Wednesday Night Runs: September 2020 locations

It’s getting cooler out there — what better way to celebrate the arrival of better running weather than with a good-ole-fashioned Wednesday Night Run?

Reminder: We need everyone to sign in (and sign a waiver) before EACH Wednesday Night Run. This is necessary for our insurance and for contact tracing (if necessary). Make sure you familiarize yourself with the GROUP RUN GUIDELINES AND WAIVER before attending.

–September 2: Nolde Forest–Sawmill Parking Lot: scenic trails that can’t be beat.

–September 9: Blue Marsh–Stilling Basin Upper Lot: runnable trails, rolling hills.

–September 16: Wyomissing Quarry Soccer Fields: trail and road options

–September 23: Trout Run Park, Exeter: run on the Exeter Scenic River Trail and Mount Neversink trails

–September 30: Home Depot, Wyomissing: road run with access to Penn State Berks and Grings Mill trail

Shiver by the River, 2020-2021

As of now we are planning to hold a MODIFIED Shiver by the River.  As we all know, rules and situations are changing daily, so all we can do is formulate a plan, knowing that it could be changed.  Here’s the current plan:

  • No series, only 4 individual races on the 2nd Sunday of Dec, Jan, Feb, Mar.
  • Cap of 200 runners per month.  
  • Everyone must pre-register since we can’t control the number of runners if we have same-day registration.
  • Apps will not be mailed.  Instead the app will be posted on our website.  Look for facebook and email announcements when the app is available.  We are also going to do an email blast, with the app, to previous Shiver participants.  
  • Awards will be given only to the top M/F in the 5K and 10K each month.  However, everyone will receive a finisher award each month!!
  • Shirts must be pre-ordered; we will not buy extra shirts. 
  • Weather permitting, we hope to hold registration outside on the porch or in the pavilion next to the farmhouse.  If registration is inside, we will ask that only runners and 1 legal guardian, for minors, come into the farmhouse.  If necessary, we will limit the number of runners inside the farmhouse, at a given time.
  • Snacks will all be individually wrapped.  
  • To further create separation, we will have a staggered start for the 5K and 10K
  • We ask everyone to wear a mask when they register.  Volunteers will wear masks and gloves.  

More specific details will be on the application, and in further communications.  

Thanks!  

Sue Jackson, Georgine McCool, Tiffany Pantoja

Race Review: Rattling Creek Run

by Elaine Cook

Rattling Creek 50/25/12K trail race is a new event put on by Trans-Sylvania Productions, an organization that seems to focus primarily on gravel and mountain bike events.  Originally scheduled in March, it looked like a nice alternative to HAT.  Held at the Haldeman tract in Weiser State Forest near Harrisburg, it’s convenient.  After a second reschedule, the race ended up on August 15, a hot and humid day, but perfectly situated as a tune-up for an also rescheduled World’s End.  Race description lists 2,800′ of climb.

Trans-Sylvania communicated through Facebook and email, and kept us posted on changes and their COVID plan.  When I asked a question about the plan, I got an answer within a day.  Reg was drive-up as we entered the parking lot.  Masking was expected at the starting line and aid stations, but not while running.  Racers started every 10 seconds, beginning with 50K men, then women, and progressing through the distances.  I don’t want to think about getting the results after such a start, but mine were correct. 

Approximately 200 runners came for the event, but only about 40 (8 women) in the 50K.  Immediately the whole field missed a turn.  Apparently a sign was never  placed.  So, we began with 4 bonus miles and some extra vert!  A lot of this race–maybe 1/3–was sunny gravel roads: not my favorite, but quite runnable and scenic.  The trails were gorgeous and either flowing, gentle single-track or extremely rocky.  I hiked a bunch of this and had one good fall.  Markings were only at the turns.  This became scary after the early mistake made me distrustful, and my water supply (2 bottles,10 oz.) proved insufficient.

