Thursday, December 31, 2020

Who Ran The Most In 2020?

 Who among us happened to run the most miles in 2020?  Treadmill miles do count, but only because that's all I have.  Reply with your mileage on our Facebook Page, or in the comments below!!  And make it miles, because we're Americans dammit and Jimmy Carter blew it in the 70s when he tried to switch us to that ridiculous metric system!  Lasted all of one week, if I remember correctly.

Jimmy knows peanuts and centimeters.


The winner will receive a very nice prize of my choosing.  Because I am a nice guy.

Saturday, December 19, 2020

The Most Popular Running Loops

The results of the poll are in!

The 3 most popular Penn State Track Alumni running routes from the recent inquiry are:

  • The Barrens/Pine Forest/Scotia Range
  • Game Lands/Toftrees
  • Colyer Lake
And don't forget, I neglected to include Skimont/Bear Meadows /Switchbacks. I feel that also would have garnered enough votes to appear here.


The least favorite running routes were:
  • Nixon Road/Marathon Course
  • Houserville /Lemont
  • Bypass Loop

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Workout Wednesday: Snowmageddon Edition

 

Somewhere in the nominations for favorite running courses/loops, someone mentioned a fun run in the snow (Steve Balkey).  I remember one in particular.

While the first team was away at an Indoor Meet, the rabble like me was left behind to fend for ourselves. So it was with great surprise that I heard from Rob Whiteside on a Sunday morning about going for our usual distance run.

But it was snowing with already a foot on the ground (curse me if it was only 10 inches!) and the motivation wasn't high.  But Rob has always been my muse.  It is why I made him my Best Man, confusing many in those years long ago.

Rob persisted and off we went.  We went down 4 Hills and headed to Swatsworth Road (another loop I forgot to put on the poll!).  Instead of heading toward the Deer Pens and the Observatory, we turned up the hill much later and headed to the newly expanded Airport which had cut off our old route through the woods to what the younger crowd call Sh*tspray.  

This meant about 5 miles through 12 inches (10 inches?) of snow until we hit the fence and had to turn around and retrace our steps.  Those 10 miles in snow without snowshoes was the equivalent of an easy marathon or at least "a hard 20".

But this was back when men were men (and women mostly avoided us).  I forget if I made it back for Brunch in the dorms.

Monday, December 14, 2020

Distance Runners Favorite Loops (The Poll)

 

I have taken liberties combining/renaming loops to come up with this list.  Of course that can encourage disagreements and outrage and negative comments.  That is sorta the whole point of the blog anyway!

Poll Here

 And after all that, I forgot to add Bear Meadows/Skimont to the list.  Duh...

Monday, December 7, 2020

Having Been Reminded Of The Switchbacks...

 

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Primal Seven Run



It was a dark and stormy morning. It didn't start out that way. It started out as any normal Sunday morning seemed to when we awoke and realized that we had to hightail it to Rec Hall shortly or we would incur Coach's wrath for being late for the Mountain Run. Usually we had to wait only for Gary (Black) to show up! Shaking off the vestiges of the night before, we donned our scratchy blues and grays and supplemented them with the even scratchier sweats of further gray. It was early Spring which is really late Winter in Happy Valley.

We piled into the Van of Blue with Coach driving, the entire rag tag bunch of 15 or so of us scratching, bitching and farting as usual, before making it to the starting area somewhere in Bear Meadows. The 15 mile run (actually 17 as usual) was throughout Bear Meadows, with the Switchbacks somewhere in the middle. (A chill has unexpectedly run up hundreds of spines of ex-PSU distance runners at the mention of Switchbacks!) All was going swimmingly until the second half of the run, when a dark chill seemed to envelope our world. By then we were spread out sufficiently that few of us were within site of each other. Soon site-lines didn't matter, as the darkness got worse. Then the rain began. A cold, cold rain, that seemed to penetrate to the bone. As we laughed that it couldn't get worse, the lightning began. At first, the frequent lightning was a benefit; it allowed us to occasionally see the road ahead and ever so slowly make it back to the Van. But then, the trees started bursting into flames occasionally, usually right next to us, with trees occasionally falling into the surrounding darkness with a sickening crunch.

As the rain continued, our sweats came alive and stretched to 200% of their former length, taunting us with their elasticity. When we doubled the ends up and pulled them to our groin, they still dragged on the ground in the middle, making running a struggle. (I swear, I'm not making that up!) It got colder, more trees fell and others burned, we couldn't see where we were going unless the lightning hit near us, and we weren't sure if we could find the Van.

Somehow, someone's prayers were answered and several of us stumbled upon the Van in the torrential rain and darkness. It was now as simple as reaching for the key, which all of us knew was always placed on the driver's side front tire, AND IT WASN'T THERE! For the first time in our recorded history, Coach had kept the key, and was somewhere in the darkness behind us, running with the trailing group or possibly lost for all eternity. The downpour continued as we huddled in the ever worsening cold. We didn't speak much, some of us were wondering whether we would ever make it back to the dorm for our Brunch of Chicken Cosmos or something.

