Minutes from the General Meeting (January 2021)

General Meeting Minutes

Date: January 14, 2021

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Virtual Zoom meeting

Treasury Report – Shaun Luther—we are at 115% of target. Regarding setting our target (i.e., 3 years’ worth of operating expenses on hand at all times) for 2021, per the bylaws, we are supposed to set our target based on non-race related expenses. The treasurer should determine this based on previous year’s operating expenses. But because of the inactivity and low operating costs of 2020, the target for this year would be very low. Therefore, Shaun suggests that the club use the 2019 target amount. This was agreed to, and the target for 2021 will remain the same as the target in 2019. 

Shaun reported that RRCA gave a refund to the club for insurance costs. The music licensing cost increased. This will be made known to the race directors that use music for their races. 

Races:

  • Charlie Horse Half Marathon—Shaun Luther—Scheduled for Saturday, May 29, 2021; 10 people have registered so far. Shaun is considering a few ways to hold the event: A) continue with the way we’ve always done it, start at Rustic Park with buses transporting from Sleepy Hollow; B) start in Brecknock Township and run some distance around there; or C) start/finish in Rustic Park. For this year, though: No Dirty Pony 5K and no music or anything afterwards. Shaun plans to run the race, unless restrictions prevent it.
  • Run for the Ages 10K Trail Run—Donna Hey—no word on this, as the park is still closed.
  • Grings Mill 5K and 10K—no report
  • Blues Cruise 50K—Dan Govern—Sunday, Oct 3, 2021, Dan is getting some inquiries, but still not sure how to handle it. He is going to start making some inquiries about permits, etc. Registration has been opened through UltraSignUp.
  • Oley Valley Country Classic—Lenny Burton—no report.
  • Kris Kringle 5 Miler—Polly Corvaia—the transition to virtual went well. She had a few people call with suggestions that were helpful. Hoodies and swag were picked up and about 50 were mailed to out of towners. About 70% of the entrants posted a time. Income for the race exceeded expenses, due to the not having to pay some of the operational costs. Polly proposes that a donation of $1000 (suggested) be given to each of three groups: the cross country coaches (as per the usual donation), the ‘I AM Able’ charitable organization, and, possibly, the Schuylkill River Greenways National Heritage Area, of which the Schuylkill River Trail is a part.
  • Shiver by the River 5K and 10K—Sue Jackson—December’s race was canceled. The January race was virtual. An additional race date on April 11th has been added. Sue has spent a lot of time tracking the participant adjustments. Some runners from December have switched to April, and some have switched to other races. They are counting on an in-person race in February. Everyone has been good about everything. For the January event, the course was marked, in case anyone wanted to run it on the scheduled Sunday. Some people did chose to run the course on their own, while Sue, Georgine, and Tiffany handed out the swag at the pavilion. Thanks to Donna Hey for the potato chip deliveries. And a shout out to Sue’s dog, Molly, who did not take advantage of the situation and eat the snacks for the swag bags. On February 14, the next race is scheduled to be in-person. The start of the 5k is at 10:00 a.m., followed by the 10K at 10:10. Mike Whalen will assist with the trailer.
  • Jr. High Cross Country Fall Invitational—Tom Chobot—winter track right now is week to week, due to COVID cases. In the fall, it will depend on what the schools are doing. He has the date reserved, but won’t know until around Labor Day what a glimpse of the situation will be.

Committee Reports

Social Committee: The GoggleWorks is renting their theatre for limited entry movie showings—if we want to try a social event there and spread out. March/April—Polly will look into this.

Communications Committee—Jon Durand—considering doing a feature once a week of the trails in Berks County, and even may make it a ‘where am I’ spot, so that he can have the benefit of getting out, and also get some club virtual participation.

  • Newsletter—Matt Brophy is going to ask Fleet Feet and/or Chester County Running to see if they want to contribute some content into the newsletter.

Membership committee: A few new members have joined. Reminder: all members of good standing as of last year had their 2021 dues credited. The next dues collection is planned for December 2021. There is a membership list on the Web site under the ‘membership’ tab.

Old business: None

New business

  • The donations, as noted above, from the proceeds of the Kris Kringle race, will be voted on next month.
  • Donna Hey—She attends the Friends of Nolde meetings, and that group has asked the Pacers to consider paying for some trail marking discs in the Forest to replace the older markers, and to replace some of the corner posts. The cost is $530 for posts. The markers are 4-inch round, color-coded discs, to be put in place of the current hash marks, and can be placed on trees, for a cost of $850. They are requesting a total of $1400 donation. Does the club want to make a contribution towards this trail-improvement project? Steve McGuire suggests the club cover the $1400 to make these improvements. Can we get a sign or ‘giant check’ donation photo to acknowledge our contribution? We will make a motion to donate next month. (FYI—Nolde is now fining people for any dogs off leash–$250, and fining for being in the park after dark.)

