Blues Cruise ’22 a Month Away

Blue Marsh Lake
  • We will run in a clockwise direction this year. It’s like a whole new race! We haven’t had the opportunity (Thanks Covid!) to run in a Clockwise direction since 2018. In my opinion, this direction is easier. You get the hills out of the way early in the race. The “flat” side comes in the last half of the race.
  • Your donations at work! We expect to have a section of the course between miles 19-20 reworked by Dave’s Dirt Sculps by Race Day. The money donated by you will go directly to updating this section of the trail. Over the years, this section has seen a lot of erosion. The repairs to this section will cut down the grade to protect against future erosion and give runners a better view. Thanks for your donations!! 

Have questions on the course this year? Check out our website for specific information. Click this link: Blues Cruise 50k Course Information

That Blues Cruise Swag!
2022 Blues Cruise Microfleece by RUSeen
This year’s swag is a micro fleece, quarter zip jacket with the Blues Cruise logo on the left side and the Pagoda Pacer logo on the back. Purchased and manufactured locally at RUSeen Reflective! Check out our Facebook page for updates like these, as well as other announcements on this year’s Cruise!
2022 Finisher Medal


Please let me know if you can volunteer for the Blues Cruise 50k on Sunday, October 2nd. If you would like to help, please e-mail me at

It takes an army of volunteers to make a 50K run smoothly! Without volunteers this race doesn’t happen! So Please let me know if you can help.

We are in need of setup in the morning, parking help, registration help, photographers, post race food and cleanup/packing the trailer back up. Once you e-mail me you can tell me which task you prefer. I will try to assign you that task. I may have to assign you to another task so please be open to that possibility.

Thank you!

Daniel Govern

Blues Cruise ’21 Just a Month Away!

Not racing Blues Cruise this year? You can still be part of the fun as a VOLUNTEER!

Volunteers are needed at individual Aid Stations as well as at the Start/Finish and on the course.

Aid Station captains can be contacted directly for help.

The captains this year are as follows:

Steve Maguire (Blues Brothers), Matthew Brophy (Fleet Week), Polly Corvaia (Margaritaville), Jeff Hills (Rats’ Nest), Shaun Luther Jr. (Fugawi Tribe), Caroline Hill (Oktoberfest).

Of course, volunteers for race day are desperately needed as well. They can contact me at I will assign them or you can request a spot you feel most comfortable with.

Volunteers are needed for the following: Parking, Photography, Start/Finish, Setup, Registration, Re-Sale Stand (Trying to sell old Blues Cruise stock), Help with awards/timing, Help with food/setup, Clean-up help, Transportation (Drop Bags), Sweeping (Will be from Aid Station to Aid Station).

We will also need people for Course Marking on Saturday, October 2nd at 3PM at the Lakeview Pavilion. People who are interested can contact Michael L. Yoder directly at 610-207-4247 via text or phone call.

We will have shirts from RUSeen this year that have some reflective aspects to them, as well as winter gloves that are reflective.

New hats from HeadSweats
Our 2021 Finishers Medal w/nautical theme of course

Everyone who enters the 2021 Blues Cruise race will receive a customized reusable cup from UltrASpire in their swag bag! The 7oz. UltrAspire Cup greatly reduces the amount of waste generation and environmental impact of a paper cup. It also reduces the number of touchpoints to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID or any other nasty viruses. It’s our way of reducing waste and protecting you and our environment. No grabbing cups this year. Just ask Aid Station volunteers to pour.

Other COVID-related precautions:

  • Aid Stations will have “normal” Ultra running selection of aid but runners will have to ask volunteers for their aid requirements when arriving at an aid station. Volunteers will then provide aid on a small bowl or plate. No more grabbing with your hands in to bowls or use of community spoons
  • Volunteers at Registration, Aid Stations, and Post Race Food will be asked to mask-up.

Summer Races Canceled

The race directors for our summer races have announced that, sadly, both races must be canceled due to the ongoing public health crisis.

The Run for the Ages 10k Trail Chase (originally scheduled for June 28th) and the Gring’s Mill Run (originally scheduled for August 2nd) will hopefully resurface next summer, once the spread of COVID-19 is under control.

