Runners: Bill Gibbs

The Runners profile is posted on Fridays at Today, meet Winston-Salem runner and race director Bill Gibbs.

Runners: Bill Gibbs
Winston-Salem's Bill Gibbs during the Twin City Track Club Ultimate Runner race in 2008. The young runner on the left is Brady Corum, his nephew, who was 14 at the time, 

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Bill Gibbs is reluctant to talk about his own running, although he does here. He’d prefer to talk about directing races and his role at JDL Fast Track, which hosts a heavy schedule of high school and college indoor meets and will welcome professionals at the Camel City Elite Races on Feb. 5. Gibbs, who has been a stalwart in the Twin City Track Club, has led the Fit 4 Series in Winston-Salem, which consists of Hobby Trails to You, Salem Lake Trail Run, the Black Friday 20K Relays and the Frosty Fifty. At the latter, on Jan. 8, the Gwyn’s Grace 50K Relay has been named in memory of his sister, Gwyn Gibbs Corum, who died Jan. 17, 2021, in Alexandria, Va., after a battle with breast cancer (click here to read her story, including her devotion to children with special needs). Bill Gibbs, the runner and the race director, is the subject of today’s Runners profile.

The Warmup





Day job

Works at JDL Fast Track. Pressed for his title, Gibbs isn't quite sure. So here's JDL facility manager Craig Longhurst:

"He doesn't really have a title. He is kinda the glue that keeps the place running. Probably our 'facilities' guy who can fix things that break, but also keeps up with things like keeping the pits watered, moving high jump pits from meet to meet, etc."

My track record at JDL

"I have been at every meet since the inception (first meet in 2012). ... We're up to like 50 a year, and Craig said the other day we have done 450 meets so far. ...

“I'd only seen four-minute miles on TV until JDL, and now we see it every year. You run four 60-second quarters? Yes."

Why I run

"I started running in 1994 on a bet with a friend that said I couldn't beat him in a race. He said I was so competitive, and that's why I wouldn't run, because I would lose, and so I bet him. And I ran Planters, which is now Beat the Heat, in 1994. I beat him, I collected my money, and I was really done with running. And then another friend said, 'Well, you can't beat me.' So I ran the Brenner Children's Hospital two weeks later, and then I was hooked.

"I think it is the competitiveness, not only against your friends but yourself. That's what running is. Oprah Winfrey said, 'Running is the greatest metaphor for life because you get out of it what you put into it.' You have no one to depend on but yourself."

The Middle Miles

Honoring my sister, Gwyn, at the Frosty Fifty

"She was not a runner. She ran one race in her life. She hated it. She hated exercise. But she loved my running. My first marathon was the Marine Corps Marathon because she lived in Alexandria, Va., and I stayed with them. She was very supportive of my running.

Gwyn Gibbs Corum

"When it finally became apparent that she was not going to beat this, seven or eight months out, is when I came up with the idea of doing the race. I originally had thought about doing an entirely new race. And then I thought, 'Why reinvent the wheel?' So I asked the track club if it could be part of the Frosty Fifty for her, and I was able to tell her before she died. She was so happy. ...

"Most of the awards at the Frosty Fifty are going to be made by They are special-needs people that do artwork, and it's amazing what they do. At the Kids for Kids Tri, I bought some posters and they said, 'Yeah, the Down Syndrome Association's kids drew this and painted it.’ That was so fitting because of what my sister stood for."

The Fit 4 Series, which Gibbs initiated, has benefited the Down Syndrome Association of Winston-Salem and the Street School.

On directing races

"I consider myself way more of a race director now. I try to be a runner's race director. I want to make the event fun and good for the runner. I've run races where they hadn't marked the courses well, run out of stuff. That's my goal now.

"We had a guy at Black Friday, and we only have like 60 people run that race every year. He told me, 'This is my favorite race.' I'm like, 'You're kidding, right?' I want to hear that, or I want to hear they're happy or liked it. You're not going to go to Hobby Trails and run and say, 'Oh, that course is easy.' No, that's the hardest thing you'll ever run. But if you don't get lost, and you feel like you did your best, then you're happy with what it is. ...

“I want to make sure that all you have to do is compete with yourself, not run out of food or run out of water or stuff like that. I want you to have the best chance to enjoy it. You want to come out there and when you get done, you may be exhausted, you maybe can't walk the next day, but you can say, 'I'm glad I did that.'"


"I'm very proud that I ran 13 years in a row of sub-three marathons. I've run 19 all together. I've done the Ultimate Runner 27 years now, in a row."

The Cooldown

How I experience the runner's high

"I guess having a good race; I've only had really one bad race, my first marathon. After that, I've been prepared for every run. That does not mean you PR every time or have a great experience, but it's not a terrible experience. I've never had a terrible experience in a run after the first marathon. It's not the high; it's more the satisfaction that you did it, you did the best you could do, and I'm satisfied.

"I try to tell new runners this. You have three outcomes: A time that you'd be ecstatic with; a time that you're OK, that's all right; and a time that you're just like, 'I'm never doing this again.' And I always have either the first or the second. Not the third. So that's what keeps you going.

What I've learned about myself through running

"I can be focused when it's time to be focused. Running is the only time I don't have my phone; that is the time for yourself. When I'd be gone for a 20-miler and be gone for two hours, I didn't have my phone and I didn't care. Running is the time for yourself. Running is the only totally selfish thing I do in my life."