Teddy Bear Trot: 4 Mile Fun Run

Saturday, February 13th
Fleet Feet West Reading x Opportunity House
The run will begin at 8:30 a.m. from the West Reading Playground Pavilion

On Saturday, February 13th, several runners from across Berks County will jog across the Buttonwood Street bridge with teddy bears in hand.  Fleet Feet will be partnering with Opportunity House for their 3rd annual Teddy Bear Trot.  The Teddy Bear Trot will be sponsored by one of Fleet Feet’s footwear brands, Karhu (Finnish for the word, Bear).  We ask that each runner bring a brand NEW teddy bear to the run that will be donated to Opportunity House.  Join us at 8:30 a.m. as we begin our charitable 4 mile fun run through the streets of West Reading!

The Teddy Bear Trot

To kick-off the day, runners will congregate at the West Reading Playground Pavilion. Led by Zach Barker (Manager of Fleet Feet West Reading) and Kate Alley (Chief Development Officer at Opportunity House), The Teddy Bear Trot will wind through West Reading and across the Buttonwood Street Bridge.  Runners will arrive at Opportunity House on North 2nd Street in Reading.  Opportunity House provides assistance and programs to several people throughout Reading, including children that utilize the homeless shelter and learning center.  Once all runners arrive at the shelter, the teddy bears will be donated to children utilizing a program at Opportunity House called the Children’s Alliance Center.  The run will continue past RAAC, across the Schuylkill River and back through the streets of Wyomissing to the West Reading Playground Pavilion. 

Karhu

Karhu is a footwear brand that is exclusive to Fleet Feet.  Karhu teamed up with Fleet Feet to design a first-of-its-kind running shoe from the concrete up.  The legendary Finnish running brand compiled 100,000 three-dimensional foot scans from Fleet Feet’s fit id system to build the Ikoni and Fusion.  The result is a dynamic trainer optimized for every runner.

Participants in The Teddy Bear Trot will be able to wear-test the Karhu Ikoni and the Karhu Fusion for the 4 mile fun run.

Registration

The Teddy Bear Trot will be an excellent way to show love to the people of Reading.  Join us on February 13, ready to run with a NEW teddy bear in hand!  Sign up for this year’s event via our run signup link.  Runners are required to sign an event/Covid protocol waiver and will be split into groups of 20 to embark on the run.  This measures are being taken to keep everyone safe as we continue through the global pandemic. 

https://runsignup.com/Race/PA/WestReading/TeddyBearTrot2021

Race Results Plus!

Email race results to Race Results Coordinator Karen Rule at raceresults@pagodapacers.com.

On December 13th, Jonathan Foley ran the Virtual Sly Fox Half Marathon in 1:57:15 — congrats, Jonathan!

Despite the onslaught of canceled events, Barb Raifsnider ran 78 RACES in 2020. (For the curious, her record was back in 2014, when she ran 156 races.)

And while we’re on the subject of things that are hard to wrap your head around, Jim Blanford climbed OVER ONE MILLION FEET in 2020. As of this posting, according to Strava, Jim has 1,060,148 feet of elevation gain for the year.

Thanks for sharing your accomplishments, Pacers! Looking forward to posting more race results in 2021!!

Two Race Reports by Blair Hogg

Run for the Elk

(5k, 10k, and Half-Marathon)

With everything being canceled due to the pandemic, it was surprising that these races were able to be held. Fortunately for the group of us from the Reading area that went, the pandemic had subsided in August allowing smaller gatherings, and the races went on. 

We had heard about these races awhile back, and a group of us thought it would be fun to rent a lodge in Elk County, run some trail races, and enjoy the outdoors and time with our friends. The initial group was about 10 people; unfortunately the pandemic brought us down to 6. It worked out well, as we were able to keep relatively socially distant even though we were sharing a lodge together. 

The races were held in Elk County, near the town of St. Mary’s. It is a beautiful part of PA, with gorgeous vistas where you might actually get a chance to see elk grazing in the fields. We were excited about the races, and for visiting this area and experiencing what it had to offer. 

Our group arrived on Friday evening, and our first stop was the famous Straub Brewery in St. Mary’s. Dinner was excellent, and the beer was rather good as well. Might as well pick up a few six packs of beer for later! Straub has a decent variety, and the lo-cal IPA is pretty tasty!

