Letter from the President (June 2020)

by Steve Maguire

I’m not much of a complainer, but it is time for a gripe. This morning I turn on the PC and the pages are blank. What’s that about? Yes, there were a few beers last night, stories with friends, and the World problems had all been solved. I figured by now the newsletter would be done. Where’s the content, the poignant ramblings of our time? All I got is simply writer’s block.     

Yeah, yeah, happens to us all. You’re confused, doesn’t seem like much content, underwhelmed, can’t find it? So what’s the gripe? Well, recently I learned a little factoid that was shared on Berks County Open Mic. (FB Page well recommended). Seems a few years back, on a May night, a young 22-year-old found the record button and captured the riff of one of the great rock songs of the era. Some of you have probably slept with or at least dreamt about new running gear, so having a cassette recorder on your night stand and a guitar in your bed probably doesn’t appear that odd. Personally I know I’ve woken with the running shoes on, but that was miles into a race with thoughts of “this is a bad dream.” 

Just a few chords and a mumble was all that was captured on that tape. A moment of time frozen by tiny particles of iron suspended on plastic with the hope this alignment of effort held value in the future. Today we have software in the clouds capturing our movement such as Strava and Garmin to look back and memorialize those efforts. Similarly people have drawn with their routes, and participated in virtual challenges to share and support various goals. Big shout out to Brock Kline and Laura Yoder for some epic mileage challenges. Hope they added content to the newsletter. 

The club to date has avoided creating this new rage of “Virtual Races,” as we respect the guidelines of the RRCA to not add competing events to existing dates or where the activity level on routes would be increased. We, however, have stepped into the realm of virtual meetings first with the Race Directors, and then on May 14th with the entire club as a General Meeting. Thanks again to Karen Rule and Mike Whalen for their assistance. No segue, but I just opened a new package of coffee and will pause to enjoy the smell. Thanks, Jane. 

Around the time you’ll be reading this, our area will be moving into the “Yellow” phase. So what does that mean? Basically, my take is we’re all in a trial to see what sharing respect and not germs could look like. Wash your hands, pay attention to your circle, and if you’re sick–communicate and contain. Let’s get to the other side. If, as a society, we prove that adapted personal habits can influence the spread of the virus, we will move forward. 

As far as club races go, we’re holding out hope for Blues Cruise which we think, for various reasons, may be one of the best formats to work around the constraints prior events to date have fallen victim to. Race Directors Dan Govern and Mike Yoder have been working with the Army Corps and are proceeding cautiously with preparation for the Pacers’ next potential race.

There was concern at one point as the large spring races postponed to the fall would negatively influence participation in some of the Pacer events. With the Berlin and now Boston Marathon cancelling their fall dates, you can expect more of these big events will topple. For Boston that’s $200 million lost to their economy, and for the associated charities, it is something like $35 million. There is no crystal ball to the economic impact of the quarantine; however, the club continues to maintain a frugal approach to weather these rainy days. We intend, once stability returns, that as a club, the necessary discussions can occur as to how to assist the businesses and charities that have supported the Pacers in the past. For now, as individuals, we can think local, support local, and spend local. For instance, on June 5th, it looks like Fleet Feet and hopefully Chester County Running Store will open for more than curbside pickup.

If you’ve been on the trails, around the lake, or as many have shared on the Pacer Discussion Group FB page, Mother Nature is in her glory. If you look closely around the Justa Road area, even the gnomes are sprouting. (A shout out to the creative women of the club that may have planted them.) On the page recently you may also have seen a few Pink Flamingos. Seems Polly Corvaia and Karen Rule have a great sense of humor and have started a game of tag.   Possibly migration patterns may have started on the lawns of Barb Raifsnider and Mary and Patrick Boggs. These gestures bring smiles and encouragement to athletes like a high five or ring of a bell. 

Speaking of cow bells, there hasn’t been a race since the Shiver to annoy the neighbors, but the big one came out for a car parade which was part of the Wilson High School graduation of Sebastian Weiss, son of the proud parents Stephan and Linda Weiss.  On his way to Temple, Sebastian is one of the recipients of the Pacer Scholarships. It was a moving event as the streets lined en masse, similar to many of the road races to support these kids. They’re far from the finish line, but I’m not. 

