Club Elections: Vote Online!

Directions to complete an online ballot will be emailed to all members on Sunday, November 1st. Voting will end on Thursday, November 12th, before the General Meeting. Below is a list of candidates and the positions they are running for.


Steve Maguire

Steve has been President of the Pacers for the last two years and is running for a third, one-year term.

Board of Directors (five positions open)

Brandon Beane

Brandon learned of and started running with the Pacers about 5 or 6 years ago. He has only ever run one Pacer race (Blues Cruise), but he has participated in group runs and volunteered at many races/events directing traffic, sweeping courses, making awards, trail maintenance, etc. He thinks that the organization is a great group of people to surround yourself with for a multitude of reasons from learning to run races of varying distances, giving back to the community, and just making great friends. Running for Brandon has become more than just an activity to keep physically fit; in fact, it’s become more of a way for him to stay mentally healthy. He’d like to continue helping to build a strong and healthy running community and club as a board member.

Matt Brophy

Matt has been on the Board of Directors since 2017 and is running for another 2-year term.

Tom Chobot

Tom has been on the Board since 2017 and is running for another 2-year term.

Jon Durand

Jon has been on the Board since 2017, and is currently also serving as Vice President. He is seeking another 2-year term.

Sue Jackson

Sue has been on the Board since 2017 and is seeking another 2-year term.

Race Report: Worlds End 100k, September 26, 2020

by Elaine Cook

I have wanted to run Worlds End for several years, after hearing Joanne Van Horn, Lori Johnson, Tom Chobot, Jess Gockley, April Zimmerman, and other rock stars talk about its beauty and ruggedness. After two years of fighting nagging injuries, I felt I’d turned the corner and signed up for the 100k in 2020. However, I continued to struggle with minor nagging tendonitis that never totally went away. I watched my calendar and training log with a growing sense of doom. THEN Covid hit and everything was cancelled or postponed. I took a hard break and started at ground zero with training. In April I was running 9 slow flat miles per week without pain, but I was sure WE would have to cancel.  

Fast forward to September, and the rescheduled race was a go!  I’d been running lots of mountainous 20 milers at Hamburg, but on an August training weekend at WE it took me 11 hours to run 50K–much too slow to stay ahead of the cutoffs. Worlds End allows 19 hours for the 100K.  I went into the race with the audacious goal of being able to run for 18+ hours, but knowing that unless everything went perfectly, I would likely get pulled at one of the later aid stations for missing a cutoff time. The late September start meant 7 hours of dark running on wild terrain for the back-of-packers: a real concern for me in keeping on pace.  

Since the 50K had been cancelled, and some runners deferred to 2021, only 109 runners started Saturday in the misty dark at 5 AM. Jogging across the starting line and through the park with Fran Mahalak, Joanne, Lori, and Laura Yoder, I wasn’t too worried about the first couple hours of dark–I knew there’d be runners around me. And there were–for half an hour or so. WE puts small reflectors on the ends of the ribbon used to mark the course, but I really wished for a lot more flags. I kept getting into gaps where I was alone, and then I’d fear I’d lost the trail and I’d slow to a walk while I searched for flags. Someone would catch me, but I was too nervous on the very rocky terrain to keep up in the dark, so I’d be right back in trouble. I kept tamping down panic until the sun came up, and I found myself running with Fran and Lea Becker, 2 veterans. Lea told me, “I’m going to finish, but I’ll be near the cutoff.  Anyone after me, even now, probably isn’t going to make it.” I took that seriously, but I lost her when my husband (Alan) was unexpectedly at Sones Pond aid station #2. I dropped off my light, got updates on the Pacers running ahead of me, picked up some food and water, and set out on a mission to catch Lea. 

The early morning was stunning! Golden light made the yellowing ferns glow along the rocky and low Loyalsock creek. Leaves were starting to turn, and there were purple asters everywhere. Rocks and waterfalls, up and down. There weren’t many runners around me at all. Up to Devil’s Garden, down to Worlds End, a small cluster of runners here and there passing me on technical stretches or falling behind me on runnable parts. I was focusing hard on those flags! I knew I didn’t have time to get lost and still keep ahead of cutoffs. At Worlds End my crew was cheering as I came off the Link Trail behind the Visitor’s Center and crossed the road.  I got a huge lift seeing Mike Whalen and Matt Brophy and knowing they were ready to run some miles with me! Alan was waiting with a chair and my gear laid out:  quick change of shoes and socks, some pickles and potato chips, water refill and a bag of gels, and I was off up the steep climb toward Canyon Vista. This section overlapped with the half marathon going on at the same time (the ultra was rescheduled to the half marathon date due to COVID).  Different colored flags were everywhere, and runners were going both directions.  It was confusing! I was grateful to finally branch off and onto ultra-only trail again. 

The view at Canyon Vista takes your breath away!  I was starting to believe I could finish, 20+ miles in and feeling great!  Still chasing Lea though.  I fully believed that if I could catch her, I would finish.  

After Canyon, the Pacer Aid Station is next at Coal Mine. I was gradually passing some other runners and listening hard for the horns and the yelling. The Pacers pampered me and got me in and out fast, with a bellyful of soup and grilled cheese and some sage words from the ax bearer, Jess Gockley. And surprising news: I was ahead of Lea! I knew I was close to Joanne, Lori, and Laura and on pace to beat cutoffs. Eight miles to High Knob at mile 35 where Mike Whalen would pace me the next 15 miles. I consider that stretch the most beautiful and most difficult. It’s also the longest gap between aid stations, but in return you get some amazing vistas and gorgeous waterfalls. When we trained here in August, this part was slick and treacherous, but on race day it was dry and I felt like I was flying. Even the wooden ladder and eroded trail at Rode Falls didn’t scare me. I got to share some miles with Laura, and before I knew it we had popped out onto the road, and I was rolling into High Knob, over 90 minutes ahead of the cutoff.

Alan had a well-trained pit crew by this time! New shoes and socks, a quick stretch and pack refill, and Mike and I were off, butt sliding down the first steep drop and then rolling along comfortably down a long, runnable descent, up an endless climb, and back down to Dry Run.  In and out, head lamps ready, another long climb and we were trying to cover miles. I was still feeling good, but getting tired and stiff and I knew I’d have trouble negotiating the rocks in the dark. Mike assured me I was on track to finish, but he kept me moving and made sure I ate and hydrated on schedule, entertaining me all the while. The woods at dusk were beautiful, but we were losing daylight.  We almost missed one turn as darkness fell, but were saved by some campers, and we made it into Brunnerdale mile 50 a little over an hour ahead of the cutoff.  

The pit crew was ready, and Alan got me in my last dry shoes and socks, fresh headlamp and flashlight, fuel and water, and Matt guided me out into the last leg of the journey in full dark.  I was stiff and sore and growing concerned that I was losing ground against the final cutoffs.  There were two big climbs after Brunnerdale; everything was rocky and difficult, and it wasn’t just dark, but also a little misty making my glasses fog up. Mike got a perky and talkative Elaine, but Matt got an exhausted, fretful, mostly silent Elaine–sorry Matt! Matt found me the flags and talked books with me–everything to keep my mind off my complaints. I know he was getting worried that I was moving too slowly. At the last aid station, Fern Rock, the volunteers told us we could make it but NO WALKING! It is entirely runnable for that last 6 miles…or would be if I hadn’t already covered 58 treacherous miles since 5 AM! 

So we ran (mostly) and ran and ran and ran, and where the HELL is that last steep drop?  FINALLY we were dropping down the last steep trail. I was bleeding time off the clock, too stiff to run the steep parts and scared I’d fall and in a terror of getting this close and missing the deadline. Matt was calm and measured every step. At last the trail flattened out, and there were Stephan Weiss and Dan Govern cheering us onto the paved path to the parking lot and the finish. 

18:49:41, 60th of 64 finishers.  As she’d predicted, Lea was the last finisher a few minutes later!  A belt buckle, a hug from Alan, a blur of congratulations, and an utter crash of nausea, exhaustion, and almost cramping muscles. I missed everything that happened for the next hour, a far cry from the celebration I imagined I would have if I somehow finished that thing! BUT I had the time of my life! Epic, hard, agonizing, breathtaking, magnificent! Every single person crewing, volunteering, running, and cheering was a part of making that day great! I loved everything about it. I could never have finished without my husband, my crew–especially Mike and Matt who gave up a fall weekend–and the advice and support of my training partners and the Pacers! I would absolutely do it again, if I am fortunate enough to get the chance. Don’t ask me to tell you about it unless you are ready for an earful!  