We arrived at the lodge we rented, got settled in, and relaxed. Some stretching and foam rolling was needed to prepare for the races in the morning. Once everyone had gotten prepared, the group turned in for a good night’s sleep.

We got up on Saturday fairly early, as the 5k and 10k races were approximately 30 minutes away at Parker Dam State Park. It is a lovely facility, with fishing, boating, camping, and, of course, trails for running. The races were primarily held on park roads which were a mixture of dirt, gravel, and pavement. The races were chip timed, and a “rolling start” allowed for social distancing during the race. Once you picked up your bib, you proceeded to the starting line and began the race. 

The 5k was held on the main park road as an out-and-back course, with some hills. What’s a race without hills? (We’ll answer that later). The course ran past the lake and boating area, and was very well-run. Race times and results were to be posted on the Internet after the race and awards would be mailed. All of the fast runners in my age group must have slept in, as I finished in a little over 29 minutes and took first!

The 10k was held on the 5k course, but was extended on another park road for 1.55 miles. This was not the originally intended course, but trail conditions had forced the change. And the best part was that the extra 1.55 miles was all uphill! Nonetheless, we all managed to complete both races, with several of us bringing home age-group awards. Unfortunately, the fast guys showed up for the 10K, and I settled for third. 

We returned back to our lodge for some breakfast and showers, then went off to tour the area in search of elk. The Elk Visitor’s Center is an excellently maintained facility, with walking trails and benches where visitors can watch for elk. Unfortunately, no elk were to be seen. We checked out other areas looking for these majestic creatures, saw some beautiful countryside, but unfortunately, no elk. Tomorrow is another day. 

Back at the lodge we had the typical runner’s meal of pasta and meatballs, hoping to replace some calories for tomorrow’s half marathon. After dinner it was a beautiful night, and I had brought along a telescope, so the group was able to see some nice sights in the sky, including the rings of Saturn. We couldn’t stay up too late, though, as there was a race to be run in the morning!

On Sunday, we all got ready and headed to Emporium for the start of the half marathon. The course was originally a point-to-point race from St. Mary’s; however, with the pandemic still rearing its ugly head, the course had to be changed to an out-and-back on a rail trail. It would have been difficult to pack runners into buses and shuttle folks from the finish to the start under the existing conditions. 

Off we went on the 40-minute drive to Emporium. It was a pleasant ride, and along the way we saw elk! They were just hanging out in fields beside the road having breakfast on the grasses. Finally, after being in the area for nearly 2 days, we got to see elk. 

The half marathon was also a rolling start, so as soon as we arrived and got our numbers pinned on, we were able to start. Bottled water was available along the course, and we carried water with us and refilled as needed. The rail trail was flat and rather uninteresting, which made for a bit of a boring race. It was probably good, though, as we were still recovering from the previous day’s races. We all finished, and after the races we were treated to wine slushies and live entertainment! All in all, it was a good weekend, and something to be considered for next year. Having a decent group in a rented lodge made the experience even more rewarding. 

End of the Road Half Marathon

Up for a little adventure? Looking for interesting races? That about sums up me earlier in the year with most everything being canceled. Then I see something pop up on my Facebook feed about the End of the Road Half Marathon. Well, this looks interesting. The course is on an abandoned section of the PA turnpike near Breezewood, and includes running through two tunnels! This could be cool! Or, it could be awful! Well, only one way to find out!

Donna Hey and I signed up for the afternoon race. With the pandemic still being a concern in mid-October, the race directors came up with the idea of having a morning race and an afternoon race, to allow more people to experience the event. Since it was a 2-hour drive, the afternoon start would allow us time to get there without having to get up at 4 in the morning. Sounded like a win-win, with the only drawback being that even in mid to late October, there could be some warm days, and a morning start could be preferable. 

Race day arrived with near perfect running conditions predicted. We began our journey with enough time allowed to get to the event, pick up our packets, loosen up and stretch after the ride, and run the race. It was looking to be a great day. 

I had gone into this race with a tentative goal of completing a half marathon in under two hours. I wasn’t sure that I was up to the challenge yet. I had been running intervals on the Muhlenberg rail trail hoping to improve my pace. I had initially started with 8 repeats of 2 minute intervals which got ’em about a half mile per interval. I had started increasing the interval length to 3- and 4-minute intervals, but thought I might have started too late to get to my goal. Only one way to find out!

The race started normally, with cones 8 feet apart to allow for social distancing at the start. Chip timing was used so starting back a bit wasn’t a concern. At shortly after 2pm, we were off.

