Charlie Horse: A Quest for the Origin

Next year will be the 25th running of the Charlie Horse Race.  In anticipation of that milestone we are going to publish a two part series on the origin story of this race.  Part I will be a short history of the origin of the term “Charlie Horse”.  Part II will be the true story of how that term was applied to this race from the original race director, Charlie Crowell.

Now someone somewhere reading this may say “hey, weren’t there a couple of years in the early 2000’s where there was no race?” Or “hey what about the Covid year?”  Rest assured that even when there was no formal race, at least one person ran the course on Memorial Day weekend and at least one person paid an entry fee and a donation was made to the Special Olympics.

Part I — “A Quest for the Origin”

According to baseball historian Andy Strasberg, the origin of the term “Charlie horse” can be traced back to a 19th-century baseball player by the name of Joseph Quest.

Strasberg cites a couple different version of the story. Let’s start with the one that’s less likely to be accurate.

From an 1898 article in the New Castle (PA) Daily News:

Joe was employed in the establishment of Quest & Shaw, this city, learning the machinist’s trade, the senior member of the firm being his father. An old white horse named Charley was used by the firm in a wagon utilized for hauling machinery around the works. Charley had drawn so many heavy loads and was so advanced in years that he had a peculiarly wobbly gait, occasioned by his strained tendons. When Joe noticed the ball players limping around Charley’s walk was recalled in his mind and he named the condition of the players after the old horse at his father’s works.

The more probable version of the story, also from 1898, comes from Quest’s former teammate, Hugh Nichol:

Joe Quest coined the phrase a way back in 1882, in Chicago…It’s a racehorse story and it happened this way. Chicago was having an off day. Our schedule called for some eighty odd games in those seasons and we had more spare time than the big leaguers have now. There was racing down on the south side and some of the boys took great interest in it…The tip had gone out the night before that a horse named “Charley” was a sure winner that afternoon…we were all in with the exception of Joe Quest. No amount of argument could induce him to bet a copper on that horse…In the last turn Charley stumbled, went lame in his right hind leg, and the field closed up. Quest threw a fit: “Look, look!” he shouted as the first horse passed Charley. “Look at your Charley horse now.” And he kept it up. Charley finished outside the money and we didn’t hear the last of “our old Charley horse” the rest of the day.

It was during a game Chicago played the next day with Chicago’s George Gore on base and attempting a steal and about half way down Gore stepped into a pocket and sprung a strain, just the way the pony had done the day before and Quest sang out: “There’s your old Charley horse— he’d made it all right if it hadn’t been for that old Charley horse.”

Decades later, after settling in San Diego, Quest died in 1924 and was buried in an unmarked grave. Just recently, however, the Society for American Baseball Research found the money to commission a gravestone for him, thus immortalizing his idiomatic contribution.

Wednesday Night Runs (November ’21 Locations)

We have one more week when we get to start with a little daylight, and then it’s what…5 months of darkness? Only one way to get through it — strength in numbers. Come out and run with us!

Here’s where we’ll be this November:

Nov 3: We will run from Alvernia University. Park in Lot C off Greenway Terrace. Possible post-run at Oakbrook Brewing Company?

Nov 10: NEW runners night!!! We will run from the Wyomissing Quarry Soccer Fields. The post-run gathering will take place at Paolo’s.

Nov 17: We will run from the Knitting Mills in Wyomissing. Park in the lot off 8th Ave opposite Sly Fox. The post-run gathering will take place at Sly Fox.

Nov 24:  We will run from Antietam High School. Post-run gathering at Liberty Tap Room.


The Apple Is About to Drop on Oley!

The time has come for the apple to fall……the Oley Valley Appley Country Classic will be help on Saturday, October 9th. Come out and run the Ten Mile or 5K race on a beautiful fall day as the leaves have begun to change and temperatures are perfect for running! 

This new course will begin at the Oley Fairgrounds on the same day as their annual Apple Festival. This rolling hill course takes you through some beautiful farm country scenery of the Oley Valley.  There will be race-day registration with credit cards accepted and shirts available while they last!!

Each runner will receive a $5 voucher for hot food and drink while additional food will be available for purchase. Maggie Gallen, local glass artist, will be making this year’s awards. They are creative and unique and we wish everyone luck in this year’s event. 

