A long list of runners turned out for the 2019 Harrisburg Marathon, all running in honor of Mike Ranck, who ran all previous 47 iterations of the race: Mike Zimmerman (who completed his first marathon), Laura Yoder (who won her age group and qualified for Boston), Jess Gockley (who completed her first marathon and placed 2nd in her age group and qualified for Boston), Karen Gibbons (who completed her first marathon), Brian Stones (who qualified for Boston), Rhoda Smoker, Conrad Smoker, Jon Durand, Ryan Espulgar, Donny Mengel, Dan Govern, and Brooke Schell.
It was an emotional day for all these runners, who each wore pictures of Mike on their shirts.
Brooke ran with Mike’s jacket, which he wore while finishing last year’s marathon. Fresh in her mind was the memory of Mike’s continually hopeful talk, during his treatment, that he would be able to at least walk the marathon this year.
Mike made his presence known with graffiti on a bridge near the finish.
Mike’s wife Laurie, his daughter Courtney, and his granddaughter Willow were all in attendance to see the finishers. Brooke presented Willow with Mike’s medal.
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.