So with finding the good things going on, what’s the gripe? Well, you see, some 55 years ago in May, that 22-year-old who has outlived every life expectancy woke the next morning to find he’d recorded 2 minutes of acoustic guitar which birthed “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction”. And the rest is history. 

Time to quit typing, got to go, put on my mask, and wash my hands ……. Steve

Minutes from the General Meeting (May 2020)

General Meeting Minutes

Date: 5/14/2020

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Online via Zoom

Treasury Report – Shaun Luther—account is 130% of target. Shaun shared the monthly report with the board of directors, as copies could not be handed out in person at the meeting. He has requested an extension to file taxes—which he does every year. The finances are ok, due to the buildup of the “rainy day” fund. Ongoing expenses for the club have dropped, such as the food at the meetings and no social activity expenses. We have very few ongoing expenses; one is the cost of trailer parking. There was a questions about the expenses of charity contributions that are usually made from profits from the races. The club will wait until more is known about the COVID situation and its impact on club finances. 


  • Charlie Horse Half Marathon—Shaun Luther—Canceled for this year, as previously noted. Only about $100 has been spent. Shaun is trying to get back the music licensing fee. Some registrants chose to convert their fees to contributions to the Special Olympics, but only a few.
  • Run for the Ages 10K—Donna Hey—The race will be canceled for this year. At this time, Nolde is not allowed to have groups at the park. Donna does not want to transition to a virtual race. She only had 10 registrations, so far, and had spent about $175 for the application printing.  Donna will discuss with Ron what he wants to do. No swag purchased, or Nolde pottery prizes done. We have the airline tickets, though, and still need to decide how to handle this. Donna will discuss further with Ted Andrus.
  • Grings Mill 10K and 5K Run—Caroline Hill—Everything at Grings Mill is canceled for the rest of the year, so the race will not be run this year. They are refunding the registration fee. The only expense is for the applications that have been purchased, and the music license fee, so she will request a refund.
  • Blues Cruise 50K—Dan Govern—still planning to hold this event on October 4, 2020, and has permits from Blue Marsh. Dan will discuss in the next few weeks with the Corps about whether or not the race can occur. Mike will reach out to Blue Marsh. No money has been expended, but there is still time. Not looking good at this point, but initial planning will proceed according to the usual timeline. Dan may consider a lower cap number for registrations. Or run it as a fat-ass style for a much lower number of registrants.
  • Oley Valley Country Classic 10 mile and 5K—Len Burton—No date established at this time. Still looking to collaborate with the Motorcycle Club to host, instead of the Oley Valley Youth League. The course would be the same, with a different start/end point—perhaps with some alterations to the swag, etc. No expenses accrued at this point. Could be a no-frills event.
  • Kris Kringle 5 miler—Polly Corvaia—still planning to hold in December. About $500 spent for gnomes that have been purchased. Hoodies still not ordered. Still have a few months to really decide on this. Permits start in September.
  • Shiver by the River Series—Sue Jackson—not much has been done, no money down yet. Temple Fire Company is reserved though for the final date in March 2021.
  • Jr. High Cross Country Fall Invitational—Tom Chobot—very easy to do. Whether or not it will be held is still up in the air.

Committee Reports

Social Committee:

  • Wine and Cheese Party at the Pagoda is canceled—Dee tried to brainstorm some sort of social event. Jane mentioned people still getting dressed up and taking a picture. 
  • Still trying to maintain a connection. Ideas were a scavenger hunt, “letterboxing,” posting a flamingo(s) in someone’s yard to have sort of a game of tag. Look for more information on the Facebook page.

Communications Committee—Jon Durand—has kind of fallen off, but would like to do something. 

Community Service—no report

Charity Committee

  • Scholarship committee: Reviewed applications remotely this year. 16 applicants. Committee has made selections and announced the four recipients.

Membership committee: Dee will be added to the e-blast access on Run Signup, and Jon Durand will help to get this started for membership updates.