When Coach finally made it back to the Van we all hurried in, only to realize that the usual disgusting odors were now magnified exponentially. The windows fogged relentlessly as the yellowish haze built in the passenger compartment. The drive back was only seemingly 2 hours long, and as we were finally nearing campus a thought hit me, that has stuck until this day.

While we were out there in the worst weather I had encountered in my 19 years, I realized that as humans, we were no better off than the common Tree Shrew I had just learned in Evolution Class was similar to our earliest ancestors on the hominid tree. The Primal Seven was formed, as I thought of what the poor Tree Shrews must have felt while stuck in the trees during such a storm.
  1. Cold
  2. Wet
  3. Tired
  4. Hungry
  5. Lonely
  6. Scared And,
  7. Thirsty.
And they had no Chicken Cosmos to look forward to!

Thursday, December 3, 2020

Distance Runners!! Nominate Your Favorite Nittany Valley Runs For Our Poll

 

What was your favorite run in all of Nittany Valley.  Include a name or description, length or any other info that is relevant.  Hope to get a response from some of you.  You can nominate several if you wish.  In the comments below or on our Facebook site.


 

Monday, November 30, 2020

Barely Hanging On!

 So with nothing much happening on the PSU Track/XC front, some other news occasionally bubbles up. One of those things was the recent American Road Race Record in the 10-Mile.

Kiera D'Amato set the record the past weekend in Washington DC.



This is officially the very last Women's American Record which is not better than my PR. (51:11 in 1977).   Sigh...

 

 

 



























































































Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Workout Wednesday: My Least Favorites

 

A notable alum has berated me mercilessly for having workouts I didn't particularly like, but it is what it is.  All in all, I loved running back in the day and enjoyed virtually every part of it.  My favorites were the mountain runs and repeat 400s.  My least favorite were:

  1. Tees to Greens - this was invariably on Wednesdays.  Big mistake was trying to catch back up to the real runners after every surge.  Made for a 10K at near race pace and a time nearly as good as the upcoming Saturday race.   My problem, my fault.
  2. The Modified Michigan Workout  3 x Mile with 2 miles of  "tempo" between.  Same problem for me in this one.  My problem, my fault.
  3. Any Hill Workout:  My heart murmur never liked these.  This led to excessively high heart rates at the top when John Barber or Coach Groves himself had you take your heart rates right after the peak.  I had to lie to avoid having to be shipped to the ER.  No one should ever have a 250 heart rate without seeing a doctor.


 

What are your favorites?  And least favorites?  I would love to hear from the Throws guys and the Jumpers and Sprinters as I barely know any of your workouts to begin with.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

It's Not Easy Being Green

 

Got a fairly good response to the repost of the 2010 post on "The Greatest Shoe Ever Made".  Of course, most disagreed with me, which was sorta kinda the whole reason for the post.  Thanks for the input everyone!  Your input is very valuable to me.  The Interns have filed these away in cardboard boxes in their moldy basement abode, for future reference.

 

But by far, the greatest reaction was entirely positive concerning the Adidas Spiders spikes from the mid-70s.  Many of us had them. And loved them.  Even the fastest among us...

 I mentioned your post this morning about the Nike Internationalist.  It is one of many shoes I do not remember... but then at my age!  So, you also mentioned the Spider.  I have attached something from the old running storage box.  I wish I could tell you they smell new, but they smell more like "basement."

-Greg 

 



 I will add that mine didn't have the white tongue and ankle rim.  The green suede was all their was.  Not sure which version was the version 2.0.  Ah, the memories.

I will add that the best way to describe their color is that Michael Scott's Office used the same pigments.

 


 


Friday, November 6, 2020

The Lord Giveth And The Lord Taketh Away

 


After an incredible flurry of activism, fund-raising and general Hell-raising, the William and Mary Board has reinstated all of the teams previously discontinued following this school year.  This will be contingent on a restructuring of gender equity and financial concerns.  I feel that this means the hard part is yet to come.

As gender is defined today, (or not defined!) any governing body can pretty much do as it pleases. 

With the bold actions of thousands of concerned track athletes and fans, otherwise unaccountable bureaucrats were made to listen at least a little.  Highest praise goes to the Women team members of several sports at William and Mary who finally said "Enough".  The rest of us need to continue to stand for what we know it correct.

 


 

But with the rather positive news filtering out about the W&M news, word came immediately that Clemson had discontinued its Mens Track and Field team following this season.  This storied Power-5 program needs no one to sing their praises, and yet we must. 

As I view their information, I discovered that the Football team has its own water slide, barber shop and amenities unavailable to other student-athletes that boggle the mind.  The football coach makes a salary of nearly $9,000,000.