Letter from the President (November 2020)

Gobsmacked! For hours I’d been struggling with these ideas swirling about my head like autumn leaves. Must get them all on paper before they hit the ground. First, yes, “gobsmack” is a word. I learned tonight it is British slang for amazement. More importantly it pulled together this detail so missing from Pennsylvania folklore (at least from my education). 

I’d heard about the Lenni Lenape Indians from a high school classmate who had direct genealogy ties. She was a cheerleader; I probably thought…skip that…. I was in high school…..  Can’t say I remember anything in detail but I did some research and they were called something like “Delaware people” in the late 1600s about when William Penn arrived.  We know Penn’s work on the Delaware for his creation of Philadelphia, the utopian city of “brotherly love”.  The Lenape were here well before Penn and named many of the Pacer haunts.  Sinking Spring, Oley, Maxatawny, and Tulpehocken just to name a few. 

The month of November will be the 26th running of the Oley 10 miler, and thanks to a unique format of semi virtual runs, you can relish in the thought that the epic scenery of that valley has been shared for centuries. Check out Lenny and Barry’s link to the course and supporting details. 

Speaking of details, a special thanks goes out to Pretzel City Sports and their team that have been doing a great service to the Pacers communicating the adapted format for the Shiver by the River Series.  Four races, two distances, plus winter weather and Sue Jackson and her great team are prepared for another memorable year.  Don’t wait to register–these races are popular and have size limits. 

You see, slow and steady have a limit. Tulpehocken, or “land of the turtle,” is also the name of the creek that borders the old Kris Kringle course. If you were slow, you may have missed that this race hit its size limit. To compensate for outside constraints, Polly, John, and Lisa have adapted and moved the start to the adjoining property (the Reading Fairgrounds) which will allow the entire race to be under one land management. With this type of passion, no wonder this race has built such a popular following. 

This Kris Kringle location is the same site as the one where Tom and Gwyn Chobot organized the Jr High XC event held this October 24th. Where the club’s mission is to encourage healthy lifestyles, so many volunteers, coaches, and parents saw this as a gift of some normalcy to kids during these crazy times. Can’t thank Tom, Gwyn, all the Pacer volunteers, Pretzel City, and the parents for making this happen. To paraphrase Phil Lechner, “We needed to step up”.  

After the Jr High event, Polly was out on the Kringle course doing a wheel measure. The Lenape Indians, similar to the technology of the time, had a variety of linear measures, such as small units like the distance from one’s finger to elbow, or longer measures, such as the distance one could travel from sun-up to sun-down.

William Penn was considered a friend by the Lenape and brokered land upon his arrival in the Delaware Valley in 1682 that was granted to his family by King George II. The measure of the land was the walking distance of a day and a half. Roughly about 40 miles was the assumed distance. 

About 19 years after William’s death, his sons, Thomas and John, along with an official, James Logan, may have organized Pennsylvania’s first documented Ultra. It’s one of those dirty details of American history where our forefathers pulled a fast one.  

Chief Lappawinsoe signed the Walking Purchase agreement (1737) to sell part of his tribe’s land in the east using the 1 ½ day metric. Mr. Logan then arranged and hired 3 fast runners and added 65 additional miles to the earlier William Penn agreement. 

 Chief Lappawinsoe is said to have described the walk as not “fairly performed” and “no sit down to smoke, no shoot a squirrel, but lun, lun, lun all day long!” 

If I interpret the information correctly, Edward Marshall, one of the hired runners and the only known finisher did a 105 miles in 36 hours. Roughly Philadelphia to Hershey at a 20:34 pace.  Not too bad, but I think we have some club members who could have gotten Mr. Logan a few more miles.

If you’re in the Wernersville area, look for the old man at the Gristmill on Wooltown Rd. He just might have roots to more of this story.