Old business: No updates

New business:

  • Jon Durand may try another WaWa challenge. When will be a good time to do this? He has support from Wawa when we are ready.
  • The club will watch for races in the surrounding states to see how those are opening up. The liability of the club is a consideration when deciding to restart events.
  • Karen Rule–Reading Radsport is having a virtual “uphill’ race—bike and running—to support charities. Shillington Eye Associates is matching funds. See their web site for further details.

3 Days Not at the Fair

by Tania Salaneck

2020 was going to be my year to accomplish some of my bigger running goals.  I started planning my race schedule a year ahead, since I was turning 40 and I wanted to mark the occasion with a bang. Two years ago, I did my first 24 hour race at “3 Days at the Fair,” and it was a challenge! I decided that my big race for the year was going to be the 48 hour event at “3 Days at the Fair 2020.”

The year hasn’t gone quite as planned, though, and “3 Days” was postponed until October.  A few weeks after the race director made the announcement, they decided to offer a virtual option in addition, called “3 Days Not at the Fair.”  I’d put the training in, and I was already doing some additional high mileage for the virtual race across Tennessee.  It seemed like a great way to continue to run and train for a goal while in-person racing wasn’t an option.

The race could be done at any point in May, starting at any time. Because of my work and kid schedules, I decided to start on Memorial Day.  In an effort to be true to the format of 3 Days, which is a one-mile loop through the Sussex County Fairgrounds, Brock and I decided on a 1.2 mile loop on the SRT in Leesport.  Herbine’s Lock provided an excellent place for our start/finish/aid station. The course itself was about 1/2 gravel and 1/2 road, with the road being in the sun, and the gravel in the shade.  It was also flat, which is rare around Leesport.

Herbine’s Lock on the SRT

My friend Steph was going to run with me and see how many miles she could hit.  Before this week, her longest distance was a marathon. We’d planned to start at 9am, but we were ready and impatient, so 8:47 it was!

Steph and I just before starting

The miles flew by at first, and Brock finished his 24 hour attempt, having started on Sunday.  We staggered our runs to allow us to crew for one another and cook grilled cheeses.  We were fortunate to have friends and family support us throughout: stopping by to share some miles, cheer us on, or send a text of encouragement.  Brock continued to run miles with us AFTER he finished his race, and continued to keep us going well into the night.

My plan had been to run as far as we could the first day and take some of the pressure off for the second; we would sleep each night instead of pushing through.  52 miles on Monday set us up nicely for Tuesday.  Steph now had a PR for 50k, 40 miles, and 50 miles! I felt pretty good that I could hit the 100 that had previously eluded me.

Tuesday morning, Steph needed some extra time off her feet.  Laura Yoder was just finishing her 72 hour event, and had already shared miles with us earlier in the weekend.  She came back to the course to share some more miles and finish her amazing feat! As an added bonus, Mike got there just as she was finishing to do five more miles.  In the early hours before anyone joined us, Laura and I got to see a newly-born fawn hiding in the grass for a few laps before her mother came to collect her.

Brock brought me some lunch and I took a decent break in the shade.  I was at 71 miles. My mom timed a visit to the lock perfectly and we got to chat for a bit. The sun was starting to really take a toll on me.  I decided when I started again that I would do out-and-backs in the shade as long as the sun was so brutal.  That helped immensely. I continued through the afternoon, and I took a longer break at 85 miles, which was my previous distance PR.

As a I was resting, Steph re-appeared and wanted to do more miles! Brock was also going to run again, this time to pace his daughter, Vanessa, for her virtual GOTR 5k.  Now it was a party, and exactly the energy I needed so far into the race.  After they finished, Steph and I continued on and relished the respite of the setting sun, and Brock joined us for the final few miles.  My goal was 101, which is when you get a coin at 3DATF.  Right around midnight, we stopped for the night, Steph with 68, and me with 101.3.  I wasn’t going to run another loop to change it at that point, and I knew I had a few more hours in the morning before our race officially ended.

I was pretty sore when I woke up, but moving helped.  I needed a break from the trail though.  I was tired of digging gravel out of my shoes, so I decided to finish the last hours of my race on the one-mile loop in my development, and it was slow! Meanwhile, Brock realized that he was almost at 100 miles over 72 hours from all the additional loops he’d done with us.  He was running the trail to get a 72 hour finish now!

