Tuesday, August 8, 2017


Sharp Mountain, with its many trails, sits directly behind my house. For many years, I ran the trails to find solitude, and soft-surface comfort for tired legs. My Redbone Coonhound, Ruby, logged many miles on those trails with me. Last November, she was diagnosed with a severe liver disease, was given only two months to live, but she fought, and finally lost her battle on Friday. Since her illness, she was reduced to walks rather than runs, and last Wednesday she took her final walk, a brave, but fun, 1-mile trek.
Run with your pups as long as you and they are able. It is good for them and it's good for you. I hope Ruby is running trails and sniffing rabbits in doggy heaven.

Saturday, August 5, 2017


Running is a sport of great diversity. It is definitely a "One size fits all" endeavor.

Following is my monthly running column that appeared in the Republican Herald newspaper today.

More Americans than ever are running and participating in races these days, at distances from 1 mile to the 26.2-mile marathon, and longer.
Perhaps one of the reasons for this popularity is that running is a relatively simple endeavor. It requires placing one foot in front of the other and going as fast as you can for as long as you can.
Running a race is an exercise in pure democracy. Everyone lines up at the same starting line, with the same opportunity to reach the finish line.
And if you’ve ever watched a running race, you will observe that all runners are not skinny. Runners come in all shapes and sizes and have one goal in common: to cross the finish line as quickly as possible.
Bobby Mulhall, 51, of Shenandoah, is not your prototypical runner. He is a bigger guy who has been running road races for more than 21 years and has more than 300 races to his credit. Recently, he shared his thoughts with me about runners who carry a few more pounds with them.
“I think it’s important to get the message out there that you don’t have to be thin to be fit and healthy,” Mulhall said. “There is a misconception out there that thin people are fitter and healthier than bigger people. This isn’t always true.
“Thinner is better, but just because you are a bigger person it shouldn’t stop you from running or exercising. My philosophy on weight is that you should eat healthy, exercise and let your body weigh what it wants to weigh.”
There are a few races out there that recognize the efforts of larger competitors.
“The only local race I know that has a ‘Clydesdale’ division is Shenandoah’s Coal Cracker 10K,” Mulhall said. “I wish more races would add a Clydesdale division.”
Typically, a Clydesdale category includes men weighing 200 or more pounds, and an “Athena” division includes women weighing 150 or more pounds.
Mulhall adds, “By adding a Clydesdale division to races, I think it would attract more runners who might be intimidated to race against smaller, faster competitors. For bigger runners like me who usually can’t earn a medal against smaller runners in our age groups, we would still have a chance to place against our bigger peers.”
Mulhall’s experiences as a larger runner have been positive, for the most part.
“One of the things I love about racing is being around the friendly runners and the positive energy I get from them,” he said. “There was only one time that I can remember someone making a comment to me that alluded to my size.
“Two years ago I was running a 5K in Mount Carmel. There was a woman that I passed about a half-mile from the finish. She then passed me right in front of the finish line. A few minutes later she walked up to me and said, ‘I’m sorry, but I just couldn’t be beat by someone like you.’ Other than that, I don’t remember anyone else ever saying anything about my size. There were a few times over the years though when I was registering for a race, they assumed that I was a walker and I had to correct them.”
If you’re intimidated about becoming a runner or participating in a race, take the advice of Bobby Mulhall.
All you have to do is lace ’em up and get out the door.

Saturday, July 29, 2017


There is something for everybody at this race, which is one of the finest, well-organized, runner-oriented races on the East Coast.

Each year, the Ausherman race adds amenities for runners. This year, it's free massages for race participants. If you haven't run the Ausherman 5-miler, you're missing out on a great race.

Take a ride to beautiful Chambersburg, a quaint community nestled in the hills of south-central Pennsylvania, for this fine race.


Tuesday, July 4, 2017


Following is my column from the Republican Herald newspaper, which was published today.
Paige Stoner is a very talented, dedicated runner. The sky's the limit for this young  athlete.

Faith, family and fortitude.
Pottsville’s Paige Stoner has been guided by these beliefs throughout her stellar running career.
Stoner began running at the Hershey Youth Track and Field competition at the age of 10. By the time she reached eighth grade, she had won the state championship in both the 800- and 1,600-meter races. At Pottsville Area she won the Schuylkill League Cross Country championship all four years, earned the District 11 championship twice, and placed second at states as a freshman.
Her high school track credentials include league championships in the 1,600- and 3,200-meter races from freshman to senior year, a 3,200-meter relay team championship at the District 11 meet as a sophomore, and a 1,600- and 3,200-meter first-place medal as a senior.
At states, she placed third in the 3,200 as a senior with a time of 10:41. In her senior year at leagues she ran her personal-best 1,600-meter time of 4:56.
She credits the high level of competition in Pennsylvania as excellent preparation for collegiate running.
Stoner began her college career at Lipscomb University, a private Christian college in Nashville, Tennessee, where she competed for a year and a half. During that time, after turning in grueling months of high mileage training, she placed second in the Atlantic Sun Conference Cross Country Championships, as well as second in the 5K and steeplechase at the conference track and field championships. Unfortunately the mega-miles took their toll, and she suffered a stress fracture of her foot during her sophomore year.
Stoner decided to transfer to Syracuse University. Today, however, she still maintains friendships with many of her Lipscomb teammates, who share her deep Christian faith.
Syracuse head track and cross country coach Chris Fox knows a little something about running. He has run a 2:13 marathon and enjoyed a very successful 18-year professional running career.
Stoner credits the rigorous but sensible coaching of Fox and assistant coach Brien Bell as the reason for her success and her good running health at Syracuse. Intense six-mile hilly tempo runs, workouts that simulate the steady pace of racing, speedy track interval sessions and weekly long runs, as well as easy rest days, comprise her 60- to 65-mile training weeks.
During the 2016 cross country season, Stoner earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors, placing 17th in the ACC and 11th at regionals. She achieved a personal best of 20:32 in the 6K and missed nationals by a mere .02 of a second.
After a successful indoor track season in which she ran a personal best time of 16:05 in the 5K — good enough to place third in the ACC Indoor Championships — she set her sights on outdoor track.
Her 2017 outdoor track achievements include a personal-best time of 33:55 in the 10K and qualifying times for nationals in the 5K, 10K and the steeplechase.
At the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, in June, Stoner placed fourth in her heat in the steeplechase and 15th overall with a Syracuse school record time of 10:02. She missed qualifying for the finals by two seconds.
Stoner’s immediate goals include placing in the top three at the ACC Cross Country Championships and advancing to Nationals. In track, she is not sure if she will run the steeplechase or the 5K, but she would like to place in the top 10 at nationals.
For the long term, she would like to compete as a professional runner and earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic team.
Although they are extremely proud of their daughter, Stoner says her parents “never pressured me.” Her deceased grandfather, Bob Stoner, a member of the Pottsville Area High School Football Hall of Fame and a track runner, was, according to Paige, “her biggest fan.”
Paige Stoner is a humble champion. Faith, family and fortitude will always be the keys to her success.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Following is my monthly running column, which appeared in the Republican Herald newspaper today.

