Tara Murray: Running club stays busy over winter months

Far from going into hibernation, the Nittany Valley Running club offers runners opportunities to stay active through the cold winter months.

First up is the Nittany Valley Half Marathon on Dec. 8. The 13.1-mile race starts at 10 a.m. at the Penn State Ag Arena and finishes at the Central Pennsylvania Convention and Visitors Center. The race has a long history, beginning as the Nittany Valley Marathon in 1973 and shortening to a half marathon in 1978. This year will mark John Wilcock’s first year as race director, but Wilcock said he doesn’t plan any major changes since taking over from long-time director Dave Eggler.

The NVRC kicks off the New Year with an evening race during the First Night State College festivities. The Resolution Run 5K starts at 6:30 p.m. at the corner of College Ave. and Allen St. in downtown State College. The course is a relatively flat, certified course through Penn State campus, finishing back on College Ave. Race day headquarters is the St. Paul’s United Methodist Church basketball court. Runners are encouraged to run in costume and there is a special award for the best costume.

More information about both races, including online registration, is available on the NVRC website,

Race results

Rusty McCrae won the Steps 2 Safety 5K in State College on Oct. 9 in 16 minutes 44 seconds. David Moore was second and also under 17 minutes in 16:56. Thomas Stitt was third in 17:37. Patrick Singletary was first masters and fourth overall in 17:44. Megan Hutchinson was the first woman in 20:02, edging out Meira Minard by a second. Jaimie Wright was third in 20:52.

Singletary got the overall win on the new Knights of Columbus 5K course in 17:58, well ahead of second-place finisher Rick Henneman (19:16). Judd Michael was third in 19:25. Ann Skulas-Ray was the first woman in 21:59. Tanya Rissmiller was a minute back in 22:57, and 12-year-old Serafina Mazza of State College was thired in 23:21. The race, held in State College for the 23rd time on Oct. 13, debuted a new two-loop course and a new sponsor, the State College YMCA.

Dan Craighead repeated as the winner of the Give ‘Em 5! Run for Veterans 5-miler in Bellefonte on Nov. 3 in 26:57. David Moore was more than half a minute back in 27:31. Singletary took third in 28:59. The race gave special awards to the top veterans. On the men’s side, Robert Shafer was first in 31:52. Debbie Simoncek was the second overall woman and top female veteran in 38:27. Minard was first overall in 33:25 and Lauren Quevillon took third in 40:46.

Craighead, a recent Ithaca College standout and current Penn State grad student was fresh off a commanding win at the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, N.Y. on Oct. 6. On a warm, humid day, Craighead finished in 2:28:19, more than 8 minutes ahead of the next runner.

Matthew Herring, a fellow Penn State grad student who battled Craighead throughout the 2012 Give ‘Em 5! and the 2012 Nittany Valley Half Marathon, ran a 2:30:56 to finish fifth at the Steamtown Marathon in Scranton on Oc.t 13. Tom Cali of State College won the men’s 55-59 age group in 2:54:35, and Kathryn Koetje-Simin of State College won the women’s 40-44 age group in 3:16:08.

Running calendar

Local runners can choose between three “turkey trot” races to burn off some calories before settling in to a Thanksgiving feast. On Nov. 16, Geisinger will host a Turkey Trot 5K benefitting the Children’s Miracle Network. The race starts at 9 a.m. at Geisinger-Gray’s Woods in Port Matilda and registration opens at 7:30 a.m. For more information and online registration, see

The brand new Boalsburg Turkey Trot 5K on Nov. 28 will benefit the St. Joseph’s Catholic Academy cross country and track and field teams. The top male and female runner will each take home a turkey. The race begins at 9 a.m. at the intersection of Boalsburg Pike and Boal Ave. and registration opens at 8 a.m. Online registration is available through

The Penns Valley Turkey Trot 5K, in its fourth year, benefits the Hope Fund of Penns Valley. The race begins at 9 a.m. at the Old Gregg School in Spring Mills and race day registration begins at 8 a.m. For more information, see