The next Pagoda Pacers race in 2020 currently on our schedule is Blues Cruise (10/4/20). Race directors Dan Govern and Mike Yoder have not made a final decision yet about whether or not this race will take place. The Army Corps of Engineers has NOT ruled out events for the fall at Blue Marsh, but there is a good deal of uncertainty about what specific restrictions will be in place by October. Please stay tuned for more information, and be sure to follow the Blues Cruise Facebook Page for updates.

Letter from the President (September 2019)

by Steve Maguire

For any of our Pacer members about to embark on Blues Cruise, our signature 50k, here’s a fun fact to think about. Ketchup, or “koe-cheup” as it was referred to by the Chinese, was not originally tomato-based. It was made of fermented pastes, fish entrails, meat byproducts, and soybeans. Chicken or Egg dilemma, as this sounds like yesterday’s ketchup is today’s hot dog. (I’m not judging; I’m a big fan of both Berks at the ballpark and Hippy dogs.)

This food tidbit comes from a recent series on the History channel, “The Food That Built America.” There’s a time limit on Blues Cruise (a bit less than 200 years), but I’m sure the Aid Station Captains will take the runners on a similar food adventure.  The Club, Race Directors, and extended volunteers take pride in their themed aid stations providing fluids, food, merriment, and encouragement to the capacity 400 plus runners.  

As you read this, Dan Govern, Mike Yoder, and their teams are putting the final touches on this 50k event for October 6th and have asked Mother Nature to do her part.  Stop out to share a bit of your time or join the race.  All are welcome. 

Sunday, when the race is over, we’ll be loading up the trailer. Yes, a trailer. This asset, almost a year in the making, is 12 feet long, 6 feet wide, and 7 feet tall.  (We needed the height for Jon Durand.) At the moment it’s white and in need of a few Pacer members interested in helping design and execute the graphics portion.  Reach out via Facebook, or email if you’d like to be involved. 

Speaking of getting involved, the Pacer Board met in September covering a few details of which many were support and position related.  Entering into the November election period we will likely have a few vacancies to fill and members up for reelection. This will be formalized at the October 10th General Meeting–during which nominations will be accepted–and the vote will take place at the November meeting.  We’re also looking for some energetic new faces to join some of the committees or get their feet wet supporting a Race Director.  Entering the winter months, what better time to get involved, toss out ideas, and socialize with like minded members? I expect Walleyball, and a hockey game, to name some of the events that will be on the horizon. 

This is a social club, and with the passing of a local legend, Michael Ranck, we reflect on the times that we engage, tell stories, teach, and are taught.  Stealing a quote from Lord of the Rings: “It’s a gift to exist, and with existence comes suffering.” The fact that Mike finished each of the 45 Harrisburg Marathons is a testament to living life with gusto and celebration.  Given his history with teaching and the grandkids, I’m sure he would find joy in Tim Kirk’s proposal to Kelly Murdock at Labor Pains, and the recent marriage of Sam Dever and Alyssa Kennedy.

If you still have energy in those legs for a run or had a good time volunteering at Blues Cruise, you may get solicited by club members Ellie Sterling Alderfer and Beth Kohl for October 13th.   The Reading Hospital Road Run has a new half marathon course, which I anticipate may prove to be fast and well-spectated.   Expect to see many of our members out both racing and volunteering. The race benefits the Friends of Reading Hospital, which, as an organization, supports many similar interests as our club. For example, they’ve placed over 500 AEDs in Berks County. 

Time to quit typing, got to run……. Steve

Letter from the President (August 2019)

Did anyone else realize it’s been a month since the Gring’s Mill race? I looked back at the August Pacer Newsletter with Matt’s cool new format and we were requesting volunteers and runners to attend for what was expected to be another great race. Well the race directors, volunteers, runners, and Mother Nature didn’t let us down. Post-race, the Discussion Group on Facebook was filled with a host of action shots and award photos capturing the day. 

Gring’s Mill race directors: Laura, Jane, Caroline

A special mention goes out to Lynne Reddington, who, with the craft of a carnival pitchman, brought focus to the raffle tables and sponsor donations at a level that would make ShamWow jealous. Also, over the last few weeks, Laura Yoder has personally distributed many thank-you cards to our race sponsors. We appreciate that our club members and community support many of these local companies that give back through their sponsorship. 

