click photo to enlarge

   Jerry Pitkus's 

 "Just Running Around"

  A weekly column that appears in the New Age/Examiner

by Jerry Pitkus | NEW AGE-EXAMINER 
February 15, 2006  

      I think that the word "perfect" is overused, but this year's February Freeze was pretty close to it. Dubious weather forecast: "Rain arriving...."  did not keep 112 runners from this 19th annual Freeze. For the 2nd Freeze in a row, shorts were the uniform of the day. Past year's have given us snow, mud, ice & slush to run on. This year there was just the right combination of rain, temps & wind that Sunnyside Road (70% of the run) had a consistency similar to a school running track. Soup-wise, I think this is the first year that I brought home a totally empty crockpot. The rain, yes it came just as we were leaving for home with our awards & our soup-filled bellies. And of course seeing runners whom you haven't seen since the fall....priceless (another overused word but appropriate). 

 The first to finish was Nick Wadas at 17:35, 1st female was Sharon Cardamone at 20:28. Top master runners were #19 Greg Bassham (19:39) & #55 co-race director Sandy Howard (23:22). First Bobcat to the finish was #8 Randy White (18:50). Other Bobcats: #11 Bill Cooney (19:03), #29 Reg Thomas (20:46), #30 Ho Titman (20:48), #34 Danny Toye (21:11), #40 Andrew Evans (21:52), #55 Sandy Howard (23:22), #57  Ken Layaou (23:33),  #59 Rich Hause (23:45), #63 Michael Kinney (23:56), #77 Rachel Sayre (24:52), #78 Ron Rawls (25:13), #82 Nancy Harmon (26:05), #85 Gloria Rawls (26:51), #86 Bridget White (26:59), #94 Jerry Pitkus ( 28:11), #99 Jim Marsh (29:31), #104 Gary Van Vranken (30:22) & #105 Paula Pardoe (30:24). High school runners: #15 Reece Ayers (19:24), #21 Aaron Keich (20:14), #22 Lloyd Burton (20:17) & #23 Vincent Coltellino (20:20). Newly elected Bobcat Prez Ed Hetzel finished in 24:04 breaking the previous record of 27:04 held by Prez Pitkus. Ed was nervous pre-race when he realized this would be his first presidential run. (Runners in BOLD type improved their times since last year’s Freeze.)

     Thanks to all the volunteers including chief registration person Anna Sweppenheiser and her mom Debbie, co-race directors Sandy Howard & Doug Toye, Shari Philmeck and all the traffic control folks, Kathy Toye who compiled the results & in her position as "job assigner" a one point had Sid Lyons operating the starter pistol, the race timer & a camera & Mike Montagna who collected the results & posted them on the running website. 

     Coach White reports that US Marine Corey Read took 2nd place in a 5 K at Parris Island South Carolina with a time of 18:02

PREVIOUS ARTICLE- February 8, 2006

The Freeze is over and the 2006 running season has started which means that Berwick will soon be baking cookies for their 10K Run for the Cookies on 2/25/06. Whereas their Thanksgiving day Run for the Diamonds brings out the Van Scoy folks, the February run attracts those who appreciate a darn fine cookie.
     The first Saturday in March features Reg Thomas's Bear Creek 5K which also features an array of cookies and some nifty door prizes. This out & back course is a gradual downhill course (that is until you reach the turnaround point). Then the fun begins. This is a run/walk so if you are not yet ready to run, take a walk.
     Next Saturday, we are off to downtown Scranton for the St Patrick's Day 5K. If you want to experience the crowd cheering of a marathon race but only want to run 5K, this is your place. The first mile of the course is downtown through the parade route where thousands are awaiting the parade (which is right behind you but going much slower) and will be cheering you on. After the race, watch the parade & join in the festivities. Ye need not be Irish to run (but it helps).
     On Sunday 3/19, if any of the Wyoming Valley Striders were apprehensive about running in the Freeze (rough terrain, cold temps, possible wind) those folks can kick off their 2006 running season with their 26th Annual Winter’s End 4.5 mile run around the Lehman Campus of Penn State. The scenery is great and varied.
     Once we get into April, the events are too numerous to list. Please go to the race calendar at for a complete listing and details. I have good feelings about this year (like maybe I won’t trip and fall on my face). Hope to see many of you out there walking & running.