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.

Wednesday Night Runs: August 2020 locations

The return of Wednesday Night Runs has been a success thus far. Let’s keep it going in August!

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.

Hope to see you out there!

–August 5: John Bartram Trail in Hamburg: rail trail out-and-back (flat) with option to climb up Blue Mountain via the AT or LD (Leg Destroyer).

–August 12: Antietam High School: run roads around Pennside or shoot over to Antietam Lake Park and Mount Penn for some trails.

–August 19: Blue Marsh — Justa Rd Parking Lot: trail run, rolling hills.

–August 26: Thun Trail — Brentwood Lot: out-and-back on the Thun section of the Schuylkill River Trail (flat and fast!), or run the roads all the way out to Shillington and back.

Update on Club Races

Race Directors Dan Govern and Mike Yoder announced on June 19th that the Blues Cruise 50k will not take place this year due to a variety of issues and uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and construction at Blue Marsh. While this was, of course, sad news to hear, we hope everyone understands that it was unavoidable, and we hope that enthusiasm for the Blues Cruise will be fully revived when the race returns in October 2021.

The Board of Directors met on June 22nd (via Zoom) to discuss the remaining club races for 2020 (Oley Valley Country Classic, Shiver by the River series, Kris Kringle 5-Miler). While we are hopeful that, if Berks County remains in “green,” these races may happen, there is still a tremendous amount of uncertainty about what the future may bring, what modifications would be required to hold a race, and whether or not it will make practical sense to do so. (Even if the infection rate in Berks remains low, holding a race under current guidelines will present significant challenges.)

We expect race directors to make a final decision about each remaining race–in consultation with the Board of Directors–at least two months prior to the scheduled date for each race. Be sure to follow each race’s Facebook page for the latest updates and announcements.

Going Vertical

by Jim Blandford

On May 25th, I started an adventure known as the Limitless Vertical 7-day Challenge. The idea of the challenge is to get as much vert as one can for 7 days. This virtual challenge was put on by Aravaipa Running in Phoenix, Arizona. There were three divisions: (1) 100% Trail or Outdoors, (2) Indoors (i.e. treadmill, stairs, etc.), and (3) a combination of the two. I was entered in the 100% Trail or Outdoors division. The event was a perfect fit for me, as I had the full 7 days off from work, support at home and from friends, and plenty of hill training leading up to it. Most days I was going up and down the hills in Port Clinton for around 10 hours. Throughout the week, many friends stopped by to go up/down with me or to bring some awesome food and drinks. By the end of the event, I reached 100,305 feet of vertical gain over 192.3 miles. Over 6 days, 7 hours, 54 minutes I had spent 64 hours and 33 minutes on my feet going up and down those hills. It was a great experience for learning how the body feels day after day and learning how to control my pace. Most of the time I hiked up the hills and ran down. I am fortunate to be able to train with many runners from the Pacers and others in the hilly Hamburg/Port Clinton area. I cannot wait for the next adventure. 

Watch Jim’s interview with race director Julie Neisch:

Pat Heine’s video gives us some further insight into Jim’s approach:

Take a virtual tour of the Appalachian Trail as you hike with Jim up the mountain in Port Clinton: