Letter from the President (May 2021)

by Steve Maguire

I’ve chiseled out some time and will attempt to fill in the gap since my last posting in the Pacer Newsletter. For a Gemini Irishman, you’d think I’d have this gift of gab and long list of topics. Two minutes on the web turns into ten, and I’m now shattered having learned that, of all the Zodiac signs, Gemini are the most disliked. Really missed on picking that rabbit hole to follow. Ideas come easily, and they can swirl in the mind for days; getting them out and remembering the path can be the long intense struggle of writer’s block. I think that’s also why I’m a fan of group runs.

Speaking of groups, if there was a way to tap the collective brain power when we’re all off crunching thoughts whilst engaged in some activity, we could solve world problems. Might be a concept for a road race to see if someone could get to the bottom of how much wood can a woodchuck chuck. I can attest, having tripped enough over rocks and roots, these tough questions would be best handled on the road.  

Speaking of road races, I hope you’ve caught some of the positive work being done by Dale Wiest, Evan Falk, Mike Whalen, and others as Race Mates. This April, for the last Shiver, the club was able to help 5-year-old Brantlee Phillips experience the thrill of a 5k through a partnership with IM ABLE, a bit of technology, and Dale’s unwavering commitment to the idea. There is so much potential to this partnership, and we hope others in the club will assist in growing and continuing the opportunities for adaptive athletes. Look for more details through Mike, Dale, and the club.  Next event up for the Race Mates is May 2nd out in Birdsboro, where personally I’m looking forward to participating.

Speaking of Birdsboro, how about visiting the scenic Rustic Park when the Chobot Challenge 15k comes up this May 16th. If you are looking for something shorter, you can test the waters (pun intended) with the 5k run or hike options. If you’re female and 29+, it might be a good place to win some hardware. I understand this trail race is a bit short now, for Gwyn Chobot, who just completed her first 50k in April. (Congrats Gwyn!) For many reasons, in addition to supporting the Sound Studio in Michael Chobot’s name at Penn State, this race is definitely one to support. 

Speaking of support, we were told there were no pictures captured from the recent chain saw training class at Blue Marsh. Fortunately, there were pants under the chaps this year. The western side of the ski loop is the section of trail the Pacers are committed to keeping clear, and the use of a chainsaw requires safety training from the Army Corps. When you see those fallen limbs cut miles from the nearest road, thank Mike Whalen and Brandon Bean.  

Speaking of the lake, Dan Govern, one of the Blues Cruise RDs, is actively working with the Corps on how financially we can support their mission. This is where the phrase “follow the money” comes in. At the most recent Wednesday night run, we started from the upper lot at the Stilling Basin and covered the 2 new sections of trail developed with the Corps and BAMBA working together. The section from the dam to the levy is about 2.5 miles of switchbacks with moderate climbs and descents. Many of our members are also bikers and BAMBA members, so hats off to all those involved in replacing and duplicating what was a cherished part of the lake trail that was lost to the installation of a waterline in 2019.  

Speaking of trails, the Horse-Shoe Trail continues to evolve and Shaun Luther and Larry Sundberg have been the face of the Pacers at some of the maintenance and trail-making days. For the Charlie Horse Half-Marathon, Shaun and Libby have been working out the final details with a few practice group runs being done this spring. It is a great course, slightly technical and challenging, similar to the prior version. Keep your plans clear and sign up early for Saturday, May 29 (Memorial Day weekend), for this Pacer event that supports Special Olympics.  

Speaking of the Olympics, a group of Pacers were able to enjoy a showing of the classic movie Chariots of Fire arranged by Larry Sundberg at the Goggle Works Theater. One of the night’s ticket holders walked away with the collector’s edition Blu-ray. (I suggest you don’t research what anniversary addition it was.) Polly, who seeded the idea, unfortunately was not able to attend as our Reading Knights were celebrating a State Championship basketball game. Adult beverages, soft seats, good friends–I think it was probably a good event that should be repeated. The movie celebrated an ageless battle of training, fortitude, sportsmanship, all leading up to the 1924 Olympics.

Speaking of ageless things, it was similar timing in 1926 when Hans Nolde, son of Jacob, started construction on the stone mansion and sawmill pond at Nolde State Forest. Nolde and Horst was a large hosiery company in Reading, which, coincidentally, made cushioned socks similar to our current running gear. The plant closed in the 50s, but you never know about the inventory. As Race Directors prepping for the Run for the Ages 10k held at Nolde on Sunday, June 27th, Donna Hey and Blair Hogg may have some surprises. Hopefully it’s a bigger gap this year over the younger runners and not old socks.  

Speaking of old socks, I’m happy it’s time to put the fleece lined pants away, and the wool socks that provided comfort working my corner at the Shiver Race Series. With each challenge, as the Pacers returned to in-person events, our Race Directors Sue Jackson, Georgine McCool, and Tiffany Pantoja adapted, communicated, and adjusted the Shiver Series. Their guidance focused on the safety of all involved, and the adapted series was a success. Thanks to all the volunteers who came out and helped this team shine.  

Speaking of … Well I’ve got one more thing and then I’m out of gab. We’re committed to having an in-person meeting May 13th. I’ve already purchased the beverages – more details to come. Thanks again to all of you who keep the wheels rolling on this ride and give so much back to the community.    

Got to go…time to run.

Steve

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