. You taught us teamwork, goal setting, time management, and most importantly, to believe in yourself that you can accomplish anything with discipline and hard work.

        -Philip Lim, athlete 1982-1986

Nobody has done more for the sport of track & field in Montgomery County than Greg Dunston. The Woodward Relays is just one example. I've loved attending Woodward every time we have attended. I think my favorite part has been the steeplechase...everyone crowds around the water pit as we watch all of the epic falls into the water and there have been some epic falls. I just want to personally thank Coach Dunston for creating such a great meet and for being a mentor to me. Thank you, Coach Dunston!

        -Coach Hays, Woodward Relays coach and volunteer, Whitman coach of 23 years plus one yr Seneca Valley coach

Congratulations to Coach Dunston. Coach Dunston is an accomplished coach of champions, but what makes him special is his devotion to all runners at all levels. Coach Dunston is and has always provided opportunities for track and field athletes to compete through the meets that he conducts. In particular, the County B meet gave many students the opportunity to compete at the county level. The Woodward Relay is special because it gives the runners and field athletes the opportunity to contribute and bond as a team, creating lifelong memories and friendships.

        -Greg Stortstrom, volunteer starting in 2006

Greg, congrats on 50 years of the Woodward Relays! I cannot properly express the impact you've had on me as a coach and timer. Whether it was letting Field into your meets when I was a young (and unorganized) new coach, or helping me launch my timing business, your influence on my work in track and field has been invaluable. I have a vivid memory of sitting in a coaching clinic at Pacers in Alexandria and you talking about how important it is to involve your family in the sport, because it does take a lot of time. It changed my whole perspective on how to maintain my involvement in the sport and continue to be a father and husband.

On the timing front, the Woodward Relays are always one of my favorite meets to time because it presents a real challenge from a scoring and timing perspective. Since it's not a cookie cutter meet, it pushes my staff and me to be on the ball and come up with creative ways to use software to create a fun experience for the athletes, coaches, and parents. "

        -Jesse Gaylord, Former Field School coach and current meet timer

Thank you coach for always hosting wonderful meets and for always being around. You have left such a positive imprint on a lot of people on and off the track. The thing that makes this meet so impressive now is the longevity. 50 years of an event is so impressive. If you happen to break any meet record at this point that took something special to do on that day. I've coached a lot of kids and been fortunate enough to coach with wonderful coaches. We often found that doing well at Woodward translates later in the season.

        -Dave Warren, longtime Montgomery Coach

Greg, thank you for your lifetime of service, stewardship, and care for the track and field and cross country athletes in Montgomery County. The opportunities you have provided for us have enriched all our lives. In any organization, there are figureheads and behind the scenes heavy lifters. For as long as I can remember, Greg has been among the very few heaviest lifters, laboring tirelessly to build our sport, promote our athletes and provide great competitive opportunities for the Montgomery County running community. And, Greg is one of the nicest, kindest and most thoughtful gentlemen you are likely to meet.

        -Tom Arnold, Good Counsel track coach 1987-2005

Mazel Tov, Coach Dunston! You are an inspiration to all of us. Your dedication to the athletes, the sport, and the community rings the loudest after 50 years of Woodward Relays! You have kept this going through multiple schools, made changes with the times, and most importantly, made this special event a regional staple of exciting competition.

        -Dan Rose, Woodward Relays athlete in the 90s and Georgetown Prep Track Coach in the 2000s

I've helped Greg with over one hundred meets since he lured me to Prep. The Woodward Relays are where you can see him at his best, at the center of what only appears to be chaos, directing traffic and making sure hundreds of kids have a fun, easygoing competition. Working next to him as he raises this project from scratch every single spring, usually with some odd new challenge, is inspiring and intimidating. He genuinely wants each of those athletes to have an extraordinary and memorable time. When things inevitably settle down from the crush of morning action to the steady event-by-event rhythm, I like to walk around the meet and see how that memorable time is developing.

  • Volunteers timing their dash to fix upended hurdles during the shuttle hurdle relay.
  • In 2016, it was a group of girls waiting for their handoffs in the 4x200m sullenly slump their shoulders when it started snowing. Thirty seconds later, they were laughing together at the insane weather.
  • We aren't supposed to encourage the kids cannonballing into the steeple pit, but every year somebody makes it their big moment.
  • In 2014, our sprint medley got disqualified. I disagreed.
  • I am writing this at the last minute because most of my free time the past two weeks has been consumed with organizing a track meet for four teams, about a tenth of what he usually handles. Everything that I'm doing, from soliciting volunteers and hiring officials to moving mats and roping off competition areas, I learned from Greg. Having run for him and now coached next to him, this is true about basically everything that I know about this ridiculous sport. How to run an 800m race; how to take a handoff in a relay; how to care for an athlete dealing with his first injury; how to re-start a Gator sliding backwards down a hill on Prep's golf course; how to teach a relay handoff. He's been behind every bit of it.

    It's incredibly cool that this event has finally received a proper fiftieth. I'm grateful to have been close to seeing so many of them happen, and I'm looking forward to watching Greg continue to give so many kids this fun, strange experience in the future.

            -Andy Reinsch, 1997 Woodward Relays athlete, 2013-present Georgetown Prep coach

    Thank you, Dad, for all you do for the young athletes in the area. This meet will forever be one of my best memories as a part of the track community. This event has always been a staple with our family. This meet means so much more than just track to us as a family. We are beyond proud of you and the amount of work and time you have spent to make this such a memorable event for so many young athletes.