The Pagoda Pacers will support the hydration stations and intersections while providing split times at most miles. 

Proceeds benefit the Oley Ambulance Association and the Pagoda Pacer Scholarship fund.  Thank you to Gallen Insurance for your race sponsorship! (

We need volunteers to help make this a great race! 

Make him run for his apples!

Please contact a race director, Lenny Burton ( or Barry Goodhart (!

Any race questions can be mailed to  Thank you for your support and we hope to see you on race day–Saturday, October 9th –for the 27th Annual Oley Valley Apple Country Classic!   

Race Results (September 2021)

Email race results to Race Results Coordinator Karen Rule at

Pacer Results August, September 2021
Boulder Field 100k
6/33Tod Slabik12:231st M50-59
Boulder Field 50K
148/202Barbara Raifsnider9:06:16
Boulder Field 18 miler
4/162Cody Harris2:42:44
73Steven Holgate4:10:25
92Rick Moyer5:17:21
Tim Kerr 7 Miler
110/300Karen Rule56:18
Worlds End Fall Classic – Half Marathon
22/206Nathan Zimmerman2:42
46Brandon Beane3:01
58Katie Frederick3:083rd F40-49
65Jeremy Rapp3:11
71Matt Brophy3:15
86Elaine Cook3:271st F50-59
87Karen Rule3:27
89Joanne VanHorn3:312nd F50-59
94Alexandrea Dunkelberger3:35
159Katelyn Willis4:19
181April Zimmerman4:35
Double Trouble 30K Trail run
13/61Karin Tursack3:051st Female
15Kelly Ammon3:08:512nd Female
48Katelyn Willis4:03:46
59Lisa Domeshek4:45:28
Double Trouble 15K
80/166Don Mengel1:48:11
129Barbara Raifsnider2:12:13
136Paul Makurath2:14:533rd M68+
Labor Pains 12 Hr Trail run
Stephanie Kershner62.1 m11:45:331st Female
Justin Kershner50m10:26:343rd M30-39
Dale Weist50m11:11:461st M60-69
Rhoda Smoker40m9:04:31
Don Mengel40m10:13:543rd M60-69
Andy Styer35m6:56:42
Lisa Domeshek31m7:35:41
Katelyn Willis31m7:39:37
Steven Vida31m7:45:35
Brock Kline31m8:20:18
Barbara Raifsnider31m9:15:45
Julia Hager26.2m6:22:35
Kristen Rothenberger26.2m8:28:35
Joanne Patti15m5:08:15
Third Thirsty Thursday 5k September
6Sam Dever18:223rd M20-29
7Alyssa Dever18:291st Female
9Jimmy Blandford19:051st M50-59
10Brock Kline19:211st M40-49
15Stephanie Kershner20:141st M30-39
19Justin Kershner21:291st M clyde
48Blair Hogg26:573rd M60-67
56Lisa Domeshek28:22
67Larry Drogo30:55
68Barbara Raifsnider31:153rd F50-59
94Helene Horn40:24
Virgil Crest 50 Mile Trail Run
1stJimmy Blandford10:25:00

Minutes from the General Meeting (September 2021)

General Meeting Minutes

Date: September 9, 2021

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Victor Emmanuel II pavilion

Treasury Report – Shaun Luther—account is at 120% of target. Most expenses and income are from Blues Cruise. Proof of insurance for the trailer has been provided to Storage World, as requested.


