The Browns have two family reunions today.
The second will be of the traditional variety: a day-long picnic with the in-laws at Bald Eagle State Park capped off with a fireworks display at one of the two beautiful amusement parks we're blessed to have here in Blair County.
But before all of that, we have another, much larger gathering to attend, and it's one that we look forward to each year with great anticipation.
I'm talking about the July 4 races in Altoona. I like to think of them as the Central Pennsylvania running community's family reunion.
Today marks the 36th running of this fun-filled, fitness-oriented event.
It will likely draw more than 800 participants of all ages and abilities. Of course, a lot of them live right here in Blair County, but quite a few will come in from surrounding areas, and some will travel in from out of state.
Many of these folks have been coming here for years, even decades, and many families will be represented by two or more generations.
There's another reason to think of the July 4 races as a family reunion.
This great event which has evolved into the crown jewel of the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA's Community Wellness Challenge Series is arguably the granddaddy of all road races in this part of the state - not just because of its age, but because its ongoing success has fostered a growing enthusiasm for running and spawned numerous other road racing opportunities for local runners.
I doubt the Humane Society's Animal Run or the Family Services 10K/5K, or even the YMCA's seven other CWCS races, to name just a few, would have done as well if not for the foundation established by the July 4 race committee.
The Central Pennsylvania running community really owes a debt of gratitude to the many folks who have volunteered their time, talent and treasure over the years to make the July 4 races in Altoona such a great success.
The list is too long to name them all individually, but on behalf of my fellow runners, I want to take this opportunity to recognize Angie Gioiosa, John Foreman and his father John Foreman Sr. - the three founders of the July 4 races - and to the former Altoona YMCA for their part as the original sponsor.
Lee Baranik spearheaded the July 4 race committee for so many years and always did such a great job with the microphone at the finish line. Kudos, too, to Tom Kopriva and the Hollidaysburg Area YMCA. They took the baton and didn't miss a stride.
And last but not least, the City of Altoona and especially the Altoona Police Department and other volunteers deserve credit for keeping us all safe out on the course.
Run fast today!
Erik Brown is the senior member of a Brown family that will have six runners in today's races. He also writes a blog "Against the Wind," for altoonamirror.com.