Thursday, October 8, 2015


Local races are h backbone of road racing.

Local races are often well-organized and usually benefit local causes.

Following is an article that was published today in my monthly running column in the Republican Herald newspaper. www.republicanherald,com

If you live in eastern Pennsylvania I highly recommend this popular local race.

October is a great month for runners and for running.

Temperatures are crisp, races abound and times are fast.

Runners appreciate races that are well-organized, offer plenty of awards and amenities, serve a good cause and provide a course that is suitable for fast times.

All of those boxes can be checked Sunday, Oct. 18.

The 6th annual Rhoades Race 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run/Walk will be held, beginning at the Saint Clair Industrial Park, between Saint Clair and Port Carbon. The Fun Run will begin at 10 a.m. and the 5K will start at 10:30 a.m.

This course is flat and fast. The race starts at the Industrial Park and proceeds north through Saint Clair, looping through the borough, and back to the finish. Unlike most Schuylkill County courses, there is not a hill to be found along the route.

For the Fun Run, all participants receive a finishing ribbon, and the top three male and female runners under the age of 13 will receive medals.

In the 5K, the top three male and female finishers, as well as the top male and female Master’s finishers (40 and over) will receive cash prizes. Unique handcrafted pottery created by local potter Mary Byrne of Mad Potter in Pottsville will be awarded to first-place winners in each age group. Second- and third-place finishers will receive medals. There are 12 age divisions, ranging from 13 and under to over 70.

The oldest finisher will receive the William I. Messerschmidt Memorial Award.
Proceeds from this event will be used to promote the Rhoades Foundation mission through scholarships, donations, events and other means, to educate, encourage and enrich our local communities.

The James J. and Mary Edith Rhoades Foundation was founded in October 2008 in memory of Senator James J. Rhoades, who was unexpectedly killed in an automobile accident on his way to a local high school football game where he was to be honored at halftime. Senator Rhoades’ wife, Mary Edith, and children chose to establish this foundation to carry on Senator Rhoades’ selfless spirit, highlighting his lifelong dedication toward education, giving and community for years to come.

The family of Senator Rhoades has continued his legacy of service through this race, as well as through many other community events.

The Rhoades Race is the final leg of the second annual Schuylkill County Triple Crown 5K series.
In August, the Sol Lipton and Truskey 5K events were held.

What binds these local races together is the family spirit of giving that all three events exhibit. The Lipton, Truskey and Rhoades families all donate their time in order to ensure success of these races; then they utilize race profits to offer scholarships to deserving youth of the region.

Two top local runners, former Blue Mountain standout Justin O’Brien and state champion and Nativity graduate, Samantha Snukis, are poised to capture the Triple Crown honors for the second consecutive year.

It is difficult for any athlete, in any sport, to repeat as a champion, so their efforts are to be commended.

The Rhoades Race is a family event that has quickly become a favorite race for runners of all ages.

For a race entry blank, and to learn more about the James J. and Mary Edith Rhoades Foundation, visit, and click on the 'Upcoming Events' tab.

                                          Samantha Snukis-2014 5K Triple Crown WInner

Monday, October 5, 2015


Following is an excerpt from my book, Running Shorts: A Collection of Stories and Advice for Anyone Who Has Ever Laced Up a Pair of Running Shoes.

"In May of 1976 I entered my first road race. Of all the

tiny hamlets in America, my first foray into road racing

occurred in one of the most picturesque and interesting


Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania, is a small community of

around 4,000 residents that serves as a gateway into the

Pocono Mountains. Its Alpine beauty has earned it the

moniker, “Switzerland of America.” Josiah White

founded the town in 1818, naming it Mauch Chunk,

meaning “bear mountain” in the Native American Lenni

Lenape language. Apparently the name referred to a

local mountain that resembled a sleeping bear.

In 1876, Mauch Chunk was the site of one of the

famous trials of the Molly Maguires, a secret society of

Irish coal miners, four of whom were accused of

kidnapping and murder, subsequently, and in a

controversial manner, convicted, and hung by the

gallows on scaffolding erected behind the Carbon

County Courthouse in Mauch Chunk.

Like many small American towns, Mauch Chunk

became more obscure as the 20th century wore on. A

mass exodus of population and jobs left the area, or in

this case, areas, of East and West Mauch Chunk,

grasping for anything to revitalize the economy of the


Then along came Jim Thorpe.

Jim Thorpe, an American Indian who grew up in

Oklahoma, spent much of his youth at the Carlisle Indian

School, located in south central Pennsylvania. In 1907, it

is alleged that he walked past a group of athletes

practicing the high jump. While still clad in street clothes

he launched an impromptu jump of 5 feet, 9 inches.