From Yahoo Sports:

Diving deeper into the numbers, the Clemson men’s track & field and cross-country program had operating expenses of $2.3 million in 2019, according to Sportico’s database. The program offers 12 scholarships that are distributed across 26 athletes, plus an additional 25 walk-ons, meaning that the tuition paid by runners in the program dramatically outweighs the cost of the scholarships awarded.

Clemson has offered men’s track and field since 1953. The program has won a combined 23 ACC championships and 16 individual NCAA titles, and produced 22 Olympians.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Throwback Thursday: The Greatest Running Shoe Ever Made

 


The Greatest Shoe Ever Made?

Due to my choice of profession, I am often asked "What is the best running shoe?".  My answer is invariably, "They don't make it anymore."  The recent craze of "minimalism" in running shoes is an overcompensation for the extensive cushioning all the shoe companies competed with each other to provide.  Air, gels, foams and more are put into shoes to provide off-the-shelf shock absorbing qualities which deteriorate quickly after your first miles.  A professor once described these gimmicks as "horsesh*t and splinters", especially when done to excess.  For us old joggers, they are fine, but for the competitive runners, they may not provide what's needed. Cushioning vertical forces, for the physics nuts out there, provides less horizontal force, the mainstay of a fast runner.  "Barefooters" and minimalists point to anecdotal evidence that today's shoes lead to more injuries.  True science shows a different story, something conspiracy theorists in the running community never heed.

The "perfect" combination of cushioning, wear (and quality looks!) was provided in the Nike Internationalists from back in 1978 or so.  I honestly put more than 4,000 miles on one pair without wearing out the out-sole and they still had the same cushioning (albiet less than today to start with) than when they were brand new. ( I know some will dispute this, but it's true!  Remember, I weighed less than $1.20 and couldn't afford a new pair anyway!)  I saved them and could still run in them if a gun was held to my head.  (Sometimes that is what it takes nowadays to run anyway.)  Nike even brought them back a few years ago, but they weren't the same and came in colors that were less than desirable.

By the way, Adidas Spiders were the "perfect" spike, just to show I can give some love to the other companies.  That green suede  was indestructible, even when a teammate spiked you in a cross country meet, removing your big toenail with surgical precision. (Don Ziter, this means you.) My toe was mangled but the shoe lived on. The trip to Ritenour (Wait an Hour) Health Center was memorable and sealed my choice of profession, if only to treat others better than I was treated that day.

I want feedback on "the greatest shoe ever made".  Give me a comment on your ideal shoe in the comment section below!

Monday, October 26, 2020

Martin Luther Split The Catholic Church; William And Mary Womens Track And Field May Just Unite All Of Track And Field

 


When monk Martin Luther nailed his demands to the door of All Saints' Church in Wittenberg on October 31, 1517, he essentially divided the Catholic Church and heralded the Lutheran Church and Protestantism.

With the William and Mary Womens Team's taping their demands to the door of the University President, they have asked all of us to stand up for Track and Field and against the arbitrary removal of college teams across the country.  Gutsy stuff.  I am hoping they aren't excommunicated...

Taking A Stand


Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Alumni T-Shirt Finally Finds Its Home

 

Thanks to the work of Mark Hawkins and some donations from other Alumni Golfers, a special Alumni T-Shirt was made for Coach Teri Jordan who retired last year.  With all the craziness of 2020, it was finally hand delivered to her by Beth (Stever) Shisler in sunny Florida!  Thanks for all you did for PSU Track and Field and XC.



Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Coach Groves To Be Honored By William And Mary Via Zoom

 Coach's daughter Marianne has sent along info about a Zoom Ceremony honoring Coach Groves on October 18th.

Here is some information about an event at William & Mary for Dad.   It is on October 18, 2020 at 4:00 PM and it is a virtual event.  If you will need to go to homecoming.wm.edu/sunsetceremony.  Upon opening you will see in the  upper right hand corner a box  to register.   You will need to fill in the boxes as needed.  In the  box labeled “Select Registration Type”  select Guest/friend of WM/Other.   On the boxes that do not apply select not applicable on the drop down list.  Once finish select the next button.  You will see the events that are being presented select Sunset Ceremony.  Click next.   There is no cost for this event, it will show that.   Keep going until you complete the registration.   Upon completion you will receive an email showing you are register with more instructions for when the day comes.  If you have problems you can call 757-221-7529 speak with Alisha.     This is a zoom event just to watch.     Feel free to share with others if you like.  

 

Hope all are well.  Marianne

 

Sunday, October 4, 2020

A Gift For Us From The Left Coast

 

Housed in an immaculate garage in San Francisco's suburbs is the greatest Track and Field Museum in the World.  And I am honored to have a lifetime pass to the facility.  And our great Group Friend and member Michael Fanelli sent us this gift cementing his place in my foursome at a future Coach Groves Golf Tourney.  He could do worse than a 3-time winner!