Time to stop, got to lun, lun, lun.


The 2020 Kris Kringle 5k Is SOLD OUT.

We reached our limit in two weeks and have started a waiting list.

If you want to join the waiting list or volunteer on race day let us know by emailing

Since it is a new XC style course we will need volunteers at every turn so runners can run through without hesitation.

The race will be on Sunday, December 27, 10am at the Berks County Fairgrounds (next to Berks Ag Center where the race normally is).  Bib pick-up starts at 8:30.

–Polly Corvaia, Race Director

Race Results (October 2020)

Email race results to Race Results Coordinator Karen Rule at

October 2020
Steelman Olympic Triathlon
(0.9 swim, 24.5 bike, 10K run)
Raine Fussner2:352nd F 50-59
Boulder Field 18 miler
Jonathan Foley3:51:585th M19-39
Lamar Foley4:08:111st M60+
Call of the Wilds 25K
72/154Jackie Snyder4:301st F 60+
Call of the Wilds 50K
28/59Michael Whalen8:00:38
Maple Mistress 5K
4Mike Yoder21:331st M50-59
5Laura Yoder21:371st F50-59
Boulder Field 50K
33/109Dale Wiest6:02:30
36Ruth Machamer6:11:31

Minutes from the General Meeting (October, 2020)

General Meeting Minutes

Date: October 8, 2020

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Via Zoom

Treasury Report – Shaun Luther – The account is 111% of target. The caterer from the 2019 Christmas party was paid, so Shaun says we do not have any outstanding bills. 


  • Charlie Horse Half Marathon – Shaun Luther – Registration was not opened on Oct 1, but will be in the next few days. No limit at this point to the registration, as this race doesn’t usually go that high. Trail maintenance on 10/18—they are creating a ½ mile new trail to be cut between French Creek and Rustic, that will eliminate the run through the gun club range. They are looking for volunteers to help cut. Shaun will post on the discussion page—this is the Pacers section of trail.
  • Run for the Ages 10K Trail Run – no update.
  • Grings Mill 5K and 10K – Laura Yoder – no update. Permits for the park are not accepted at this time.
  • Blues Cruise 50K – Mike Yoder – A few people did the Baby Blues Cruise. No update at this time for the 2021 event. There are trees down on our section of the trail, at least one large one that will take some coordination to reach.
  • Oley Valley Country Classic – Leonard Burton – will do a virtual race open for a 4-week window, but not with Strava. Probably with “map my fitness.” Instructions will be put on the web site.
  • Kris Kringle 5 Miler (or whatever distance it comes out to this year) – Polly Corvaia – has the permit. 50 spots are still open. 175 have signed up. Hoodies are optional for purchase, and this will be a limited bulk purchase. All runners will get a nice swag bag for the run, with donations from local sponsors. The gnome prizes match the Pacer colors. Polly wants to allow runners to re-loop the 5K race, but is having some trouble with the details. Message her with any suggestions. Lisa Domeshek and John Thompson are co-race directors. Male 25 to 29—no one is signed up in this category yet. She likely will sell out within the next week.
  • Shiver by the River 5K and 10K – Sue Jackson – She is trying to stick with 200 or so for the enrollment cap for each race. There are people registered for all the races—60 so far for December. Still keeping the swag and food limited. Even though the Governor has opened up the numbers, the rulings are so much in flux that Sue wants to stick with the original plan.
  • Jr. High Cross Country Fall Invitational – Tom Chobot – need about 6 – 8 volunteers. This is scaled down—no t-shirt sales, no food, no awards. There won’t be as many spectators. Need especially for parking and the finish line, probably will be done by 11:00 a.m. with everything. Gwen is hampered with typing, so she needs help with getting the names on the bib. Sue Jackson and Georgine McCool will help this. Tom and Gwen will make sure that they follow best practices for COVID prevention. The High School event is two days prior.

Committee Reports

Social Committee:

  • Bike rides – Larry Drago has posted an event
  • Christmas party by Zoom?? The idea is being considered.

