The Fall Run Off Junior High Cross Country Invitational and BCIAA Cross Country Conference Run

Race director’s report by Tom Chobot

As part of our community service and outreach initiatives, the Pacers are involved in 2 cross country events each year during the third week in October. We do this with the goal of promoting interest in distance running among the youth of Berks County.

The first is the BCIAA (Berks County Interscholastic Athletic Association) Conference Run on October 18th at Kutztown University and involves about 300 high school runners from 16 Berks County school districts. Gwyn and I have directed this race for 8 years, and each year we start with the Pacers for recruiting volunteers, who have always come through for us. Each year, we receive plenty of compliments from coaches, officials, and parents on how stellar our race staff executes the race. One official said, “How appropriate it is that the largest running club in the county manages the county XC championship.” Gwyn and I wish to thank those who offered their time to course marshal, direct traffic, and manage the finish line area. 

The second is an official Pacer event, and it is supported, financed, and presented entirely by the club and its membership. It is officially called the Fall Run Off Invitational, but the kids call it the junior high ( 7th and 8th grades) county championships because the field is made up of around 200 runners from the 15 Berks County public school districts who have a junior high cross country program. The coaches, parents, and even the kids tell us each year that this is much more than just another race. It is their “big dance” and the highlight of their season. This was the club’s 14th year presenting the race, which was held at the Reading Fairgrounds on October 22nd. Gwyn, Phil, and I are grateful beyond words for the unending support for this event by the club and its members. 

I might add that both events provide far reaching and effective PR and community interaction for the club as well. As the leaders of the local running community, this cannot be overstated. Well done, Pacers!

A Call for Volunteers from the Youth Programs Director

There are two youth specific races each year that the club is involved with, both of which take place during the third week of October.

One is an actual PPAC event, called the FALL RUN OFF INVITATIONAL, and is a junior high (7th and 8th grade) 2-mile cross country race. It was designed to be a copy of the Berks County senior high XC conference run and all of the teams from only those Berks County school districts who offer a junior high cross-country program are invited. This will be the 14th year of holding this event which averages about 240 kids each year. This event takes place on Saturday, October 22, 2022 at the Reading Fairgrounds, starting at 7am, and is usually done by 11am. Tasks include parking and set up from 7 to 9, and course marshaling, finish line management, and clean up from 9 to 11. Most volunteers stay for the whole thing, but many only stay for 2 hours depending on their schedule; either is a big help to us.

The other is the BCIAA (Berks County Interscholastic Athletic Association) high school cross country conference run and takes place on Tuesday, October 18, 2022, from 3pm to 5:30pm at Kutztown University. My wife, Gwyn, and I direct this race and one of our responsibilities is to recruit 12 to 18 volunteers. Each year, we approach club members first, as we see this as an excellent opportunity for community outreach and to show those outside of our circle what we do. This will be our 8th year of directing this race and the Pacers have come through with not only providing almost 100% of the needed volunteers, but also executing the race flawlessly and professionally.

Both events have been a huge success in terms of PR and community outreach for the club. If you can help out at either event, give us a shout!

Tom Chobot


October Means High School Cross Country

by Tom Chobot

There are two youth events that Pacers get involved with this time of year; one is an official Pacer event, and one is where club members help with and provide volunteers for.

The “FALL RUN OFF INVITATIONAL” is a junior high 2-mile cross country race which will be held at the Reading Fairgrounds on October 24th. The club presents and supports this race as a community service activity, which is in its twelfth year and serves about 220 Berks County 7th and 8 grade runners. We need volunteers for race day activities, as well as for some clerical duties for a few evenings leading up to race day. Pacers have reported that they enjoy working at this race and get a great deal of satisfaction out of watching and supporting these young harriers. The entire event takes about 4 hours from start to finish ( 7AM to 11AM) but any amount of time you can provide is greatly appreciated.  

The other event is the Berks County High School Cross Country Championship Meet to be held on October 20th from 11:30AM to 2PM at Schuylkill Valley High School in Leesport. Club members provide manpower for finish line management and course marshaling. This is an ideal opportunity for retirees who wish to contribute to the running community. Also, since spectators will be substantially reduced because of COVID compliance, this is a great opportunity for members who are parents of these runners to get a front row seat on the course or at the finish. 

Both events are COVID compliant and every precaution will be taken to safely protect runners and workers.

For more details, please contact Tom Chobot at 484-269-2889 or