 

At Penn in 1922 Penn State wins what is then called the American College Championship sprint medley relay (440, 220,220, 880)...the winning team as shown here ran 3:33 1/5


Here is the 1922 winning Medley Relay squad of J. Moore, Alan Helffrich, (?) Lock, and Larry Shields.


 

Sunday, September 27, 2020

(3 Times) Around The World In 80 (+16,398) Days

 

It took me a lot longer than Phileas Fogg did in the 1956 movie and the two most recent remakes of Jules Verne's classic 1873 novel. It was a loose goal of mine from undergraduate days while in a statistics class. I had figured the chances of making it 4 times around the world somewhat remote. And I am probably correct with that...

But 25,000 miles x 3 seemed realistic and worth running, jogging and now slogging toward. (Actually it's 24,902 x 3 = 74,706 miles.)  

There are some in our Universe with more, even if they never kept track (the sane among us!) In the lead is coach John Lucas with more than 160,000 miles If I am wrong, let me know.

So, the statistics for me:

  • 75,001.25 miles in 16,478 days
  • 4.55 miles per day since June 1975, when I started keeping track. There were probably 2,000 miles before that do not count.
  • With 90.14% of days run, that's 5.05 miles per days run.
  • Longest run in one day was 40 miles.  Longest continual run was 35 miles.
  • Longest streak of days with at least one mile run is 2,022 days (5.6 years)
  • Longest streak with no run is 42 days (fibular neck fracture)
  • Best race (according to IAAF (World Athletics) points is 10 miles in 51:11 in 1977 with 1978 Johnston road 10K in 30:47 second, and 1980 PSU Track 10K in 30:54  third. (891 points, 889 points and 888 points)

Saturday, September 12, 2020

They Are Getting Way Too Close For Comfort

Since way before the current Pandemic, I have been lamenting the loss of Track and field Programs across the country.  West Virginia, Millersville, Bowling Green and Maryland (reversed for Outdoor) only started the trend.  Recent additions of William and Mary and Akron added a second layer.  Now, the Pandemic has given administrators another reason to eliminate more Programs.


 

Bob Hamer sums up the situation with superb insight:

There is so much to cover in all of this and where it has gone wrong but it begins and ends with football. 

ADs and universities realized years ago that the big time money was in football. Yes the NCAA BB tourney makes a billion dollars but you share that with every DI school. Football is not controlled by the NCAA. Conferences control their media rights and make a ton of money off of these rights. There was a scramble to chase these big payouts which led to conference realignment years ago.  The BIG media rights payout was supposed to be $52 million in 2021. Not certain how that will play out this year due to COVID but rational thinking would lead to believe it would be less. This is why other conferences are playing football right now. Money. Rutgers faces a ton of criticism in NJ for being in the BIG and spending the money they spend. Who is laughing now when they get $52 million from the BIG. They won the lottery due to their cable TV footprint and eyeballs. UConn sold their soul for football and they were left at the altar by the ACC and now they are left with a football team with no conference and they had to grovel to rejoin the Big East. They also cut sports this summer as a result. 

Here are the projections for future years for the media rights payouts for the BIG

2024  almost $70 million
2029  $89 million

Let's apply this to Minnesota. In 3 years they are expected to get $18 million more per year in media rights and then $38 million more per year in 8 years. They cut 4 sports to save $2.7 million per year. And to continue to invest heavily in football because they are experiencing a huge resurgence under Coach Fleck. 

College athletics has changed drastically in the last 10-15 years. As schools are investing in football, they are also investing heavily in other non revenue sports. Eventually the model of supporting 25-30 sports at this level is non sustainable. They have palatial locker rooms, incredible facilities, flying all over the country for competition, snack stations, stipends, etc. All of this is great for the non revenue sports except that they do not generate the money to sustain it. If you do it for football, you need to provide for others as well. At some point something has to give. The pandemic has accelerated that. If ADs wanted, they could try to figure it out. Yes , they are faced with really tough decisions during these challenging times. In my opinion, the pandemic has given them the cover to eliminate sports which will make it easier down the road to provide for the other sports to compete at their desired level. 

I was angered in the early 1990s when men's XC/TF teams were being cut for Title IX reasons and I am still angry today by these cuts whether it is Title IX or budgetary. The opportunity to compete at the college level was an invaluable experience for all of us. It has connected us for a lifetime. It established long term friendships and incredible memories. It was the moments that we spent together on some crazy long run up the mountains, driving in the van with Coach, hanging in the dining hall unpacking the crazy workout we just completed, celebrating the highs and helping each other through the difficult lows, and just hanging out and experiencing college life. This is what made it special. My heart breaks for the athletes that have had this taken away or for the many others who will never get that experience because the opportunity will not exist anymore. 

If it can happen at William & Mary and Minnesota, it can happen anywhere. 