Aid stations were poor in my opinion.  Not enough time or instruction was given to volunteers at the 5 stops.  One was in the wrong location, volunteers did not know the directions or course, nearly all offerings were sweet (candy and fruit), with no gels.  There was a lot of confusion over directions among the 3 distances at the first 2 aid stations.  Worst by far–AS#2 was nearly out of water when I arrived and would only give me a few ounces.  Many runners were behind me, and I don’t know how long it took to restock.  When we returned to the same AS for the 4th stop, there was plenty of water.  The finish had only Coke.  The planned food was cancelled as part of COVID mitigation.  

The course wrapped up with a really nice view, which we all saw twice due to the early error, and then a long runnable downhill.  They had a great photographer who worked his behind off to get some great shots.  Overall, the race has potential, but the Trans-Sylvania needs to make some changes to convince me to choose it again.  As a tune-up for a target race, the date and location were perfect.  I’m interested to hear from runners (and bikers) who try any of Trans-Sylvania’s other events.

Race Results (August 2020)

Email race results to Race Results Coordinator Karen Rule at raceresults@pagodapacers.com.

August 2020
Rattling Creek Run (50k)
22 / 36Joanne Van Horn8:341st F 50-59
23Elaine Cook8:352nd F 50-59
Rattling Creek Run (25k)
18/66Joan Bunn3:293rd F overall
Double Trouble 30k
12/66, 3rd M 30-39Cody Harris2:48:02
21, 1st M 60-69Dale Wiest3:16:07

YES VIRGINIA, THERE IS A KRIS KRIGLE RACE…

SUNDAY, December 27 – 10am 

At the Berks County Fairgrounds

County Welfare & Hilltop Road, Leesport, PA 19533

The location is THE BERKS COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS (next to Berks Ag Center where the race normally is). The distance is 5k: semi-flat and fast! You will run cross country and no roads. You can choose to run the course twice for a 10K distance, but awards will be for your 5K time. 

The goal this year is a simple, fun, safe, in-person race that fits within the state guidelines. No indoor facility. There is a pavilion large enough for social distancing during bib pick up, hoodie sales, refreshments, and awards. Be sure to bring a dry bag so you can comfortably hang out after the run and catch up with runners you didn’t see most of the year.  

Limited number of runners: 200 (sorry). Online registration only at pagodapacers.com (not yet active). No race-day entries.

Registration opens October 1st (mark your calendar!) and ends when 200 runners have signed up.

Race fee: $20 all ages. Hoodies sold separately.

For updates and information see pagodapacers.com and our Facebook page.

Awards: top 2 male and female overall and top 2 per age group: u14, 15-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, 70-79, 80+. Overall winners not eligible for age group awards. No teams this year (sorry). 

Questions: call/text 484-797-3440 or kriskringledirector@pagodapacers.com 

RACE SPONSORED BY THE PAGODA PACERS ATHLETIC CLUB AND BENEFITS THE BERKS COUNTY CROSS COUNTRY COACHES ASSOCIATION.

–Polly Corvaia

Minutes from the General Meeting (August 2020)

General Meeting Minutes

Date: August 13, 2020

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Via Zoom

Treasury Report – Shaun Luther—Balances are 121% of target, in good shape. There is no income coming in, and expenses are limited to refund checks, scholarship checks, and the check for $1500 for Special Olympics.