I have to say we probably missed a marketing opportunity as our own Barb Raifsnider felt running the Gring’s Mill race alone was not enough. Did you see Barb’s picture was featured in the Reading Eagle, running up to the Pagoda at the Radsport Festival just a couple hours after running Gring’s Mill?

Barb crushing the Radsport Pagoda run after Gring’s Mill

Another impressive feat that should be mentioned is April Zimmerman’s completion of Eastern States 100 miler. Hopefully she’ll be kind enough to let us share her race report.

Look for April’s report in next month’s newsletter.

How the time is flying and it’s not even Labor Day yet. Kris Kringle and the Shiver Series are already in the news. The recent Shiver Facebook post is a reminder to take advantage of the lower rates and register early. The Kringle post was a thank you. The Club donated $4,500 to the Berks County Cross Country Coaches Association from the Kringle proceeds. When the cross-country season starts, it’s a good time to get the coaches together with a large check before the rivalries kick in. We wish both the coaches and the athletes a great season. Polly and the coaches would also appreciate if you’ll mark your calendar again for Sunday December 29th for this year’s Kris Kringle race.

Before noting all the great things Dan Govern and Mike Yoder have going on with the Blues Cruise 50k, I’d like to acknowledge that one of our own, Christine Le, is doing The Rut 28k Race out in Big Sky Montana. Traversing epic views and terrain, I think even the great climbers in the club would be humbled by the course. She will start at 7,500 feet and climb to 10,000 in the first 6 miles. Then, typical of the ski resort, she’ll plummet over the next mile to 8,500 feet. This has to be the point I’d look for the chair lift or an exit because no sane person looks up to 11,140 feet and thinks “Where is a good direction to run?” for the next 2 ½ miles. The race is 10 miles up and 7 miles down. 

Back to the race Dan and Mike are organizing: They’ve designed some great shirts, hats, and a finisher medal, so if you’re on the fence this is definitely a year to run. Putting the numbers in perspective, Dan estimates 400 plus runners; each runner covers 31 miles. Total up those miles and you have a distance that’s halfway around the earth. Thankfully it’s not a relay! To support this great event it takes the help of many. There are 7 themed aid stations, each with a captain supporting the runners. Volunteering on race day or contributing to some of the prep work will make great memories. Bring the family–it’s a full-day event; however, many of the volunteers simply peek in and out as needed. Don’t forget to mark this event– October 6th–on your calendar today.

New Blues Cruise swag

I’ve probably gone long on this entry, and Matt Brophy (Editor-in-Chief) has reminded me I’m late so……got to run….


Blues Cruise 50k: Sunday, October 6th

This year’s Blues Cruise Trail Ultra will feature the same amazing course with the same amazing aid stations, but NEW swag and NEW awards! Register NOW on UltraSignup!

Victory Bell for 1st Male and Female Overall!
Paddle yourself to an Age Group Award; Steer your ship to a Finisher Award!
Long-sleeve PATAGONIA tech shirt for ALL participants!
Reversible runner’s beanie–also for ALL participants!

Follow the Blues Cruise 50k Facebook Group for updates and news on training runs.

Not racing Blues Cruise this year? You can still be part of the fun as a VOLUNTEER!

Volunteers are needed at individual Aid Stations as well as at the Start/Finish and on the course. Aid Station captains can be contacted directly for help. Most have put up requests on Facebook. The captains this year are as follows:

  • Steve McGuire (Blues Brothers)
  • Jane Setley (Margaritaville #2)
  • Polly Corvaia (Margaritaville #1)
  • Jeff Hills (Rats Nest)
  • Dave Gallen/Shaun Luther (Fugawi Tribe)
  • Caroline Hill (Oktoberfest)

Of course, volunteers for race day are desperately needed. They can contact me at I will assign them.

Volunteers are needed for the following :

  • Parking
  • Photography
  • Start/Finish Setup
  • Registration
  • Re-Sale Stand (Trying to sell old Blues Cruise stock)
  • Help with awards/timing
  • Help with food/setup
  • Clean-up help
  • Sweeping (Will be from Aid Station to Aid Station)

We will also need people for Course Marking on Saturday, October 5th at 3PM at the Lakeview Pavilion. People who are interested can contact Mike Yoder directly at 610-207-4247 via text or phone call. 

See you in October at beautiful Blue Marsh!