Communications Committee – no update

Community Service

  • Weekly runs – continuing to have a good turnout. Matt Brophy has been doing a great job of doing the signatures, and no incidents so far.
  • Scholarship committee – does not begin until after the New Year; Beth Kohl will try to get something written for the November newsletter and will reach out to the schools.
  • Trail Maintenance – will need to be done at Blue Marsh (Mike Yoder) and the Horseshoe Trail (Shaun Luther)

Old business

  • Board positions open: President and 5 executive board positions will be voted on in the month of November. Some board members are up for reelection. Larry Drogo will not run again for a board position. Voting will be done by Doodle Poll with nominees listed and sent to member emails. The poll will be open for a certain period of time in November. There will not be write-in candidates allowed. Beth Kohl is collecting nomination names.
  • Active members had their annual dues payments rolled into 2021. New members will still have to pay the fee.

New business—none presented

First Shiver Six Weeks Away!

Shiver by the River

The 31st annual SHIVER by the RIVER 5K & 10K is quickly approaching.  The first one is Dec 13th, at Jim Dietrich Park, in Muhlenberg Twp.  Bib pickup begins at 8:30, 5K start at 10:00; 10K starts at 10:10.  Due to Covid there is no race day sign-up; all runners must pre-register.  

Volunteers – We are asking that you let us know in advance if you can help.  For those on the road, we can give you an intersection and you don’t even have to come into the park.  Also, we need fewer for registration, so this will assure that we don’t have extra volunteers.  Feel free to contact any of the race directors directly, or email  

Thank you in advance for your support!

Sue Jackson, Georgine McCool, Tiffany Pantoja

Wednesday Night Runs: November 2020 locations

Hello darkness, my old friend; I’ve come to run with you again!

Bring a headlamp and wear reflective gear!

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.

–November 4: VF Outlet (across from Sly Fox): 739 Reading Ave, West Reading

–November 11: Oley Valley High School: 17 Jefferson St, Oley

–November 18: Alvernia University–Greenway Terrace Lot: Greenway Terrace, Reading

–November 25: Wilson Southern Middle School: 3100 Iroquois Ave, Reading

Letter from the President (October 2020)

The political handling of the swine flu fiasco had elements of farce (Credit: Getty Images)

With a pandemic looming, the US president announced a warp-speed effort to vaccinate every man, woman, and child in the country. 

Pascal Imperato was waiting in line for his vaccine shot. So were the cameras.

It was around 10:30 in the morning on October 12th, and Imperato was at the Chelsea Health Clinic, an Art Deco building in the lower west side of Manhattan. The clinic was one of around 60 locations dotted around New York, preparing to vaccinate almost everyone in the city.

The President had ordered an unprecedented mass vaccination of everyone in the United States. As Imperato rolled up his sleeve, it was the first day of the effort in New York.

Imperato was deputy health commissioner and the chair of the task force charged with rolling out the program in the city, so he’d volunteered to be photographed for the newspapers as he got his shot. The mayor of New York City, when asked, had refused, so Imperato had stepped up. Turnout was strong across the city that morning.

But what was meant to be a ceremonial opening and positive public relations effort would turn sour. That week, the papers had begun reporting troubling news from vaccine clinics in Pittsburgh: three apparently unexplained deaths due to heart attacks.

“I remember that day. I remember it vividly,” recalls Imperato. “I saw those headlines on the subway. And I said, ‘Good God. All hell is breaking loose here.’”

The headlines would get worse. Two days later, the New York Post tabloid wrote of “The Scene at the Pennsylvania Death Clinic”, featuring emotional but almost certainly embellished tales: “One of the old people, 75-year old Julia Bucci, had winced at the hypodermic needle in her arm, had taken a few feeble steps, then dropped dead on the floor of the health station. Right in front of their eyes.”

The stories, it would turn out, were false and misleading. But it was just one of many problems that plagued the “swine flu affair of 1976”, when a US president decided to rush a vaccine to the entire American population based on ill-founded science and political imprudence.  Lawsuits, side-effects, and negative media coverage followed, and the events dented confidence in public health for years to come. 

from Richard Fisher’s “The Fiasco of the 1976 ‘Swine Flue Affair’

The above was taken from a September 20th article written by Richard Fisher, a senior journalist for BBC–well worth the entire read. Given this was some 40-plus years ago, it’s not something I recall, but a bit surreal given our current climate.   