A good day to watch a marathon is a bad day to run a marathon
The 121st Boston Marathon provided excellent conditions for the nearly one million spectators who lined the historic 26.2-mile route from Hopkinton to Boston’s Boylston Street, but for the more than 26,000 registered runners, temperatures nearing 80 degrees heated by a tailwind meant slower times and plenty of dehydrated casualties at the medical tent.
Mentally, after training for months and logging thousands of miles in all kinds of weather, waking up to summer-like conditions in mid-April can break the spirit of a marathon runner. Goal times are abandoned and the race becomes an exercise in survival.
Many runners wilt beneath the heat, but for three of our local runners, their drive to complete the task — perhaps inspired by their dedication to training and their devotion to helping others — propelled them across the finish line on Boylston Street and earned them the coveted Boston Marathon participation medal.
Last month we told you about Tower City’s Timmy Harner. A little over a year ago, Harner was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. On Monday, April 17, Harner crossed the finish line at the Boston Marathon.
Harner has not only beaten the disease and run the Boston Marathon, but he has raised over $12,500 for Team in Training, the main fundraising arm of the Leukemia- Lymphoma Society. On June 9, Harner will be the keynote speaker at a seminar for cancer survivors at the Hershey Medical Center.
If you are booking a vacation and you are hoping for warm weather, consult Minersville’s Father Christopher Zelonis. Father Zelonis has run the past two Boston Marathons, braving warm temperatures each time. He also survived tropical conditions at the Run for the Red Marathon two years ago, when temperatures and humidity levels reached 90 degrees.
Father Zelonis donates his time to the elderly at several area nursing homes, as well as serving as a volunteer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.
Schuylkill Haven’s Rick Devaney is a veteran of nine Boston Marathons. He, too, crossed the finish line despite this year’s heat, and he, like Father Zelonis, serves as a volunteer at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.
Mike Peckman, director of marketing and public affairs at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill, heaped praise on his two long distance running volunteers.
“To think we have two members of our volunteer department who are part of a very special club … those who have run the Boston Marathon,” Peckman said. “We are very proud of the training, dedication and accomplishments of both Father Zelonis and Mr. Devaney for the marathon. We are equally proud and appreciative of all they do for our patients, our friends and neighbors, each and every day here at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Schuylkill.”
Harner, Zelonis and Devaney are special, indeed. Their drive, determination, and dedication extend to both their race training and to their desire to serve.
                                                    Timmy Harner

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Best of luck to all the runners who have qualified to run in the world's oldest and greatest
marathon tomorrow.

In my opinion, there is no other race that boasts the history, tradition, and prestige as the Boston marathon.

Enjoy the city, the crowds, and the one-of-a-kind course.

From Hopkinton to Boylston, this is one of the world's most iconic sporting events.

Embrace every moment, and...kick ass!!!

Monday, April 10, 2017


On most days, we like to get out there and begin our workout with a minimum amount of hassle. We simply want to "Just start" our running or walking.

Being somewhat of a 'minimalist' when it comes to my workouts, I really like the jS Running-Walking Tracker and Step Counter because it's simple to use and easy to monitor while running.

At the start of the run, the simple touch of the "Start" button activates the app's running mode, where most activities are controlled by gestures. You can control your music, glance-free by double-tapping anywhere on the screen to play/pause music, swipe right/left to change tracks, and up and down to control volume.

I like the large, easy-to-read running metrics, which are color coded. You can choose to allow the screen to scroll through the metrics, or lock in on one metric, such as distance, pace or duration of the workout. Of course, you can also swipe through the other metrics if you choose.

There is a special mode for armband use where the angle of display can be adjusted to optimize the readout.

And, no other app offers the safety features like the jS Running-Walking Tracker and Step Counter.

The personal alarm function is designed to draw the attention of a passerby in case of an emergency. the alarm is easily triggered by pulling the headphones out of the device.

 An instant call emergency or a saved contact number is activated by using a simple tab and hold gesture.

SMS run details and location can be sent to a saved contact or to a loved one at the start of each run.

Finally, you can turn your iPhone to a side light when running at dusk or in the dark.

Check out the jS Running-Walking Tracker and Step Counter at the App Store. http://apple.co/2cYbMrU

You'll love this easy to use, safety-loaded app.