Races:

  • Charlie Horse Half Marathon—Shaun Luther—no input (still too early to start planning).
  • Run for the Ages 10K Trail Race—no input
  • Grings Mill 5K and 10K—Laura Yoder—no input (although this year’s race would have been flooded out again due to the storm).
  • Blues Cruise 50K—all refunds were done, according to Shaun. Steve states there may be some sort of ‘fat ass’ on this weekend. There is a lot of maintenance being done on the property, so more to follow on this.
  • Oley Valley Country Classic—Barry Goodhart and Lenny Burton—They are having a difficult time hosting the race, especially with losing the location venue. But canceling this year is a difficult decision as well. The township is not issuing any permits at this time. Steve suggests an event with Strava on a preset course, and others can run the marked course for no charge, no awards or swag, on the same weekend (or over 30 days). Lenny is supportive of the idea, but is not familiar with the details of Strava. It would be a 10-miler and/or the 5K. No trespassing on the OVYL field at this time, so will consider an alternate start/finish location, such as the high school. (Since the meeting, Lenny has posted details on the Pagoda Pacer Facebook discussion page.)
  • Kris Kringle 5-miler—Polly Corvaia—would like to do the race for 200 runners, and change location from 4-H Center to Reading Fairgrounds Pavilion. Either venue is ok with holding this and are flexible with any change of plans. At the fairgrounds, there can be a large area for the start. Polly would possibly like to run the course entirely on the fairgrounds (a cross country course), and do two laps, for about a 4-mile race. (Considering some road to keep runners from lapping other runners.) Registration would be on-line only, and food would be very limited. Masks to be worn as designated by the club. Entry fee would be reduced. To avoid having to place a large hoodie order, a limited number and size of hoodies would be sold separately on the day for approx. $20, on a first come, first served basis. Check for 2019 donations will be going out soon, but the race is unlikely to make a contribution for 2020. 
  • Shiver by the River—Sue Jackson—The directors are thinking hard about trying to do this. Still a go as far as Muhlenberg Township is concerned. All volunteers to wear masks/gloves. Limited access to the farmhouse, no congregating inside, access for registrants would be in one door & out the other. No paper apps or day-of registration. Up to 200 runners and the race could still stay within current guidelines. Possibly staggering the 5K and 10K race start time this year, and have people commit to one race or the other this year—not having the usual flexibility to decide mid-course. No soup or bagels served; any food would be pre-wrapped and on a table for selection and to keep people moving. And maybe use one of the pavilions to spread out. The race app will contain the standard disclaimer for COVID screening. Trying to figure out the awards and trophies. Please share thoughts, if you have them. Already has the awards ordered, and can be saved for the next year in case this year doesn’t work out.
  • Jr. High Cross Country Fall Invitational—Tom Chobot—The season for high school events is still quite fluid. Tom can wait for a while to see what will happen, as planning comes together quickly—lots of cross purposes between the state and the PIAA, so the season is still up in the air.

Committee Reports

Social Committee:

  • Wine and cheese mixer is officially canceled for this year. Thanks to Karin for her efforts, though.
  • A small group gets together on Tuesday nights at Nolde for a run, if anyone is interested.

Community Service:

  • Weekly runs—These have been pretty well attended, despite the weather. Safety precautions have been adhered to, and no incidents to report.

Old business:

  • Venues for in-person meetings. Some areas were discussed with outdoor pavilions or large spaces. Suggestions are welcomed.

New business: None.

Pacers Donate to Berks Special Olympics

by Shaun Luther

Even though we had to cancel the 2020 Charlie Horse and Dirty Pony. The Pagoda Pacers still made a donation to our charity partner, Special Olympics of Berks County. Through donation during registration or foregoing their refund, participants donated $280. The club voted to “match” that donation with $1220 from club funds for a total donation of $1500. Thank Yous go out to participants, Harold Anagnostopoulos, Charlie Crowell, Warren Drezen, Agustin & Luciana Gisinger, William Fisher, Bobbi Johnson, Chris Masterson, and Kevin Rudd. And Thank You to the Pagoda Pacers A.C. for your donation. Pictured right to left. RD Shaun, Benny Crowell, Heather Foltz from Special Olympics, RD Libby, and race founder Charlie Crowell.

Run Like a Warrior

by Steve Vida

You’re in the woods at a secret location in the Bronx.  It’s 1:00 AM.  You need to get to Coney Island, about 28 miles away, but there is no marked course.  You’re about to begin the Warriors Ultra-Run.

