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Runners, take your mark!

August 29, 2009 - Erik Brown
It’s (almost) that time of year! The fall calendar is loaded with opportunities for local runners of all ages to test themselves.
September 5th, 9:30 AM - The Big Valley Cross Country Invitational at the Indian Valley Middle School. This is a great kickoff to the high school XC season. The fan-friendly course provides a great opportunity to see hundreds of talented high school runners from around the state, including many of the teams from the Mirror coverage area.    
September 7th, 8:30 AM – The First Annual 5K Pump & Run Race sponsored by the Northern Blair County Recreation Center in Tipton, PA. There will be a 5K race and also a 5K Pump & Run race. In case you are wondering, the ‘pump’ part of this event refers to bench pressing. For information go to or send an email to
September 12th – Start ‘em young! The Nittany Valley Running Club will hold the first of three youth cross country meets for youths age 14 and under. The focus is on fun, fitness and the skill common to many sports - running. All of this year's races will be run at the State College Area High School cross-country course, located next to the High School - South Building on Westerly Parkway. Distances are 2K, 3K, and 4K, depending on child's age. Participation is free. All participants receive a ribbon. Subsequent meets are scheduled on September 19th and 26th.
September 13th, 2:00 PM – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Huntingdon County In Step For Kids 5K Run / Walk. This event will be held at the Alexandria, PA end of the Lower Trail (Rails To Trails). Registration begins at 12:30 PM.
September 19th, 9:00 AM – The 6th Annual Hollidaysburg Haul 5K. The race starts and finishes on the Diamond in historic Hollidaysburg. I personally recommend this race. The organizers do a very nice job. Here’s an idea! Race the “Haul”, then head on over to the Altoona XC Invitational (see below).
September 19th, 10:00 AM – The Altoona Cross Country Invitational. Here’s another terrific opportunity to see our local high school harriers competing against some very talented teams from near and far. The event takes place at the Logan Elementary School. The Altoona XC Coaches and team parents are wonderful hosts for this quality event.
Thursday evenings through September 24th – The Tussey Mountainback Discovery / Training Series. Have you ever thought about running an ultra? If you’d like to learn about the NVRC’s annual 50 miler in the nearby Rothrock State Forest (near Boalsburg), click here for details.
October 3rd, 7:00 AM – The Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon. One of the highlights of my running life was finishing last year’s race in 9:51:36. The Mountainback is the host of the USA Track & Field 50 Mile Championships. The race is run over a very challenging course in the beautiful Rothrock State Forest. Is it in you?
October 4th – The 34th Annual Johnstown Marathon, Half-Marathon (new this year!), 10K, and 5K Fun Run/Walk (also new!). That’s right, the Johnstown Marathon is back on! A month ago, it looked like this year’s Johnstown Marathon would be cancelled due to the loss of Highmark BCBS as a sponsor. But, former Johnstown YMCA Board member Howard Bernstein came to the rescue. Bernstein organized a fundraising campaign which raised more than $9,000. Other YMCA leaders have pitched in and the YMCA board has voted to go forward with this year’s race.
And what a line-up, literally, something for everyone! The organizers might want to consider re-naming this event as the Johnstown Distance Festival.    
On a personal note, the Johnstown Marathon is near and dear to my heart. I ran it in 1978, and finished in 3:45. It was my first marathon, and the last time my parents saw me race. My sister Cheryl and brother Charlie were also there. The beauty of the marathon and ultras is that no matter what place you finish in, it’s a triumph.
October 10th, 8:00 AM – The Hollidaysburg Area YMCA Half-Marathon, 10K Run, and 5K Walk. Another great morning of racing put on by the good folks at the Hollidaysburg YMCA. Due to my sporadic training, I’ve been re-adjusting my running goals all year. Presently, I’m planning on being on the starting line for the half. Some people I know would call that a firm commitment…
October 10th, 9:45 AM - The Juniata College Eagle Invitational at Fort Roberdeau. Hosted by the Juniata College Mens and Womens Cross Country Teams, this unique event provides an opportunity for some of our local high runners to see their counterparts at the next (college) level. If you go, you'll be treated to four races: High School Girls 5K at 9:45 AM, College Men 7.5K at 10:30 AM, High School Boys 5K at 11:15 AM and finally College Women 5K at 12:00 PM. 
October 11th, 1:00 PM – The 19th Annual Knights of Columbus State College Adventure 5K. The race starts near the Knights Hall at 850 Stratford Drive and finishes in nearby Orchard Park.
November 28th – The Hollidaysburg Area YMCA Turkey Trot 5 Mile Run, 2 Mile Run, and 2 Mile Walk. Click here for details.
December 6th – The 26th Annual Nittany Valley Half-Marathon. Click here for details.
December 31st – Last but not least, the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA Twilight Race. Click here for details.
Many of the races are listed and linked to on the Nittany Valley Running Club’s great website and race calendar. See you out there!
Thanks for reading Against The Wind!

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