A field of more than 900 runners lined up on College Avenue for the start of the First Night State College Resolution Run 5K got some last-minute encouragement from Penn State men’s basketball coach Patrick Chambers.
Chambers, attending the First Night State College celebration for the first time, said he and his family were enjoying the activities. He then led the crowd in a cheer and gave the command to send the participants running off into the night.
Jacob Loverich, 36, of State College, led the way, finishing in 16 minutes, 33 seconds. Christopher Cipro, 23, of State College was second in 16:58, with 47-year-old Patrick Singletary, also of State College, only a second behind him.
It was a close race for first place on the women’s side, with Liz Novack, 21, of State College edging out Heather Hoechst, 33, of State College by a second to get the win in 19:26. Michelle Herman, 21, of Bellefonte was third in 19:44.
Andrew Wedel, 42, of Duncansville was the first masters runner in 18:02, and Rob Guissanie, 44, of Lewisburg was second in 18:48. Kelly Dworak, 50, of Carlisle was the first masters woman in 20:27 and Becky Wittrig, 44, of Port Matilda was second in 21:45.
In all, 920 people finished the race, the second most in the event’s history. Temperatures were in the low 30s, but the campus roads were mostly clear of ice and snow, making for good running conditions.
As usual, many ran in costume. The best costume award went to a group of 13 runners dressed as the Fiscal Cliff. Another group ran as a wedding party, with three men in evening gowns and wigs and two women in tuxedos.
Many families ran or walked the course together. The youngest finisher was 4 and the oldest 82. State College mayor Elizabeth Goreham finished first in the women’s 70-74 age group.
Following the Resolution Run, the local calendar tends to be a little empty through the winter months, but there are still racing opportunities.
The Nittany Valley Running Club will once again sponsor a series of four indoor miles and one 3,000-meter race. The races are held in conjunction with four Penn State meets and are open to all NVRC members except those of high school age or younger, due to NCAA recruiting rules. The races are free, but participants must email firstname.lastname@example.org by 5 p.m. on the Wednesday prior to each race with an estimated finish time. There is no race-day registration, but the required NVRC membership can be purchased at the meet.
Registration is already closed for the first mile to be held on Jan. 5 in conjunction with the Penn State Relays. The remaining miles are still open and scheduled for Jan. 12 in conjunction with the Penn State Nittany Lion Challenge, Jan. 25 in conjunction with the Penn State National, and Feb. 2 in conjunction with the Sykes-Sabok Challenge Cup. The Feb. 2 race will include both the mile and the 3,000-meter run. Exact start times are tentative and participants should check the schedule on the NVRC website at http://bit.ly/NVRCIndoorMile prior to each event.
The Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon kicks off the Tussey Teaser series of races on Feb. 9 with the Colyer “Sno Big Deal” 5.8-miler. The series takes place on mountain roads that comprise parts of the Mountainback course. All races in the series, except the Beidelheimer Sidewinder 10K in May, are free. The Colyer race starts at 10 a.m. at the Colyer Lake south parking lot on Lake Rd. The series continues with approximately one race per month through June. The complete schedule is available on the Mountainback website at www.tusseymountainback.com.
For those looking to embrace the elements on the trails, the Mid Penn Trailblazers will host a 3.5-mile trail run during Snowfest at R.B. Winter State Park on Feb. 10 at 1 p.m. Registration is $20 if received by Jan. 23 or $25 on race day. For information or a registration form, visit www.midpenntrailblazers.com