Thorpe became a tremendous track and field athlete, but

his athletic abilities extended to baseball, football,

lacrosse, and even ballroom dancing.

In 1912, The Carlisle Indian School, led by Jim

Thorpe, won the national collegiate football

championship, but it was in Stockholm, Sweden, at the

1912 Olympic Games where the Jim Thorpe legend

would be born. At the Games, Thorpe won both the

Pentathlon, a sport consisting of five events, as well as

the Decathlon, a ten-event competition causing King

Gustav of Sweden to proclaim, “You, sir, are the greatest

athlete in the world.”

Prior to Thorpe’s Olympic participation, he accepted

meager compensation for playing baseball during his

summer vacations. Strict Olympic rules forbid the

acceptance of any type of remuneration, thus Jim Thorpe

was stripped of his Olympic medals.

When he died in 1953 his widow became angry

because the state of Oklahoma refused to erect a

monument for her late husband.

Far from Oklahoma, Mauch Chunk’s town fathers

came up with an idea. In an effort to bolster tourism in

their town, why not obtain the dead Olympian’s remains,

unify and rename East and West Mauch Chunk in honor

of the Olympic champion? Thorpe had never even set

foot within 100 miles of Mauch Chunk , but Thorpe’s

wife thought it was a great idea, so she obtained her

monument and the town had its tourist attraction. She

sold his remains to the town, and a monument was

promptly built there in his honor, at the site of his new


In 2010, Thorpe’s son sued the town, hoping to have

his father’s remains returned to Oklahoma."

Today, the Associated Press released this story.

"The Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from Indian tribes and Jim Thorpe's sons to move the remains of the athletic great from Pennsylvania to Oklahoma.

The justices on Monday left in place a court ruling that ordered Thorpe's body to remain in the Pennsylvania town that bears his name.

Thorpe's two surviving sons, and the Sac and Fox Nationn have been seeking to bury Thorpe on American Indian land in Oklahoma.

Thorpe was a football, baseball and track star who won the decathlon and pentathlon in the 1912 Olympics. He died in 1953 at age 64.

Thorpe's wife won agreement from two merging towns in Pennsylvania to build a memorial and name the new borough, and Carbon County seat, Jim Thorpe, after the athlete. Police then seized Thorpe's body during his funeral service in Oklahoma."

It looks as though Jim Thorpe is going to remain in Jim Thorpe.


Friday, October 2, 2015


The weather is getting cooler, and soon you'll be spending more time indoors.

What a great time to catch up on your reading.

Right now I'm offering the lowest price ever on my two running books.

Visit and you can pick up a copy of one of my books for just $8.99 plus shipping and handling. I'll sign your book, and offer service after the sale with advice. You just have to email me at: to receive additional training tips..

You can also go to Amazon, where you can buy the books in print or Kindle format.

Many people have read and benefitted from the stories and advice offered in both Running Shorts and Personal Best.

I promise you won't be disappointed.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


As a model to the way things should be done, cheers to St. Paul, Minnesota mayor, Chris Coleman, and Black Lives Matter leader, Rashard Turner, for meeting face-to-face for over two and a half hours today to assure that runners will not be disrupted or interfered with during Sunday's Twin Cities Marathon.

"The Mayor took the time to listen, he heard our concerns," Turner shared. "We will not disrupt the course."

Turner said BLM St. Paul still intends to protest at the marathon, but in a designated space without blocking any runners.

On behalf of every runner who will participate in Sunday's Twin Cities Marathon, and speaking for all runners, I would like to commend the mayor and Mr. Turner for resolving this issue in a rational manner.

Perhaps all elected officials and community organizers should follow the lead of these two men.

A dialogue can go much further than name-calling and finger-pointing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Following is an excerpt from KARE 11 News in Minneapolis

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- "Organizers of the Twin Cities Marathon are working on contingency plans to handle a protest by the St. Paul chapter of Black Lives Matter intended to disrupt the race.
This Sunday, roughly 12,000 runners will take off from downtown Minneapolis at 8 a.m. on their 26.2-mile journey finishing near the Minnesota State Capitol.
Rashad Turner, one of the organizers of Black Lives Matter St. Paul, will not disclose exact plans on how or where they intend to disrupt the race, but he says the group will adapt to any change of plans race organizers have in mind.
"We don't plan on having any physical contact with runners, but we do plan to make ourselves the finish line," said Turner."

I am not going to debate the issue, the cause, the movement, or the reasons for it.

Simply, the marathon finish line is the wrong place for this.

Let's look at two stark, similar examples of misguided individuals using running and athletics as a platform to further their "cause."

In 1980, in response to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter decided to boycott the Olympic games in Moscow.

The last Soviet soldiers left Afghanistan in 1989.

So much for your boycott, Mr. Carter.