Support your program. Rally around it all the time. It gave you so much. Make sure that you give it something back. 

We Are!

HAMMER

As always, there is blowback coming, and you can help add to the noise!

Sign The Petition!

Sunday, September 6, 2020

The Toad Interviews The Hat

 

Although it has appeared on the Facebook Page before, I wanted to feature The Undersecretary of Fun's epic interview with Dave Wottle on the blog itself.  I wanted to interview him previously and even made him, teammate Sid Sink and Evgeni Arkhonov honorary members of 800U.  All of them accepted.  The difference between Billy Cvecko and I is that Billy always follows up on his ideas.  His dogged determination is another feature I admire.

 

Here are some links to previous posts featuring all of the key figures:

Sid Sink Also Wore A Hat

Yevgeni Arzhanov Joins 800U

Greg Fredericks Sorta Kinda Helped Dave Wottle Tune Up 

More From Yevgeni Arzhanov

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Yesterday Was The Anniversary Of The First Spot's Demise

 So I figured I would post an old post as a tribute to him...

Ten More Things I Learned in More Than 50 Years (Which I Learned From My Dog Spot)

I miss the little fellow.  He was a stray that we adopted into our zoo after he had roamed the streets for a number of years.  It took me 2 years until I could pick him up.  He had more fight in his 5 pounds than most football teams do in the NFL.  We have no idea how old he was, but it must have been ancient.  With his age came wisdom beyond his years and species.

  1. Running in circles for the sake of running in circles is pleasurable most times.
  2. Having one good meal and a bed of your own is really all you need most times.
  3. Having friends around, even if they steal some of your food, is still worth it.
  4. Barking for the sake of barking is pleasurable most times.
  5. Always listen to "the big dog".
  6. Work is a four-letter word ending with the letter kNap is much easier. And it ends with a pee.
  7. All trips to the doctor should end with a treat.
  8. Never give up, never give up.
  9. People are mostly good, but occasionally not. Trust, but verify.
  10. Never eat the tinsel on a Christmas tree.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Time For Some New Running Gear!

Former roommate and multiple Golf Tourney Champion, Doug Kent sends us this wonderful pic of the 1985 Penn Relays Championship of the World America (just gloating a little there) victory lap displayed at a running store in Suburban Philly. Stop by and give them some business!



Saturday, August 29, 2020

Interviews With A Big Man : Nobody Beats The Toad, Even Track And Field News!

 

First up, we must note the results of our previous poll/survey into which abbreviation is preferred by our Universe of Incredible Track and Field Members.

PR (Personal Record)       
32      
94%
PB (Personal Best)
2                   
6%

As I suspected, PR (Personal Record) is overwhelmingly preferred by everyone.  Now we must ask ourselves why the governing bodies and Magazine of Record always use PB (Personal Best).  It couldn't be because of Puerto Rico, could it?  Does anyone know?  Does anyone care?

Now to the meat of our Post... 

The Toad is a rabbit.

 

Anyone paying attention knows how much I admire our Undersecretary of Fun, Billy Francis Cvecko. His infectious enthusiasm, optimism and wholesomeness makes me happy amidst the worst this world has to offer.  He makes surviving through 2020 worthwhile!

While the recent Track and Field News article on Joe Kovacs was great to see, The Toad's in-depth "run" (and throw) with Joe takes precedence over The Bible of the Sport.  Now realizing Joe takes golf seriously, let's all work on getting him to one of our Reunions/Golf Tourney in the future. 



2X World Champ Joe Kovacs Is A Human Cannon

And even more good stuff is coming from The Toad soon!  Love ya, Billy.

 

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

We Have Been Hopelessly Divided For Too Long

 Let's settle it once and for all.  

Which should be the preferred method of abbreviation for the fastest race for a Track Athlete at any given distance or event.  (and of the greatest distance in any Field Event for Field Athletes)?

I have always preferred PR.  One can have many records in differing events, but should have only 1 considered Best!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Bravery Amidst The Chaos

 

It takes bravery to continue forward when everyone else is pulling back.  And a fellow PSU Track Alum certainly is brave!

Rod Stahl has opened his recently expanded Axemann Brewery in Bellefonte.  With football season over before it starts, maybe we should all visit Happy Valley and visit his establishment instead.  Thanks to Greg Fredericks for the head's up on this.

Axemann Brewery

 

Friday, July 31, 2020

Friday Frozen Time Reverberation: A Post From More Than 10 Years Ago At Random: Coach Groves Once Convinced George Steinbrenner To Donate $1,000,000 To The Penn Relays

Is Harry Smith Under Investigation?


RIP George Steinbrenner. We all loved to hate, or hated to love George.