Jon Durand heard about this race, and we headed to NYC together to check it out.  The race format is inspired by the 1979 gang movie The Warriors, where 8 members of the Warriors are trying to get from the Bronx back to their home turf in Coney Island while being chased by an assortment of rival gangs.

The event itself is more fat-ass than race.  There is no swag, no aid stations, no bibs, no course.  You do get Todd Aydelotte, the enthusiastic race director.  You get a fun group of people to run with.  And you get New York City – a lot of it.

Jon and I followed Broadway from the start and through the length of Manhattan, counting down the cross streets from 242nd to somewhere below 14th.  This route was well-lit and simple to follow, with places to restock food along the way.  Bathrooms weren’t as easy to come by.  The overnight atmosphere through here was surprisingly subdued.

There were opportunities in Manhattan to see locations from the movie.  Jon and I are pictured outside 72nd Street station, where the encounter with the Furies begins.  (It’s presented as 96th Street in the movie.)  We also made a slight detour to see the real park where the opening conclave was filmed.  Further down Broadway we passed through Times Square and Union Square.  

We took the Brooklyn Bridge out of Manhattan.  The temperature all night was upper 70s with high humidity, so it was a relief to get some cooler air on the bridge.  The optimal route through Brooklyn wasn’t obvious.  We passed the Barclay’s Center and Prospect Park and then turned straight toward Coney Island.  We were spent by this time, and traffic was picking up with the daylight.  But we soldiered on and made it to the finish on the boardwalk well after sunrise.  There were a few beers available for the finishers, but Nathan’s wouldn’t be open for a few hours yet.

The top 3 finishers (in the 4:30 range) will get replica Warriors vests.  The plan is for them to begin next year’s race with a 10 minute head start, while the rest of the field chases after them.  2020 was only the second year for this event.  Last year had 32 participants, and this year was on track for well over 100 before COVID reduced the number to around 30 again.

The race director added a few nice features for big fans of the original movie.  We gathered for the start and listened to an audio replay of Cyrus’ speech at the conclave (pictured – note our masks).  The race began at the sound of the gunshot that kills Cyrus.

Participants were also encouraged to come dressed as one of the gangs.  You only have to watch the first 10 minutes of the movie to get plenty of great costume ideas.  But in the July heat this wasn’t very practical.  I started the race with a Furies baseball jersey and a ring of face paint around one eye.  Both had to come off in the first mile.  However, if you go with a group of people, it might be fun to wear matching running shirts and show up as your own “gang”.

You can eventually find updated information at thewarriorsultra.com, or hit up me, Jon or Jason Karpinski (another local participant) for more details.

Race Results (July 2020)

Virtual Races
Quarantine Backyard Ultra
Laura Yoder- 24 loops of 4.167 in 24 hours
Yeti 50 Mile Ultra Challenge
Mike and Laura Yoder- 8.35 miles at the start of every 4 hours for 24 hours
Great Virtual Race Across Tennessee 1,000K (621 miles)
RATS 20th place team overall
(indvidual places)113Laura Yoder31 days
251Tania Salaneck39 days
530Brock Kline47 days
2221Stephanie Kershner67 days
4595Mike Yoder86 days

Minutes from the General Meeting (June and July, 2020)

General Meeting Minutes

Date: June 11, 2020

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Via Zoom

Treasury Report – Shaun Luther—Balance at 129% of target. No real expenses. Still waiting on few sponsorships checks. Only a little to report—no expenses for races or meetings.