So Wednesday morning, when everything was done, Steph had 68 miles in 48 hours, I had 105 miles in 48 hours, and Brock had 101 (enough for the coin!) in 72 hours.

I’m so hopeful that we’ll be able to race “3 Days” in person in October.  I doubted myself for a long time about being able to do 100 miles, but having succeeded, I have to see if I can push further.  Just before I headed out for my last miles on Wednesday morning, someone posted a quote that they keep on their running wall, attributed to Lazarus Lake of Barkley’s fame (and also the virtual Tennessee race I’m in the midst of):

I’ve failed at my goals before, but this time I didn’t.  It made the victory all that much sweeter.  I’ll fail again, but beyond that will come more success.  Either way, I’m just going to keep reaching for new goals.

Let’s Play Tag — with Flamingos

How do you know if you are “IT”?

If you find a pink flamingo in your yard…. you’re IT!!  

I found a flamingo in my yard… Now what?

Devise a running route that goes past another Pacer’s house and place the flamingo in their yard. Take a picture and post it on the Pagoda Pacers Facebook page with #PacerFlamingoTag. Try to keep the flamingo on its travels and pass him along within a few days! The more our lovely bird flies, the more fun this will be.  

Do I have to run to the Pacer’s house from my house?

No! Your route can start anywhere. You can run from your house to the Pacer’s house of your choice, or just drive somewhere close to the person you want to “tag” and do a “run by” tagging. No need to even post your run map. We’ll trust that you ran past the house in order to place the flamingo.  

Have fun!!!  Can’t wait to see the fun Flamingo pictures!!

Summer Races Canceled

The race directors for our summer races have announced that, sadly, both races must be canceled due to the ongoing public health crisis.

The Run for the Ages 10k Trail Chase (originally scheduled for June 28th) and the Gring’s Mill Run (originally scheduled for August 2nd) will hopefully resurface next summer, once the spread of COVID-19 is under control.

The next Pagoda Pacers race in 2020 currently on our schedule is Blues Cruise (10/4/20). Race directors Dan Govern and Mike Yoder have not made a final decision yet about whether or not this race will take place. The Army Corps of Engineers has NOT ruled out events for the fall at Blue Marsh, but there is a good deal of uncertainty about what specific restrictions will be in place by October. Please stay tuned for more information, and be sure to follow the Blues Cruise Facebook Page for updates.

Lou D’Onofrio’s Neighborhood Quarantine Ultra

The weather was great the weekend of May 9th — great to go long.  I ran a neighborhood quarantine ultra event as part of three virtual races: Dawn to Dusk to Dawn 24 hour, Athletic Equation Social Distance Ultra, and the Yeti 24 hour Challenge.

We loved making my run a community event that exposed first hand many of our neighbors to ultrarunning.  It was great to enjoy the run with so many people while keeping physical distance. I was happy that it provided inspiration and positivity during these challenging times. 

Although I didn’t race it, I was pleased with a 106.44 mile result along with 4,728 feet of ascent, by covering a 1.5 mile neighborhood road loop for the full 24 hours.  

Letter from the President (May 2020)

If you’re reading this now, I’ve squeezed in under the wire, and I’m busy celebrating La Fete du Muguet, the festival of the lily-of-the-valley. Of French origin, this celebration includes giving bouquets of lilies to loved ones, wishing them health and happiness. How timely and difficult as we continue on this path of Pennsylvania Quarantine life from around mid-March. Yes, there are parents who could recite the moment it all began.

We’re going to get to the other side of this and have the greatest discussion of hindsight ever documented. At this moment, however, there is some elder going rhino, hippo, and what the hell is a hypotenuse. Add the algebra questions and solving for zero and that’s only middle school. This is going to push some to drink. Tequila, I say, as we’re only days away from Cinco-de-Mayo. The late Mayans from Central America would tell us: “Don’t trust visitors!” That Spanish sailor, so friendly, Jolly-Jack I’ll call him, probably had no understanding of the reach of his actions as he unwittingly spread small pox with a more deadly outcome than the worst bottom shelf bottle of Cuervo could deliver. 

