TEAM WEJO, the LetsRun.com fanclub of Weldon Johnson, made quite an impression at last weekend's Olympic Trials. Although the runner they were supporting, Weldon Johnson, failed in his quest to make the Olympic Team, TEAM WEJO members left their mark on Pittsburgh and took race watching and support to a new level.
TEAM WEJO had at least 45 members present in Pittsburgh, adorned in their matching TEAM WEJO/LetsRun.com t-shirts. Members came from all over the country, whether it was the Yalies making the 8 hour drive from New Haven, CT, to people flying in by plane from as far away as California. All were united in their support of the darkhorse candidate for the Trials, LetsRun.com's Weldon Johnson. Other TEAM WEJO members unable to make the trek to Pittsburgh, expressed their support via email or phone calls (one from as far away as Morocco!).
The former high-school All-American teammate of Weldon, Erick Hawkins, designed the t-shirts for all TEAM WEJO members, and everyone was looking sharp as they gathered for the all-day party the day before the race hosted by the ever gracious Taylor family. The Taylor's covered all of the bases in the pre-race party as TEAM WEJO members had a plethora of food, and 2 kegs of beer to choose from. The festivities lasted from midafternoon, well into the night, as fun was had by all.
However, the fan club supporters saved up their energy for the race where they took marathon spectating to a new level. The TEAM WEJO mob dispersed throughout the course, and there was rarely a stretch of more than a mile where supporters were not present. Other spectators became defacto TEAM WEJO members when they were swept up by the euphoria. TEAM WEJO supporters stayed in contact with each other about the performance of Weldon, via cell phone. Their anticipation rose as Weldon overcame his slow start, and joined the winning pack through mile 14, but soon their hopes for Weldon would fade as he wilted in the heat.
But TEAM WEJO members are running afficionados, and they lent their support to everyone on the course. More than one runner was heard after the race expressing their amazement with TEAM WEJO. Teddy Mitchell, one of the more colorful runners on the running circuit, expressed the view of many, "TEAM WEJO was incredible. They were everywhere. And they were cheering for me. Their support was great."
In fact, TEAM WEJO members had so much fun during the race that one of the runners joined the team during the race. Carlos Paradelo, coming off an injury, was not having a good day, but he was intent on finishing the race. He asked TEAM WEJO members how Weldon was doing, and they told him it was not to be Weldon's day. However, they invited him to watch the final minutes of the race on their portable t.v. and he took them up on the offer. He then finished his race.
Click here to see the pictorial of TEAM WEJO's activities
Click here to go to the LetsRun.com Olympic Trials Section
TEAM WEJO Members, click here for a special section.