Races:

  • Charlie Horse Half Marathon—Shaun Luther—all refunds were sent for this race. Still waiting on refund for music license. Sent an email on the day of the race to everyone who had registered. Libby sent a note to everyone who donated to the charity and did not take a refund. They collected a few hundred dollars from these donations. On May 23rd (the planned day of the race) at 9 a.m., Charlie ran the race, so we can say that it happened this year, a 23-year streak. Thanks for Charlie doing that. 
  • Run for the Ages 10K Trail Race—Donna Hey—Ted Andrus is donating the airline tickets to Nolde (these tickets are good for a year). There have been donations of registration fees as well. Donna is going to consider some sort of raffle or money-raising activity to sell the tickets. Next year’s race is reserved for June 21, 2021, the last Sunday in June.
  • Grings Mill 5K and 10K Run—Jane Setley—canceled for 2020, no other no update.
  • Blues Cruise 50K—Dan Govern—Mike spoke to the Army Corps of Engineers, they are following PA guidelines for group gatherings. Berks County is in the yellow phase, green would limit us to 250 people. This would limit runners to 200, to include spectators and volunteers. Choices are (1) limit race to 200 people. Questions remain about aid stations and end-of-race meal. (2) Cancel race altogether this year. (3) Run some fat-ass style. 
  • Oley Valley Country Classic—Barry Goodhart—Concerned about a resurgence still, so no definite plans yet.
  • Kris Kringle 5 miler—Polly Corvaia—The race can’t be run through Gring’s Mill this year, due to the closure of events at all Berks County parks through the end of 2020. Polly has biked a new course, but did not really like it. She is considering an out-and-back course that would turn around at Reber’s Bridge—this would make fewer road crossings. But suggestions on this are still welcome. Door prize suggestion welcomed, so we wouldn’t have to count on SW tickets. Considering 5, $100 gift certificates for vendors who are at the race. The hoodies, she uses Jackie from Mt View graphics. Will leave the year off, so can be used next year in case. This would be a big purchase coming up mid-summer. The awards are ordered, but can be used for next year. Suggestion made to push the race to the first week of January to perhaps run the original course—but Polly says that new event applications in the parks are not being accepted until Spring 2021. 
  • Shiver by the River—Sue Jackson—no updates
  • Jr. High Cross Country—no update.

Committee Reports

Social Committee:

  • Wine and cheese—moved to August tentatively.
  • The pair of flamingos are making their way around the area, and photos are being put on Facebook

Communications Committee—Jon Durand—no update

Community Service

  • Weekly runs—The club will consider the RRCA guidance. They will support our club if we follow their guidelines. The club will eliminate the post-run hosting events this year.

Old business: None

New business: The executive board will review a phased-in approach to restarting the weekly runs and races.

General Meeting Minutes

Date: July 9, 2020

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Via Zoom

Treasury Report – Shaun Luther—Balance is 127% of target. Money has been spent on 12 months for parking the trailer at Storage World, and we got one month free, and also some registration fees. Refunds were made for the Grings Mill and Blues Cruise races. Shaun applied for music fee refunds for some races, but has not heard about any of his requests (about $260/race). Getting rebates for insurance race fees was brought up. This has not been automatic (such as with an individual’s car insurance), and Shaun will bring this up at renewal time.

Races:

  • Charlie Horse Half Marathon—Shaun Luther—no update at this time. 
  • Run for the Ages 10K Trail Race—Donna Hey—reserved the date for 2021. Still having some difficulty tracking people down from this year to refund their registration fees. Donna wants to know what to do about how to handle these stragglers. The Club will leave it up to the race director to determine about the refund or application to the next year of registrations for their races.
  • Grings Mill 5K and 10K run—Laura Yoder—canceled for this year. Shaun has sent the refunds to the registrants.
  • Blues Cruise 50K—Dan Govern—canceled for 2020. About 40 registrants took a credit for next year, and Dan has about 8 left to determine how to handle their registration fees.
  • Oley Valley Country Classic—Len Burton and Barry Goodhart—No date set yet, and will determine by mid-August whether or not to have the race. It is still to be determined if Oley Township will allow the race to be run, or if OV Youth League will have any participation with the race. In keeping with the Club’s recommendation to make a determination about holding any race about 75 days out from the race, a decision will be made by the next meeting.
  • Kris Kringle 5 miler—Polly Corvaia—Based on current guidelines imposed by the state for group gatherings, her race would be limited to 150 runners, which accounts for an additional 100 volunteers and spectators combined. The Kris Kringle is usually one of the largest races for the year in the county. This would be challenging, but Polly will consider what can be done with these parameters. Currently Berks County owned facilities have canceled all invents on their grounds through 2020, and are not taking new reservations until next Spring.
  • Shiver by the River—Sue Jackson—the race directors have spoken together about the RRCA and club guidance. They continue to get together about what can be done to stay within guidelines and hold a worthwhile race, considering the number of months involved in the races, and the planning for each event. This continues to be in discussion.
  • Jr. High Cross Country—sent by Tom Chobot—he hasn’t really done anything for this yet. The youth leagues are still trying to figure out the fall schedule and coaching is still going on. He will continue to monitor the situation.
  • **Race director message from Steve McGuire, based on Executive Board meeting—took an approach that the RRCA recommended: focus is on safety for the volunteers and runners. Limit race sizes to 150 runners (in green status, limited to 250 total at the gathering). We understand that this may cost the club money if the race is run with this limited participation, but the club will consider being a steward of the race to be important as well. The directors should maintain prudence of expenses, and any race would be scaled back with swag and food. Some of the races have been canceled due to reasons beyond the clubs control, such as the location owners canceling activity at their site. Swag and awards—decreasing or eliminating swag and awards should be considered, and staying away from year-indications on the swag. Continue with race planning until about 75 days out, and then make decision within that time. If there are particular concerns, such as ordering the hoodies, bring them to the attention of the directors. The Club will stay away from virtual races. Registration—no day-of registration. Addition to the registration forms will be the risk of exposure to COVID-19. For races using Run SignUp, this disclaimer can be acknowledged during the on-line registration. Making sure that people are well on the race day would be a challenge, but could also be put into a disclaimer. Packet pickup—various options, we will try to see the best practice. No awards post-race to eliminate gathering. Suggestion for gift certificates as awards. No food provided at events. Aid limited to closed containers or the runner to provide his/her own item. Convert to chip timing to eliminate the hands-on activity at the finish line. (Ron Horn has capacity for this). Stoudt’s 10-miler is coming up; a race in western PA also coming up, so the club will look at how these events are handled. Currently, as we interpret the PA guidelines, we would have masks at the start, have the OK to pull the mask down for the race, and then put the mask back on for end of the race.

Committee Reports

Social Committee:

  • Wine and Cheese is still possible, but does not have a formal date currently.

Communications Committee—Jon Durand—continues in his activities with this.

Community Service—Donna Hey—there are 2 opportunities to volunteer with Nolde Forest. They have trail maintenance on the second Saturday of the month, so people can do that. They also have an adopt-a-trail campaign, and you can be a steward of the trail and report any issues with its condition (some trails have already been adopted).

  • Mike Whalen has been having some fun with the chain saw and felled trees. Also Shaun has been doing as well.
  • Weekly runs—Matt Brophy has been helping out with the liability forms. The club has had two WNRs so far, and no issues reported. Good attendance so far, considering the heat and the rain.

Charity Committee—no report

Membership committee: Dee’s role is in helping out with getting people interested with joining the club. Hopefully Dave Gallen will continue in his role on the membership team (although his usual post as greeter and dues collector at the annual Christmas Party is still TBD based on the event being held).

Old business

  • The club would still like to donate to the charities that it supports in the races. So a motion was made to donate to Special Olympics ($1500) and the Friends of Nolde Forest ($1500). Second received, and the motion was approved by the members present.

New business

  • Blind Hartman’s Tavern is closing. So the club will be looking for another venue to hold its in-person meetings when those resume. Any ideas of a venue, please mention to Steve McGuire.