More likely for that time my memory points to trying to jump sidewalk cracks with friends pretending we were Evil Knievel. Yep, while the government was proposing mass vaccination, we were awestruck by a Harley rider that jumped cars, vans, and buses. (Side note–the Evil Knievel toy is back, available via Amazon.)

Times have changed, and the world is decades smarter, bigger, and faster. The entire population of the US during the Spanish Flu (1918) is about the equivalent population added from 1976 to today. No wonder getting on a podium is tougher with 120 million more people.   

While we thought we’d be watching a sub 2-hour marathon in 2020, we are instead binge-watching reruns on Netflix. If you were unfortunate enough to catch the Presidential debate, I’d suggest before the next sparring match you might seek suggestions from friends and tee up something like the 2019 Backyard Ultra that follows our former local Maggie Guterl.   Watch it in advance so you can channel the amazing level of fortitude Maggie and many of our club’s ultra runners have exhibited at races, or save it for the broadcast moment to drift off to a different time or place.    

Hopefully we’ll get a race report from one of our ultra runners or pacers this month that attended Worlds End Ultra late this September. This is the site of a well-known aid station organized and supported by Pacer volunteers. The bonus would be something from Alan Cook, who’s an amazing crew chief and support for Elaine and others.   

About this time last year, I may have been commenting about ketchup and how its origin was Chinese and not tomato based. It was my segue into Blues Cruise that would have been the weekend of October 4th. Unfortunately, as we’ve communicated, both the State and the Army Corps have put restrictions in place that forced the cancelation of the event this year. Posted on the FB discussion page we have proposed a group fun run for the date which will cover various distances up to about half of the 50k course.  If you’re not on FB, please reach out to, and I will share the details. Watch for additional similar events through the fall. 

Getting in some long runs on the weekends might be the key to keep pace with Beth Kohl’s 130-mile October and the group of gluttons she’s encouraged to participate in this year’s Reading Hospital 2020 Virtual event. I’d encourage you to support the Friends of Reading Hospital who have supported the Pacers in the past and this year they are targeting funds to purchase a Mobile Mammography Coach. Try and say that three times fast. Ok, try once. Ok, just mumble.  

Breaking down 130 miles for the month, it’s only 4.2 miles per day, so I’d encourage you to join the Wednesday runs where 3-6 miles is an average night. Some will be there for fun and socializing, while others (aka me) might be there because otherwise we’d suffer Halloween because of procrastinating to month’s end. Our group run attendance has been good, considering, and the respect of COVID-related issues is being well observed. 

Our volunteer opportunities have been fewer this year, but we’re going to ask for your help Saturday, October 24th to support Tom Chobot and the running of the junior high cross country event. This is one of our give-back events, supporting the sport, coaches, parents, and the athletes themselves. Tom will fill in the details closer to the October 8th General Membership meeting. This is important, really important, for the kids that have had their world turned upside down. 

As a club, we’ve avoided the path of the virtual races, so we’ll need to come up with a catch phrase similar to “No-shave-November.” With your best Dutchie voice, how about, “No-Oley”? Lenny, Brandon, and a few others are working out the details to Strava-map the Oley 10 miler for a non-race event. You’ll have the month to run the course as often as plausible to achieve the best between fame, fortune, and accolades only a mother could share.

Polly Corvaia and Sue Jackson are moving forward with preparations for Kris Kringle and the Shiver series respectively, making adjustments and adopting best practices we’re learning as group races return. There will be limits to the participants and spectators, so sign up early and train often.

Financially the club remains on a path of prudence, and if you’ve read this far, the Board felt you should be rewarded. For the members in good standing going into 2021, the club is going to waive all membership fees. We will still solicit for new members and ask that they contribute the standard fees to join the worthy cause.   

Speaking of the Board, we’ll be having elections in the month of November, so stay tuned and watch for updates on how electronically we will be collecting applicants and votes. 

I’ll apologize now for the length and rambling of this letter along with the lack of content recently.  It’s a struggle to capture topics to write about when all you’re dreaming of is that new Evil Knievel toy heading to home.   

Got to wash my hands, put on my mask, and run.