  • Charlie Horse Half Marathon (completed for 2021)—no report
  • Run for the Ages 10K Trail Run (completed for 2021)—Donna Hey—She is the membership person now for Nolde. The new signs that the club helped purchase are up. No update for the race. 
  • Grings Mill 5K and 10K (completed for 2021)—no report
  • Blues Cruise 50K, Sunday, October 3, 2021—Dan Govern—Facebook post was created with a request for volunteers. Registrations have fallen off quite a bit after going very strong. The swag is in, except the shirt, but that is not a problem. Dan will host a bike ride at his house to have people help with the packing of swag. Nathan, the ranger at Blues Cruise, has a list of items that are needed and can be fixed. So the donations (previously discussed) should get used. Steve Maguire will put up a post regarding being on the lookout for trail conditions with comments back to the post.
  • Oley Valley Apple Country Classic, 10-mile and 5K, Saturday, October 9, 2021—Lenny Burton and Barry Goodhart—40 runners registered so far. Need a lot of volunteers. Lenny is looking forward to the new location. He will send a Constant Contact message to encourage more sign ups. Registration that day is inside this year, along with a few vendors, such as RUseeN.
  • Kris Kringle 5 Miler, Sunday, December 26, 2021—Lisa Domeshek—everything on track so far.
  • Shiver by the River 5K and 10K, first event is December 12, 2021—Sue Jackson—The series is set for this season. Registration available on-line at the Pretzel City Sports web site, and papers applications will also be available. Will have similar wrapped food experience and bagged swag. Temple Fire Company is reserved for the banquet following the final race on March 13, 2022.
  • Jr. High Cross Country Fall Invitational—no report

Committee Reports

Social Committee: 

  • Wine and cheese—Karin Long—Lilly’s Vineyard, September 18, 6 to 9 p.m. The cost will be $5 for members and $10 per person for non-members. Some indoor seating, a deck, and might be good to bring your own chair.
  • Bike ride—Dan Govern’s house for swag collection. Details to be announced

Communications Committee:

  • Facebook—Jane looking for help for FB—Michelle Henry can assist.

Community Service:

  • Weekly runs—Turnout at the quarry field in Wyomissing was good. Next WNR is at Nolde.
  • Trail Maintenance—will be in touch with Mike Yoder in case anything needed prior to BC

Old business

  • Reading Hospital run, October 17, 2021, benefits the Friends of Reading Hospital. Volunteers are always needed. Jane Setley is leading this effort to assist the race director, Beth Kohl

New business

  • Tino’s Restaurant, where we have been having some of our monthly meetings, was sold. We lost our spot there for this evening’s meeting due to a previous booking, but the goal is to be back there for our meetings. 
  • Membership fee for 2022—will reinstall the $20 annual fee.
  • Elections – some board positions open and some officer positions. Open positions to be announced so that elections will take place at the November meeting.

Save $$ by Registering NOW for Kris Kringle

Welcome back to the race world KRIS KRINGLE! This year’s 5 Mile race will be held at the Berks County Agricultural Center on Sunday, December 26th, at 10:00 a.m., and we can’t wait to see you there!

The race travels in a clockwise direction this year, as we reverse directions every year, giving runners a different perspective of the beautiful course. It is stroller- and walker-friendly. There are fast road sections, slow hill sections, gorgeous trail in the Blue Marsh Lake area, and a section of the Union Canal trail next to a beautiful trout stream. Unfortunately dogs are not allowed on the Union Canal trail, so pets have to wait with your friends at the finish.

Five year age group awards and High School Cross Country team awards. See the application. 

Save money and register before the cut-off date (November 30). REGISTER BY MAIL: Print application and mail check.  You can also REGISTER ONLINE (service fee applies).     


North Half Fjallakofans (Iceland) 25k Race Report

August 26, 2021

by Michael Whalen

Our Iceland trip was originally planned to compete in the Road Marathon on Reykjavik. As in most places, the race, sports expo, and city celebrations were postponed. The initial six days of the trip were filled with hiking, casual running and viewing icebergs, waterfalls, and a volcano. I really was not disappointed that the marathon was cancelled.

On day six we arrived at a quaint fishing town that appeared to have some trails on a really big mountain range. After lunch, I decided to walk the town, find a trailhead and determine where I could run 12ish miles and get some elevation. I easily found a trail that appeared to be an out-and-back with some good climb included.  I phoned my sister and we decided to meet at the Segal Brewpub. The 3 of us arrived from different directions at the same time. There was a fair amount of people outside and there was a line to what looked like the hostess stand. Here is where things became fun.