The race began with a modest uphill climb, not terribly steep but nearly a mile long. At the top of the hill we entered the first of the tunnels. Headlamps were needed, as the first tunnel was over a half mile long and the second tunnel was over a mile long! I reached the first mile in under 9 minutes! I was surprised at that given the uphill start and wasn’t sure that I could hold that pace, but might as well give it a try. Coming out of the first tunnel was a decent downhill, might as well bank some time! And, since it is an out-and-back course, each downhill turns into an uphill on the return. 

At about 4 miles, the course began another uphill climb towards the second tunnel, and we got there a little after mile 5. The tunnels were rather neat to run through with graffiti on the walls and the floor. And the road surface in the tunnels was in pretty decent shape, so you didn’t need to pay too much attention to footing!

Exiting the second tunnel brought you to the turnaround. I was under an hour! I might actually achieve my goal! Can’t get too excited, though, as there was still a decent uphill climb going back towards the first tunnel. At the turnaround, I grabbed a water, and ventured back through the tunnel on the return trip. Even in the dark, I managed to pick out Donna to give her encouragement. 

The uphill going out to the second tunnel was now a downhill,  so I could bank some time and catch my breath at the same time. That uphill going back was going to be a challenge. I checked my Garmin at mile 10 prior to starting up the hill and thought I had a bit of time to spare. 

And that hill was a challenge. It was the steepest part of the course, and I even stopped and walked a bit. Today may not be my day. I finally made it to the top and entered the first tunnel going back the other way. At least there was a downhill to the finish!

With a little help from gravity, I pushed toward the finish. When I got close enough to see the clock, it was at 1:58! Come on, I can do this! Crossed the mat at 1:59:41, and the start delay gave me a chip time of 1:59:30! I did it! And also managed to achieve a 3rd place finish in my age group!

The proceeds from the race go to help the efforts to develop the area into a park, providing for maintaining and improving the old roadways. Running through the tunnels is a blast, and I highly recommend to keep an eye on this race for next year. You won’t regret it!

Shiver by the River: Pandemic Update

Like everything else in 2020, the Shiver has been a crazy endeavor. On the Thursday prior to the December Shiver, Governor Wolf imposed more restrictions, including a limit of 50 people at an outdoor gathering. We had no choice but to scramble and cancel the race and then come up with a plan. We emailed all December race participants and offered them options of switching to a different Shiver race, getting a refund, or moving to a new Shiver race on the 2nd Sunday in April. 

Then as numbers in PA continued to rise, with a predicted spike after Christmas, the Race Directors decided they had very little confidence that restrictions will be eliminated on Jan 4th, as was announced. Therefore, the RDs decided to make January a virtual race. Again, we sent an email to all January runners, notifying them of the virtual race and giving them the option of doing a virtual race or moving their registration to either Feb, Mar, or April (or requesting a refund). We also notified all December runners that the January race will be virtual, as that might affect their decision of what to do with their December registration. We offered the virtual runners the opportunity to pick up their swag on the original date and location of the race, hoping that would be convenient.  

If any of you registered for December and haven’t done so already, let us know what you want us to do with your registration. We are not automatically moving it to April or doing any of the other options. If we don’t hear from the January runners, we are assuming they are doing the virtual race. We are hopeful the February and March Shivers will occur as planned.  

Online registration for the new April Shiver will be opening soon. We wanted to give the December and  January runners the first opportunity to register for the April race, but soon it will be available to everyone. We will continue to  use only online registration, because that allows us to control the numbers.  

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of the Shiver, whether as a runner, or volunteer, or both.  We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work through the ever-changing restrictions and regulations!!  Feel free to contact us (shiverdirector@pagodapacers.com) with any questions or comments.

Stay safe everyone!!!!

Sue, Georgine, and Tiffany

Wednesday Night Runs: January 2021 Location

Our weekly group runs continue into 2021! To keep these runs safe, it’s very important that we practice appropriate protocol. In addition to bringing a headlamp and wearing reflective gear, remember to wear a mask for the pre-run sign-in and to maintain 6 feet of separation from other runners.

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.

–January 6: Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center, 2615 Warren Rd, Reading

–January 13: Stoudts Ferry Park, Tuckerton Rd, Muhlenberg

–January 20: GIANT, 2104 Van Reed Rd, West Lawn, PA

–January 27: Antietam Middle Senior High School, 100 Antietam Rd, Reading

Minutes from December’s Special Meeting

General Meeting Minutes; special focus

Date: December 10, 2020

Time: 7 p.m.

