Tara Murray’s Running Column: Running opportunities for kids abound

Local kids have ample opportunities to learn about and practice the sport of cross country, whether they just want to try it out or are interested in training for competition, in addition to local school teams.

Nittany Track and Field (NTF) Youth Club will kick off its 11th cross country season on Aug. 24.

“We have seen a growing interest in running among youth and a definite increase in enrollment from year to year, so we hope to gather a good team again this fall,” said organizer Mark Fedkin.

The NTF cross country program is for boys and girls ages 8 to 18 with any level of running experience. Practices are held four times a week from 5:45 to 7:15 p.m., but there is no required attendance.

“Keeping practices fun and enjoyable for kids of all ages has always been our recipe for success,” Fedkin noted.

Due to construction at the State College Area High School, the club will move its practices to a park location this year. The location has not yet been determined.

Participants will have the opportunity to compete at various levels including local meets and regional and national competitions.

For more information about the NTF programs, contact Fedkin at 814-876-0461 or visit the club website at

The Centre Region Youth X-C program offers young runners three free meets this fall. Sponsored by the Nittany Valley Running Club, Centre Region Parks and Recreation, and the State College Area School District, the meets will be held on Sept. 19, Oct. 3, and Oct. 17 at Oak Hall Regional Park.

Kids ages 14 and younger will race various distances according to their age. For more information, see or contact Greg Fredericks at 814-466-6976 or

A group of 33 Centre and Allegheny County boys and girls ranging from sixth-graders to rising seniors got an immersive running experience at the Krush Program’s first overnight distance camp July 26-31. Jayson Jackson, one of the camp organizers, said the program expects to announce dates for a 2016 camp soon at

The camp was held at YMCA Camp T. Frank Soles in Rockwood. During the week, young athletes got an introduction to training techniques, learned from guest speakers including Olympian Brian Sell and participated in activities like rock climbing and night hikes. Most of the kids were preparing to participate in club, middle and high school cross country teams.

Tussey Mountainback

The Tussey Mountainback 50 Mile Relay and Ultramarathon is gearing up for the Oct. 25 race with a series of evening training runs. The Discovery Series will introduce runners to the 12 legs of the 50-mile course in Rothrock State Forest on Thursday evenings beginning Aug. 27 through Oct. 15.

The Aug. 27 run will take runners out and back on the course’s first leg for a total of 6.4 miles. The run begins at 6 p.m. at the Tussey Mountain Ski Lodge’s second parking lot on the left. Start times and locations for each run vary. For a complete schedule, see or contact Mike Casper at 814-238-5918 or

Race results

Former Penns Valley standout Matt Brooker won the Firecracker 4K on July 4 in 11 minutes, 59 seconds. Penn State grad student Lauren Philbrook was the first woman in 13:20.

Andy Krebs won the Happy Valley Sprint Triathlon on July 5 in 1:01:19. Melissa Davies won the women’s race in 1:08:52.

In the Sue Crowe Memorial 40th Annual Arts Festival Races on July 12, Daniel Craighead of State College won the 10-miler in 54:32 and Lauren Leonard was the first woman in 1:12:08. In the 10K, William Kachman of Bedford was first in 34:48 and Victoria Raish of Mifflintown led the women in 40:16. Joshua Velez of Lewistown (17:37) and Hannah Rose of State College (19:07) took the top spots in the 5K.

Rudy Cordon won the Houtzdale Days 5K on July 24 in 19:24 and Mandy Fish won the women’s race in 23:58.

Clayton Bouchard won the Allegheny Front Trail Runs 50K in Philipsburg on July 25, finishing in 5:17:05. Johanna Ohm of State College was the first woman in 6:04:52. In the 20K, Daniel Wikko of Erie was first in 1:32:03 and Sayard Tanis of Dauphin was the first woman and third overall in 1:37:20.

Also on July 25, Patrick Singletary, 50, of State College won the Flutopia 5K at Tudek Park in 18:49. He was followed by the son-father duo of Nikita (19:12) and Mark (19:34) Fedkin. In the women’s race, Kateryna Yakushina of State College was first in 22:07, followed by a pair of teenagers. Serafina Mazza, 14, of Centre Hall was a close second place (22:08) and Jane Patt Biddle, 13, of State College took third in 22:34.

Erin Raupers of State College was the first woman and first overall in 22 minutes at the State College Football Community 5K on Aug. 1.

Running calendar

Herbie’s Home “Town Loop” 4-mile run/walk and 10-mile run, Aug. 15, 8:30 a.m., intersection of High and Spring Streets, Bellefonte. Website:

Happy Camper 5K, Aug. 29, 7 a.m., Grange Fairgrounds, Centre Hall. Held in conjunction with the Grange Fair. Website:

Mt. Nittany Marathon, Sept. 6, 7 a.m., Medlar Field at Lubrano Park. Also includes a 5K beginning at 9 a.m. For more information and registration, see