The Sue Crowe Memorial Arts Fest race is getting back to its roots.
For the first time since the late 1980s, the race that started it all will be part of the annual summer event. Race director Dave Eggler said a 10-mile run is being reintroduced for the 38th annual iteration of the event after a long absence.
“It’s been quite a while,” Eggler said.
The event began in 1975 as a 10-miler held in conjunction with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, then became a 10K in the late 1980s. A 5K was added in 2005. Now, with the addition of the 10-miler, the event will offer three separate races.
In 2006, the event was named in honor of Sue Crowe, a key member and supporter of the local running community, who died in February of that year.
So when Crowe’s husband, Bob, now the president of the Nittany Valley Running Club, approached Eggler about reintroducing the 10-mile race into the lineup, the race director made it happen.
“I said, ‘I think I can do that. I’ve got a course,’ ” Eggler said.
He said the 10-mile race will follow a similar route to the one the 10K race has used for the past several years, beginning near Medlar Field at Lubrano Park and taking runners around the golf course on the west side of campus.
But Eggler had his doubts about how popular the vintage race would be today.
“I thought we might get 10 people,” he said. “But the initial registration indicated there are more people than that. I’m surprised. That’s a long way to run in the heat.”
Some who remember the original 10-mile run are apparently up for the challenge.
“I think for half the people who say, ‘I’m glad you are bringing it back,’ it’s a personal challenge,” Eggler said. “The other half is pure nostalgia. They have all gotten older and slower and they want to see if they can do it again.”
Eggler said about 250 people have signed up for all the races so far, and that many more are expected to register before the start time Sunday, July 14. The 10-miler begins at 8:15 a.m., the 10K at 8:30 and the 5K at 8:45.
Registration is $20 by mail, online through Active.com or in person from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, July 13 at the Central Pennsylvania Convention & Visitors Bureau, or on race day at Medlar Field.
For more information and registration forms, visit the Nittany Valley Running Club website.
Eggler said money raised during the event is used to promote and support youth running programs in the area.
“It’s all in the name of youth running,” he said.