We walked up to Helga and my sister noted she had a laptop and race bibs! We looked at each other and Jodi knew what my next steps would be. I quickly learned that tomorrow morning there was a 25k and also a 50k race, starting in the next town, 30 minutes away. I stayed in line and asked Helga for more info. “The race is sold out, and we are not allowing day-of registration.” Using a bit of persuasion and some begging, pleading, and appearance of sadness, I managed to convince her to give me her email address so I could follow up with her after all the bibs were picked up. I sent an email, basically adding all the info that you would put onto a race application, my Strava name, and screen shots from the week’s runs/hikes. I am guessing that my begging, knowing what info to send, and my Blues Cruise hat and Labor Pain 55-mile vest sealed the deal. In 16 hours, I would be running a 25K!!!!  Since she was not equipped for payment, Helga reported there would not be a fee for my entry. (I did slip her some cash on race day.) 

My excitement was off the charts. Let’s drink some local beers and figure out the next steps. I found the race photographer (from California) and his “crew”, including a road marathoner, doing her first trail race. I was able to arrange a ride to the starting line with the marathoner. Jordan’s wife was not racing but helped mark the course and reported that there is a varied terrain and snow on the course! I was also told to expect a few big climbs. A few more beers and something kind of healthy for dinner, back to the hotel to do race prep. Hokas, shorts, race shirts….check. Running vest, water bottles, gels, fuel….NOPE! I have never been less prepared for a race.

Race day: The race started at 11:00 a.m., allowing time to sleep in, enjoy 2 coffees and a good breakfast. I was in the lobby early and the ride to the start was uneventful. There was a hotel at the starting line and it appeared that all rooms were booked by runners. Why was registration at the finish line and not here? Karma for me! The music was playing, a few professional-looking podcasters were recording, and 50K runners were passing through. My pre-race happiness was kicking in. We lined up and a very long pre-race announcement was delivered. I was hoping that it was more nothing important, since the speech was not in English! 

We lined up and off we went! The initial 1.5 miles were on street and the marathoner I met was at a 6 min/mile pace. I settled in before the first hill. No need for poles for the rolling initial 3 miles. Then things became real. I found a few English-speaking runners and learned there was only 1 aid station and it would have drinks and maybe a piece of candy.

For the next 3 hours, I ran in mud, crossed 12 streams, had wind that blew us sideways, 3 snow fields (one that was on a slope that caused many runners to slide about 100 yards off course), moss bogs that were like running on a soft mattress, several 4 foot straight up climbs, fields with no markings (often not knowing if we were on course), a river, and a few climbs that were similar to the Leg Destroyer. I passed the marathoner at mile 6 and she was struggling with the PA-style rocks but having fun. I made good progress on the uphills (thank you Leki) and was feeling pretty good for the duration of the race.

Not knowing the course had the disadvantage of not knowing how hard to push for an 18 mile race. I went at it aggressively and after the mile 13 river crossing noted that the course was dirt road and street into the finish line. Time for the after burners for a 8:02, 8:42, 9:15 final 3 miles.  

The town was packed with cheering fans: a Norwegian style band was playing and the excitement was better than awesome! 3 hours and 15 minutes for the 16 miles with 3,719 of ascent. 36th place and 2nd in my Age Group.

In closing I am grateful for having the Karma of finding this race, being permitted to compete, having enough gear to “wing it”, finishing uninjured and not lost in the August snow and using the great advice from my fellow Pagoda Pacers to figure this one out.   Bless Bless! (Icelandic for goodbye)

2021 Fitzy’s Run

Fitzy’s 5K is a fun-filled, family-oriented, community event sponsored by Lauren’s Foundation. It is held each year on the last Sunday of October in Wyomissing, PA.

This event raises money to support our Foundation’s charitable funds. Costume Contests, Face Painting, entertainment, pre-race breakfast, post-race lunch buffet and more!

Online Registration

Registration fee for 5K Run/Walk is $25 through 10/24. T-shirt and medallion guaranteed for first 500 registrants!

Registration fee for .3 Mile Kid’s Fun Run is $10 (no shirt or medallion).

Virtual & in-person packet pick up available on Saturday, Oct 30th, from 11:00-4:00 at the Stone House Park, Wyomissing, PA.

Team Registration

Team member registration fees are $25 per person through 10/24. T-shirt and medallion guaranteed for first 500 registrants!

Teams can consist of 3-6 people. Participate as a group but individual race times qualify for awards also!

Team members register online, be sure to fill out the team name field!