At the 2013 Boston Marathon, two despicable terrorists decided to further their cause by detonating two bombs near the finish line, killing three and injuring and destroying the lives of many more.

Those lives mattered too.

How does "making ourselves the finish line" do anything to further this cause?

There is no more eclectic, all-inclusive group of people on the planet than runners. There is nothing political or racial when it comes to marathons. I'm certain the Twin Cities Marathon boasts entrants from many countries, nationalities, racial, and ethnic groups.

A good friend, Mike Carriglitto, who will run the race on Sunday, had an excellent suggestion. Hold signs and protest along the race route, if you want your voice to be heard. Threatening the finish line of the race is simply a very, very bad idea.

Folks with disabilities will participate in the race, as will many who will raise many thousands of dollars which will benefit people, regardless of their color or ethnicity.

Organizers of this particular protest are myopic, and have not done their research on runners and their supporters.

If they had, they would realist that the marathon finish line is the wrong place for this.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015


We all recognize the healthy benefits of running.

Running improves our physical health. It makes us feel better mentally.

Running reduces our stress. It allows us to appreciate nature and the beauty that surrounds us.

Running affords us the opportunity to live longer, and to live a better quality of life.

Many of us enjoy running with our friends.

But what about our "best" friends?

They deserve, and often appreciate the opportunity to train, and sometimes race, with us.

So, if your dogs are runners (I guess all dogs are runners), if you'd like your dogs to become runners, or would like to train them properly to enter a race with you someday, you should follow the exploits of Guinness and Dory, on their Facebook community page, Road to Twilight. There, the dogs hope to share their training journey to inspire others to run with their dogs and to highlight what issues may arise and how to manage them best for the dogs.

Guinness is an 8 year old Australian Working Kelpie, who hails from near Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia. He's been running with his "mom," a veterinarian, for pretty much all his life since he was old enough. He prefers the trails more than road running. His favorite food is chicken and his favorite place to be is on the couch cuddled up next to his mom. He has completed the Twilight Half Marathon twice, as well as a number of 5k and 10k fun runs. His doggie family include Cinnabar the Australian Cattle Dog (who has run two half marathons too, but at 10 years old now prefers the shorter distances) and two Whippets, Tiger and Sherbet, who have done a few 10k fun runs.

Dory is a 3 year old Dalmatian from New South Wales. He lives with Dougal the Jack Russell Terrier, who has participated in agility competitions and is a regular participant in park runs. She has also completed several 7km fun runs and is often cheered during a run with "Spotty Dog!"

On their Facebook page, the dogs hope to share their training journey to inspire others to run with their dogs and to highlight what issues may arise and how to manage them best for the dogs. Audrey, "mom" to these fine athletes, says, "As a vet, I've seen so many dogs improve their physical and mental health from running - one that really sticks in my mind is a dog with very severe separation anxiety who was so relaxed and happy after a 10k run! Those endorphins are just so good!"

Sounds like the effect that running has on all of us.

Running makes us feel good.

If you want to feel good about our best friends, visit Guinness' and Dory's Facebook page,

You'll be inspired.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


The importance of paying it forward in our sport can never be overemphasized. I have written about it on several occasions.

It is gratifying to me to receive a text message or read a Facebook post from someone I've interacted with who has now become a runner and is participating in races, working toward reaching running goals.

A good friend and former colleague dropped over 100 pounds in a little over a year. He now runs his 5K races in the 22s, and recently completed his first marathon.

But, if you really want to pay it forward, using your running wisdom and experience to lead others down the running path, you should try coaching.

In August I began my 8th year as head coach of Penn State Schuylkill's Men's and Women's cross country teams.

Penn State Schuylkill is a branch campus of the Pennsylvania State University, nestled in the hills of east-central Pennsylvania. Only about 1,600 students attend classes at the campus. Many students are local, and they commute back and forth from classes daily. Other students reside on campus, and many of those young men and women are from the inner-city.

This year's team, consisting of 10 men and 7 women is a unique blend of urban and rural students, as well as a contrast of experienced and novice runners.

Several of my team members participated on local track and cross country teams; while others have never run a step.

We have participated in three invitational meets thus far, and have one more invitational and the state championship meet remaining. For the state championship, we will travel to Penn State's main campus, at University Park, and will compete against all the other campuses within our Penn State University Athletic Conference.

At yesterday's meet at Penn State Wilkes Barre, two of my runners, Nico Granito, and Casey Renninger, earned awards, as they placed 5th in their respective races.

It was, however, Keon Major, Muhammad Brown, and Muhmod Shabazz, who truly distinguished themselves at yesterday's meet. On August 24, at our first practice, these young men had never run a distance event.

Yesterday, they all completed a 5-mile race.

They are fine young men, and now they are long distance runners.

Makes a coach proud.