            -Jill (Dunston) Milla, Woodward relays athlete, volunteer, and coach

    This is more about Greg than the Relays. I ran in my first Woodward Relays in 1976 when I was a junior at Woodward. My relationship to the meet has been personal. I ran for Greg, officiated for Greg, and coached with Greg. He is one of the most influential coaches and people in my athletic life. I learned that no challenge was insurmountable. Greg would put us in the fast heat in every event and while we didn't always win, we would almost always PR.

    Greg became a friend. I babysat his daughter Jill and later coached with her at Georgetown Prep. When I wake up on that April Saturday morning wishing I could sleep in instead of officiating the Woodward Relays, I realize I owe this to Greg. I owe him more than I can ever pay back.

            -Paul Butler, 1977 Woodward Relays High Jump Relay Champion and meet official since 1981

    We had just returned to school in the summer of 1990 and ran one of the first workouts of the season, still under a blazing sun. We ran hill repeats in relays of two. Your rest was the time your partner needed to run the loop. Mr. Dunston, who ran all workouts with us, picked me, mostly because I was a goofball nobody wanted to deal with. Before we started off, he told me to look at how the others run. They'll ease up just before the crest and simply roll down the other side, he said. But if you go all out on those last few steps, accelerating before the top, you'll come flying off the hill and leave everyone behind.

    I watched and quickly saw how right he was. As the pain set in, people gave up, slowed to a crawl and let gravity carry them down the other side. But I took Mr. Dunston's advice and gunned the hills. It was the workout of my life. His advice became my mantra for running but also for everything else: push when others give up, double your effort when the pain kicks in.

    Mr. Dunston was a coach, a teacher, a mentor and father to me, and thousands of others. I made it to two Olympics and a few world championships over the years but none of that would have happened without the first few years under his guidance at Walter Johnson. I am forever indebted to Mr. Dunston. Thanks a million!

            -Balazs Koranyi, Walter Johnson student and Woodward Relays attendee 1989-1992

    Like tens of thousands of others, I competed in the Woodward Relays in high school. In fact, the Woodward Relays was probably the only varsity track meet I ever competed in. I was no Balazs, but the Woodward Relays (and the County 'B' Meet which was also at Walter Johnson High School at the time) had a spot for me. I remember asking a buddy to time my splits because I was gunning for a 5-minute mile in the 4x1600-meter relay. It was little opportunities like that that made me think maybe I could run for a small college, and later, cover the athletes who were so unfathomably fast to me.

    I started a website which was, at first, mainly just a message board for talking about Montgomery County cross country and track. I gradually developed an interest in covering the sport like a real journalist, an interest in photography, and an interest in local track history. Those interests drove me to Greg Dunston. Not only was Dunston considered a coaching wizard and beloved mentor, he was a bit of a historian with boxes and boxes of binders with old files.

    Dunston granted me access to those old files. Generally, you could count on there being one large binder for each season that he coached - each binder containing administrative type files, meet programs, and meet results - and one binder for each Woodward Relays meet that he directed. At that time, it was nearly four decades worth of binders, each binder a window into a bygone era. Photos showed different clothing and hairstyles. Some of it was familiar like permission slips and letters to parents which set expectations for sleep, behavior, travel, etc. Some of it was confusing, like the changeover from events in yards to the metric system in the early 80's. Peeling through those sticky brownish papers, a seed was planted in me: someday, I wanted to put all the results online. Someday, I wanted to work on a tribute to the track and cross country meets that he cherished, Greg Dunston's Woodward Relays.

    In 2017, beloved state meet official Ray Boss passed away tragically in the middle of the indoor track season. His loss was felt deeply throughout the community. I collected and published comments from members of the community who wanted to express their feelings about Ray. One person who submitted comments was Greg Dunston. Dunston shared that Boss wanted to officiate the 50th Woodward Relays, and that he was very proud to have such a loyal friend.

    I bring that up for two reasons. One: the article turned out well, and I thought I should try to do tributes like that while folks are still alive. Two: I knew then (if there was ever any doubt) that I also wanted to be a part of the 50th Woodward Relays. As I continued to research the history of the local running scene through old newspaper articles, and I continued to attend Woodward Relays meets as a journalist and photographer, I offered to Dunston that if I could be the P.A. announcer at the 50th Woodward Relays, I would compile a script and share history throughout the meet to help make it special.

    After the global pandemic delayed the 50th anniversary of the Woodward Relays by two years, there was an opening in the Woodward Relays announcer gig. I was "hired" two years earlier than I expected. The Woodward Relays is where I cut my teeth in meet announcing. I have since worked a few other meets. Maybe it will become something long term, or maybe not, but forever I will say that Dunston got me into it.

    As I began to compile photos for this tribute, I made a discovery. I have been to every spring Woodward Relays meet since I got out of college (since 2008). The interesting part is that I did not make a conscious decision to do that. I was devoted in my coverage of the Montgomery County running scene, and sure, I loved the Woodward Relays and the entertainment value of the steeplechase, but over the course of 15+ years of meet coverage, something in life always got in the way of attending meets I wanted to attend. There is no other meet - not even the county championship meets which I love so much - no other meet that I can say I never missed one from 2008 to 2023. I chalk that up to destiny.

    You know what else, too? I don't think it rained at any of them. I have photographic proof. There, I did it. The weather at the 50th Woodward Relays is my fault.

    Congratulations Greg, and thank you for your devotion to the sport, the community, and for the opportunities you created for me and so many others.

            -Kevin Milsted, Woodward Relays Fan

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