Only hours after Harry Smith opined that his favorite Seinfeld Episode was when George and George (Costanza and Steinbrenner) started sleeping under their desks, the big man is dead! I'm pretty sure an investigation of any role Harry played in the death is underway. Several of us have ponied up some cash for a Defense Fund or at least ensuring that Harry gets a good cell mate. One prominent group member also speculates that Harry may end up in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  In that case, all Defense Fund monies will be returned, and he is on his own.

In all seriousness,  George Steinbrenner was a life-long friend to Track and Field.  Coach Groves once convinced George to donate $1,000,000 to the Penn Relays at a precarious time in its history.  His father, Henry Steinbrenner, was a 1928 Olympic Hurdler.  MIT's track is named after Henry, a 1927 graduate.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Coach Groves Is Still Making Us Do Things


The latest iteration of a time trial to honor Coach Groves was held this weekend.  Not as many took part, but a few brave souls hunkered down and completed an 800M.  I was even in State College, but just about everywhere I wanted to visit was locked up tight.
  • The Outdoor Track - sealed tight
  • The Ashenfelter Complex - not a soul anywhere
  • The Lion Shrine - secluded behind fencing
  • The Sichuan Inn - closed
  • Taco Bell - closed forever
  • The Golden Wok - closed forever
  • Herwig's Austrian Bistro - closed forever
I ended up jogging on the Hotel treadmill.  The other girl running was wearing a mask as she ran sub-6 minute miles two treadmills away.  Sigh.

Ken Cooper led the corps again with a splendid 2:09!  And Greg ran his 880 yards at the Boalsburg Military Museum.  Let's just say, the big guns were silent!


Monday, June 15, 2020

New Singlets Arrived!


It was the largest ever sale of Alumni Singlets and T-Shirts.  Over 50 shirts were distributed by our steadfast Le faucon d'orange (Orange Hawk), Mark Hawkins recently. 

It was also the most difficult of all of our efforts to make Singlets available to our whole Universe.  Many delays occurred for a myriad of reasons.  From licensing problems to Virus shut-downs, they all contributed to lengthy waits for the goods to arrive.

But they turned out splendidly.  Thanks to everyone for the patience and payment of funds!

I already have inquiries about getting more from notable Alums.  Keep tuned into the blog and Facebook Page for any future sales.  Hopefully, there won't be as many problems next time.


The Womens version in Blue


Wednesday, June 3, 2020

A Different Kind Of Streak


I am not referring to KKB's habit of disrobing for a run.  I am not commenting on the natural "free" running of the Yanomamo tribe.  I am not commenting on the Mifflin Mile (RIP).  And I am not even commenting on my 5.6-year streak of at least one mile daily.

Ken Cooper has kept alive his streak of a 5:00 mile every year since he was 15 (I think).  Anyway, that's 34 years straight for the effort.  Turns out that he is 3rd on the active list and the only one of the 3 to have completed his in 2020.  Congrats Ken!


Earlier this year I hit my 34th straight year.  Looking to catch Steve Spence, who's steak is the longest and ended last year at 43 years.  Below is the list.  Some other names you may recognize.

LONGEST STREAKS OF SUB 5:00 MILE

        Athlete                        Yrs    1st    Last    Status
1      Steve Spence                    43      1976    2018    Ended 2019
2      Richard Myers                  42      1971    2012    Ended 2013
3      Tony Young                      41      1975    2015    Ended 2016
4      Joe Carnegie                    40      1970    2009    Ended 2009
5      Peter Kashulines                39      1981    2019    Active - 2019
6      Christian Cushing-Murray        38      1982    2019    Active - 2019
7      Emil Magallanes        38      1971    2008    Ended 2009
8      Pete Kessler                    36      1977    2012    Ended 2013
9      Ken Cooper                      34      1987    2020    Active - 2020
10      Gary Rosenberg                  33      1987    2019    Active - 2019
11      Jeff Barros                    33      1973    2005    Ended 2006
12      Tom Derderian                  33      1967    1999    Ended 2000
13      Dave Milner                    32      1985    2016    Ended 2017
14      Arhreev Bauvnav        30      1991    2020    Active - 2020
15      Mark Coogan                    28      1982    2009    Ended 2010
16      Brian Hilty                    28      1991    2018    Ended 2019
17      Dave Lee                        25      1979    2002    Ended 2002

Monday, June 1, 2020

A Mile For Coach


The Alumni are back at it again, with many running a mile time trial to honor Coach Groves this time araound.  The best time I have heard is from Ken Cooper with 4:51.  That also keeps his streak of years running under 5:00 alive, well into the 30s...  Let us know.

Here's Greg Fredericks effort, filmed by Anne.



And here's the official Lego version of Greg running the 1980 Olympic Trials 10K, where he placed 2nd to Craig Virgin and ahead of Alberto Salazar.  (For the record, the 1980 one was the only one he didn't wear the PSU Singlet.  In 1972 he was running for PSU and in 1984 he ran his last competitive race in a PSU Singlet.  (Do I have those facts correct for Larry, Greg?)