Location: Zoom virtual

Lamar Foley: Oley Valley Organics interested in advertising to and offering some specials to the Pacers. Polly will reach out

This evening’s meeting was called in response to the updated restrictions announced by Governor Wolf, due to the worsening COVID epidemic. The focus of the meeting was the two races effected by this—the Shiver by the River and the Kris Kringle run.

Report from Mike Whalen, RN: Mike consults for the Commonwealth as a subject matter expert in emergency management and infectious diseases. He has been working throughout the pandemic. In his capacity as a SME, he reports that in the last 4 to 6 weeks, the situation in the Commonwealth has worsened, with the increase spread of COVID, worse than in the Spring. Hospitals are running at 100% capacity. 

Races:

  • Kris Kringle (modified for 2020): Polly Corvaia—she is leaning at this point to go with a virtual race. Done and times reported on the honor system, no awards (can be kept for next year). Polly would mail out the hoodies and swag or have a pick up place and time. Based on advice from Ron Horn, she could expect a 50% participation rate. Refunds have to be by check and sent in the mail. The club has about $4000 invested in the race in total. It’s likely that we could break even by holding a virtual race. Polly would like to decide by this weekend, and she will do an e-blast. Would also like to have the virtual runs completed by the scheduled race day, December 27, so that she can post the results.
  • Shiver by the River 5K and 10K: Sue Jackson—the Shiver will be canceled for this Sunday, December 13. As of this evening—the restrictions are in place until January 4th. The next Shiver race is scheduled for January 10th.  The disposition of the canceled December race will be determined by the race directors—whether it will be rescheduled for April or canceled all together will be announced later. Sue is not considering a refund at this point. The January race will be dependent on the lifting of restrictions on or about January 4th.

The Pagoda Pacer Discussion Board on Facebook will be the place to get the most up-to-date information.

‘Twas Two Weeks before Race Day

by Polly Corvaia

‘Twas two weeks before race day, 
And what do you know?
Outdoor events were all cancelled! 
What a tough blow!

We scurried and scrambled,
WTF do we do now? 
Keep the Kris Kringle running,
And go virtual somehow.

Away to the computer, we flew like a flash.
A membership Zoom meeting was held in a dash. 
We changed the tradition, a virtual race did find.
Would anyone run it, would they be so inclined?

Run your fastest 5K, and send us your time.
We record the results and post them online.
We’ll send out the hoodies, and give out the swag.
We’re happy to report, a great response we did have.

Now runners! Now pacers! Now Gnomes and Volunteers!
Go faster! Go slower! Go have yourself some cheer!
To the top of the hill, and as far as you can run,
A pandemic won’t stop us; we’ve got to have fun.

The Virtual Kris Kringle was a surprising success 
Thanks to the faithful runners; it is you who are blessed.
There are a few tiny details, we still need to sort.
Stay tuned until next month, for the final report.

Zoom into the Holiday Spirit

Save the date: Friday, December 4th, 7pm.

Just because we can’t have our traditional party this year doesn’t mean we can’t share a drink and have a few laughs.

Wear your best party outfit, get some cold beverages ready, and join us for a Christmas Zoom Happy Hour.

Who knows–maybe TRIVIA, or STORY TIME, did someone say PRIZES?

Plenty of time to dust off those race memories. Dig deep in those drawers for shirts and keep the old swag nearby; you might need them to win. Stay tuned–this is a work in progress with details to follow.

–Steve Maguire

31st Annual Shiver: First Race Coming Up!

The 31st annual SHIVER by the RIVER 5K & 10K is NOW.  The first one is Dec 13th, at Jim Dietrich Park, in Muhlenberg Twp.  There is no race day registration and online registration closes at mid-night on Dec 9th or when we reach 200 runners.  We still need volunteers.  

We need help parking cars, in the finish area, on the road, at the water stop and also at a water table in the parking lot.  To help in planning, it is appreciated if you can let us know in advance, of your availability, by directly contacting either Sue, Georgine or Tiffany or by emailing shiverdirector@pagodapacers.com.  However, if you can’t commit until race day, that is fine, just find one of the race directors at registration.   For those on the road, we can give you an intersection, so it is your choice if you want to come to the park or go directly to your intersection.    

Registration opens at 8:30, so we ask that those parking cars or helping with registration, arrive around 8:00-8:15.  The race starts at 10:00, so we ask those helping during the race to arrive around 9:30, or if going directly to your intersection, please be there by 10:00. 

For details, especially changes we have made to assure everyone’s safety, please see our app on the Pacer website.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Sue Jackson, Georgine McCool, Tiffany Pantoja