Jay Diener hard at work at a Great Bay 5K back in 2002.

If you’ve ever noticed one of the fastest race walkers at the Great Bay 5K, or received an award at the end of the race, you’ve probably encountered Jay Diener.  Alongside Reserve Education Coordinator Kelle Loughlin, Jay was responsible for the inception of the Great Bay 5K; he also served on the Great Bay Stewards board for more than a decade and was chair from 2011 to 2013.  Although he’s moved on to other projects, he still serves on the GB5K committee and devotes countless hours to continuing the event’s success.

 How did you get involved with the Great Bay Stewards? 

We met John and Natalie Fortin when we stayed at their B&B a few times (1996-97) while looking for a home – we were moving to New Hampshire from New Jersey. Over the course of our stays, Natalie told me about the Stewards, and with my race organizing background, encouraged me to work with the Stewards to create a road race as a fundraiser. The first race was in 1999.

What is a favorite memory you have of working with the Stewards? 

The excitement around creating that first road race, and the way everything came together, with only very minor issues, on race day. It was great work from a team that, for the most part, had never participated in or organized a road race before.

What is your proudest accomplishment, or the accomplishment you’re proudest of being a part of? 

Nancy Cauvet, when Chair of the Stewards Board, started the process of an external review of the Board and our goals. We continued that process when I took over as Chair, and one of the outcomes was the decision to create an Executive Director position, and to hire Peter Wellenberger as the Steward’s first E.D.

How did you benefit from your involvement with the Stewards? 

I made some great friends; I feel like we did some great work; and I learned a lot about environmental stewardship. My experiences with, and the knowledge gained from my involvement with the Stewards, enabled me to form the Seabrook-Hamptons Estuary Alliance (SHEA), which is focusing some good attention on the health of the state’s second-largest estuary.

Anything else you’d like to share?  Any funny or interesting memories?

At our first GB5K road race, the only way to secure the START banner was to tie one end of it to the roof rack on Peter Flynn’s car. The Stewards always found a way to make things work.