Tara Murray: April Fool’s 5K run raises money for local students

For the CDTMarch 6, 2014 

The April Fool’s 5K was originally supposed to be a golf tournament.

When the Centre County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association was looking for a way to raise money for its scholarship fund five years ago, the first suggestion was to hold a golf tournament. Todd Baney, then vice president of the chapter, put his hand up.

“I asked, ‘have any of you ever been to a golf tournament here?’” Baney said. He explained that golf tournaments are very resource intensive, and that finding a good weekend at a golf course would be difficult. The chapter continued to look into holding a golf tournament, but ran into problems. At that point, Baney presented his idea.

“Instead of a golf tournament why don’t we have a race?” he asked.

To pick a date for the new 5K, he looked at the local race schedule for an open spot. The chapter wanted to hold their race on campus during the semester, and finally settled on April Fool’s Day.

In its first three years, the race has raised about $8,000, according to Baney, who also served as race director during that time. The money goes to a scholarship for a Centre County high school graduate attending Penn State. This year, Baney has handed the reins over to a new race director, Dale Hoffman, though he continues to be involved as registration director.

Baney, himself a runner and a member of the Nittany Valley Running Club, said about half of the event’s more than 100 participants are students, so having the race on campus is important. In the event’s second year, good weather helped boost participation to more than 200. The race offers awards to top runners and age group finishers, as well as door prizes including a Seven Mountains gift certificate.

The fourth annual April Fool’s 5K will be held March 29 at 9 a.m. Race day headquarters is Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. The registration fee is $15 by March 27 or $20 on race day. A registration form can be downloaded from the Nittany Valley Running Club website at http://nvrun.com and online registration is available at www.active.com. Questions can be directed to Baney at baney1969@comcast.net or 814-308-2212.

Donaghue inducted into UMass Hall of Fame

In January, the University of Massachusetts inducted State College Area High School assistant girls track coach and head girls cross country coach Rebecca Donaghue into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame.

Donaghue ran track and cross country at UMass, leading the Minutewomen to three straight Atlantic 10 cross country titles in 1995, 1996, and 1997 and winning the individual title her junior and senior years. Donaghue earned a degree in art education in 1998 and continues to compete nationally and internationally, and made her marathon debut with a 17th place finish at the 2012 USA Olympic Trials.

Race results

The Nittany Valley Running Club’s Indoor Mile Series, held in conjunction with four Penn State indoor track meets, had record participation, with more than 100 runners competing at least one mile race and 65 completing the two races necessary to compete in the series. Almost 20 runners also did the 3,000-meter run.

Katie O’Regan won the women’s series with a top combined time for two mile races of 10 minutes, 31 seconds. O’Regan’s best mile time was 5:15. Meira Minard won the women’s masters competition with a combined time of 11:15 and a best mile time of 5:37, both records for the series.

Will Mitchell had the best combined time for men with 8:45 and a best mile time of 4:19. Andrew Maguire won the masters competition with a combined time of 9:54.14, narrowly beating out Steven Williams (9:54.16). Nick Berra had the fastest master mile of the series in 4:27 but didn’t complete two races to be eligible for the series.

Eric Marshall of State College won the SnowFest 3.5-mile trail run at R.B. Winter State Park on Feb. 9 in 30:16, just beating Brock Waughan. Ashley Moyer of Lock Haven, one of the winners of the TrailRunner 2013 Tropy Series, was the first woman in 36:24.

Running calendar

Tussey Teaser #1: Laurel Run Switchbacker 10K, Mar. 8, 10 a.m., Tussey Mountain Ski Area parking lot. Free. Part of the Tussey Teasers series of races introducing runners to the mostly unpaved roads of the Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon course in Rothrock State Forest.

For more information and details for the rest of the series, see http://tusseymountainback.com/tussey_teasers.html.

Irish Heritage 5K/10K, Mar. 15, 9 a.m., Joshua House Community Center, 123 W. 10th

Part of Tyrone’s Irish Heritage weekend celebration. Also includes kids Lollipop 50-yard dash and High-heel-a-thon 50-yard dash. Website: www.joshuahouse.com.

April Fool’s 5K, Mar. 29, 9 a.m., Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Benefits the Centre County Chapter of Penn State Alumni Association’s scholarship fund. More information available at http://nvrun.com and online registration at www.active.com.

Rodney Myers Memorial Run Around Egg Hill 10-miler and relay, Mar. 30, 2:30 p.m., Gregg Township Elementary School, Spring Mills. For more information, e-mail rodneymyersegghill@gmail.com or visit http://keleitzel.com/egghill/.

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