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….

Steve

Letter from the President (July 2019)

Up until a few days ago I thought I’d be writing about volunteers, upcoming races, and looking forward to seeing Matt Brophy’s touch on his first Pacer Newsletter as editor.

If you’ve been current with the Pagoda Pacers Discussion Group on Facebook, you are probably aware of what has been a tumultuous July. One of my experiences in my youth was being a pallbearer for an uncle. For me, the scrawny high school kid, he was a large man both in stature, but also in how he carried himself. He looked like Lee Marvin in The Dirty Dozen. He was a factory worker–a machinist. He was also an athlete. However, his time of youthful athleticism was taken by WWII. He never spoke of his wartime experience, which I believe for him and many others was a coping mechanism.   

Grabbing that brass rail was a first for me. Carrying that casket may have been one of the most formative points of my youth. The strain of the weight while I looked down upon the flag draped in front of me left an impression that remains with my soul. I’ve told many a person being a pallbearer is an important life experience. 

Now, as a club, we mourn the loss of James Cramer, and as I thought of touching on this point in the Newsletter, something hit me. You see my experience of carrying that casket was not singular; there were others. I did not bear that weight alone. My heart goes out to Jim’s family and close friends. My utmost respect and admiration go out to the family of trail runners that made multiple trips to the AT looking for a friend. Share the good stories of Jim, and remind everyone we need not bear this weight alone.

The weather has been brutal the last few weeks. Between the rain and heat, it’s a wonder anyone has had enough motivation to change the calendar, let alone run. I think typically August is supposed to be the hot month, so if you’re training for something, find a buddy and a really early start time. Mike Whalen posted some good hints a few weeks back on the Discussion group on “hyper-hydration” and managing water intake during the heat.  Well worth reaching out to Mike if you have questions. 

As I noted in prior months, the Charlie Horse race was very successful, and we were fortunate to present a check for $3,400 to the Special Olympics and meet a few of their athletes at our July meeting.   A similar motion was approved to present to the “Friends of Nolde” our 50/50ish split from the Run for the Ages. Up next is the Grings Mill 5k and 10k

Yep, as you read this we’re soliciting for volunteers and runners for Sunday August 4th at the Berks County Heritage Center. Spend a little time with friends and fellow Pacers at possibly one of Berks’ oldest continuous running races. The work of many lightens the load. See you on Sunday. 

Steve