Jolly-Jack only had his friend Portly-Pete and Captain Bob in his group of friends that he felt knew anything about the ways of life. Over many a beer, they shared tales of ports, fish, and women, some they hooked, some they spoiled, and some happy never to see them again. The outcome of his actions reflected what little they knew could be communicated at the time. 

Our Race Directors, however, through the use of technology provided by Mike Whalen, recently shared their combined knowledge (and that of our RRCA insurance) to stay current with the potential expectations to organize a running event. Donna Hey, as the Race Director for Run for the Ages (6/28), has put all spending on hold, similar to the steps of the Charlie Horse RDs, and recently shut down the signups for the event. Early May will provide some insight to how the state, county, and Nolde Environmental Center will view the gathering of 400+ participants, but it does not look good. We do expect all races organized by the club will be “no frills” if and when they do occur. The reality that the Berlin Marathon already cancelled a September 27th date does not bode well for large running events. Boston today is about 20 weeks out for a 9/14 rescheduled date, which has a host of implications where participants can’t run a race, prior to a race, to qualify for race, for a race that may not occur. 

With all the big races that have been postponed and moved to the fall, it is yet to be seen how this will impact races such as Blues Cruise in October or Oley in November. The smaller races may be viewed to participants as more manageable and nimble to the conditions of the time.  With the green light to start organizing again, will come the training to our volunteers on best practices, what we can provide, and what becomes the “new normal”.   The food spreads of our regionally know festive aid stations may be put on the back burner for a bit. This is not a time our club needs to be the leader.  

Remember Jolly-Jack? Well, he could tell a tale of the biggest fish. Spread your arms wide as you may, but Jack’s was bigger. (Size matters.) Under the stars, as they crossed the vast ocean from Spain, Jack told of great battles with detail where you could almost see the shimmer as the fish jumped in the distance. The coxswain, quiet in shadows, had tales closer to his heart.  You see without boast he did the work, honed his skills, and found challenge while the boat was in port. Call this his virtual fishing trip.

The solo events are not new; however, they have become an organized outlet to challenge, motivate, and set goals while the physical distancing is in place. Who would have thought the Big Dog Backyard Ultra could be executed globally as a virtual race with participants running 4.2 miles every hour until……  Yes: Michael Wardian went 63 hours and felt the race shouldn’t have ended at 264 miles. Check the FB page out, as it’s worth seeing the runners that used treadmills, coffee shops, and even a frozen lake as their course. In more sane distances, we’ve seen many of the Pagoda Pacers participate in similar virtual events, and some were willing to share in this newsletter. 

So why don’t the Pagoda Pacers organize a virtual race? At least from my eyes, let’s head back to the Spanish fleet and reference Captain Bob. You see one of the Dutch Uncles (everybody know that phrase?), let’s call him Sheldon (aka, RRCA), suggested some guidelines early in this quagmire that stepping on the toes of other races wasn’t akin to the best interest of the whole.

Many races are planned well in advance, and there wasn’t a clear understanding when to cancel and how large the impact would become. What they have instructed, to be fair, was to respect your dates, and if you had a race and wanted to convert to something virtual, that was reasonable. They didn’t support new events taking participants others needed simply to survive or break even. So what about something new or random we pose to Captain Bob, Jack’s buddy. In the harshest of seafaring cursing, he’ll tell ya don’t do nut’n that brings more boats to a fish’n hole. Anybody that runs Nolde, Grings, Blue Marsh, and Neversink will tell you that the last thing we needed to encourage is more people to get on common roads and trails. 

Times are changing, and the next 3 weeks of May will bring some insight to how the state will open back up and what the economy will look like.  Personally I’ve seen an outpouring to those that work in the health field and the admiration of being on the front line, but let us not forget those with tremendous financial cuts, lost wages, and possibly jobs not there to return to. If you have a free dime, give it, spend it, and share it locally. Thankfully the club is healthy as the membership has done a prudent job of cost containment and preparing for a rainy day.   

Soon it will be time for the group to band together, organize, and encourage athletic activity simply to help the community reach a new normal. This is our mission statement: not a race, not a singular event, but a culture. 

Time to quit typing–got to go put on my mask and wash my hands ……. Steve