Monday, May 18, 2020

A Summer Camp To Remember


In the waning days of summer 1969, there was a lot to negotiate for student-athletes.  There was a pandemic known as The Hong Kong Flu ravaging the country, just as Woodstock was held in rural New York state.  Over one million people died worldwide.

And there was a new coach at Penn State for Cross Country who brought in many new training techniques and had a fairly good stable of runners. 

They all ended up at a Summer Camp prior to the first trimester of the 1969/1970 season. From Dick Geiger, all the way from rural Tennessee, who is featured in this photo front-left. (That's Greg Fredericks and Coach Groves front-right!)



Fall XC camp in 1969 was near Woodward about 35 miles east of State College. Obviously, it would have been a little difficult to get free weights there even if we'd have been able to "borrow" them from the weight room in Rec Hall. So Coach Groves decided to use what he had--and we could lift. Probably the first and last time an entire team did their entire workout simulataneously and with a single weight. But Coach was always thinking out of the box.

Actually, this posed photo was after the team lifted/dragged/pulled Ralph Kissel's classic Porche roadster back onto the dirt road that lead to the cabin. Ralph had pinned it against a tree; said something about a calf cramp, as I recall! I guess that clutch was really a stiff one. Coach Groves is 2nd from the right next to Greg Fredericks.

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Larry Mangan Broke The Barrier And Vanquished Black And White Photos For PSU Track




On This Day: Larry Mangan Makes Penn State History
Mangan became first Nittany Lion to run a sub-four-minute mile
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – On a sunny State College day on May 16, 1980, junior Larry Mangan toed the starting line hoping to make Penn State history.
"I woke up and went for a little shake out run in the morning and I was nervous. It had been on my mind for a couple years." Mangan said. "I had gotten close for the first time, I had run 4:01 a year earlier so it was on my mind that I thought I could do it. The Saturday before, it was at the Pitt Invitational, I had run 3:42.0 (in the 1500m) to break the school record…which was the equivalent to a sub-four minute mile so I felt I could do it."
Four minutes later, he had done just that. Mangan broke the tape in a time of 3:58.4 to become the first Nittany Lion in Penn State history to run a sub-four-minute mile. Mangan outraced Sosthenes Bitok, who would later run for the Kenyan Olympic team.
"He (Sosthenes Bitok) took the pace so I give him credit because he led most of the race. I was able to get him with about 80-meters to go. And that was his first sub-four as well." Mangan added.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of Mangan's historic run. Mangan's time at the 1500m mark also set the outdoor track record at 3:42.5. Mangan's marks weren't the only records that were set on that day in 1980. Richmond's Hillary Tuwel clocked 14:00.73 to set the outdoor track record in the 5,000m.
Mangan success was not limited to the track as he was a member of the Nittany Lion cross country team that finished fourth, third and third in 1978, 1979 and 1980 at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. Mangan earned All-America honors in cross country during the 1980 season. He was joined by teammates Alan Scharsu and John Zishka on the All-America team.
Mangan also spoke about his head coach, the late Harry Groves.
"He (Coach Groves) put Penn State track & field on the map from 1968-2006. He recruited well. He was an excellent distance coach and he surrounded himself with coaches who were strong in the other disciplines and he was a motivator…He believed in a system and it worked for a really long time….He invested in me and he trusted me."
Penn State remains a big part of the Mangan household. Larry's daughter, Olivia, threw javelin for the Nittany Lions and graduated in 2014. Larry had a son graduate from Penn State in 2016 and his youngest son is a member of the Penn State class of 2024.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

40 Years Ago Seems Like Just Yesterday!




40 years ago, Friday May 16, 1980 Penn State Track and Field finally broke though a long standing barrier and one Larry Mangan wrote his name into the record books.  Yes, the first Penn Stater to run a sub 4 mile and he did it right in Happy Valley (who said it is always too windy here?)  Larry will join us Saturday May 16th at 10AM eastern time and hang around a bit for the west coast to wake up!  Maybe each of you have your Larry or 1985 4X800 moment you can share.  Lets have some fun and recognize one of our greats.

Thanks.
greg

And let's not forget that it wasn't too long after that but 2 years since Greg joined the Bannister list!  Go Larry!

Gregory Fredericks is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.



Wednesday, May 13, 2020

We Need This Guy For Our Tourney Next Year!


Saturday would have been the 19th Annual Coach Harry Groves Golf Tournament to coincide with our Program-wide Reunion.  It would have been our first at Toftrees, where Spouse the Better and her brothers lived next door to Fred Wolf, the author of Joe Dirt and Strange Wilderness.

I would also have been vying for my third straight title, a feat that has not yet been accomplished.  My practice schedule indicates that I had as good of a chance as any of my other 3 victories.

But what we truly need is a guy who can get things done without any muss or fuss.  One club bought for $2.99!  No bag, no worries.



Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Honorary Coach Groves International Alumni 400m April 2020


Harry Smith compiled all the reported times from around the world into one list.  This was inspired by Ken Cooper's challenge to all of us.

In my defense, I didn't try to run a fast time, I only surged for a 10:00 mile in the middle of my regular treadmill run.  I easily could have run a 2:10 400!  Hee hee hee

One more time. here is the up to date list: (5 decades now with Luke)
 
Karl Tewold '74 Finisher
Hugh Hamill '76 Finisher
Kelly O'Brien '80   84.
Brian Boyer '80 2:33 (500m)
Mark Hawkins '81  74.6
Larry Mangan '81  93.  (* Lane 5 conversions not available)
Donnie Skerpon '81 1:56
Dave Baskwill '81 2:30
Harry Smith '84  90.78
Clark Haley '85  DQ (false start-LOL)
Steve Balkey '88  81.21
Phil Caraher '88  2:03.90
Chuck "no sweat" Malone '89 Finisher
Chris Mills '89  1:58.30  (appealed not making Championship of America heats, appeal denied)
Samuel Harris '89  Monday heat - results pending
Doug Walter '90  84. (Altitude conversions also not available) 
Jay Novak '90  79.  
Bob Radzwich '92  67.16
Ron Moore '92 81.88  
Ken Cooper '94  59.89
Ron Caldwell '94  61.
'Tom Bisko '94 ?? (Finisher, can't find time reported)
Jake Bartholomy '95  77.8
Che Arosemena '97 Sunday Heat, results pending
Jayson Jackson '99 80.5
Matt Lincoln '06  53.
Luke Watson '13 59.

-(and in the background the PA announcer is still paging Sam Harris of Penn State,"please report to the starting corrals and check in for your 400m heat!")

Regards,
Harry

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Penn Relays Old School Style: Complete With Crimes!

Steve Balkey celebrated both the Penn Relays and Coach Groves' birthday by breaking into the Outdoor Track and running his very own 400M to complete the challenge from Ken Cooper. With his Alumni Singlet, no less.  Well done.   And in 81.39.  That will be nearly twice as fast as my coming treadmill 400 later today.

I may honor the Penn Relays later by peeing on the wall behind my garage later too.  It brings back fond memories of the Franklin Field Men's Rooms. Only my garage is slightly more ornate.





Friday, April 24, 2020

Happy Birthday, Coach Groves


It is fitting that it coincides with Penn Relays the day after Distance Night. 

I tip my Cold Molson to him. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A Top-Ten Hot Dog And Top-Ten French Fry Eatery Closes


I have written about The O many times. Here and Here  From our William and Mary connection comes this tragic news. They really did have the best hot dogs and french fries in Pennsylvania.  Anyone ordering a large french fry there was always met with giggles.  A small order filled a cafeteria tray and fed a youth basketball team.  The hot dogs had a reddish color. Okay, they were straight-up red, and the special recipe was a secret from their manufacturer.

I will miss you, O.


 

Monday, April 20, 2020

Virtual Penn Relays And A Big Announcement


Got this from Matt Groves and Harry Smith via the internetty thingie.  Check it out.  You can join the team or just watch.  That's almost exactly like real life!  Be careful if you sit in the 2nd turn (And THERE ARE ONLY 2 TURNS ON A TRACK, EVERONE) stands, that's where the virtual Jamaicans and Virtual Fraternities sit!


And in news that really isn't news, the 19th Annual Track/XC Reunion and Coach Groves Golf Tourney have been canceled.  I know everyone was assuming that anyway, but Clark Haley, with advice from the other idiot Officers of the group officially pulled the plug this weekend.



 

Saturday, April 18, 2020

We Are The Second Largest Sports Alumni Group At PSU


Only the Football team has more living Alumni than the Track and Field/XC teams.  And yet the Track staff still don't have a complete and updated email listing to help keep everyone in touch.

Director of Operations and Javelin star Laura Loht has asked me to help in the quest for a complete listing.  She has compiled a form to be included in the soon to be "most active and largest Track Alumni Group in the World."

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Stolen From The 90s Guys


The alums from the 90s started their own internetty thingie years ago to keep in touch.  They still use it today to "socially distance" and yet still stay close.

Many of them are also members of our group.  I hope they don't mind spreading the latest from their world onto the stage of our blog!

Here's video from what they consider "long ago", (1994) featuring Bob Hamer and Che Arosemena.  That really makes me feel old...

Thanks to Mark Wimmer and Harry Stants.



Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Sticking Together By Staying Apart


My practice continues for patients at risk, including diabetics, ulcer patients, infections and post-ops.  This puts me at some risk even while following all the mandates, rules and dictates from those in charge.

When I saw a fellow PSU Track Alum and Health Care Provider chipping in by making masks at home, I asked for a couple.  Thanks to the never-ending skillset of Jake Bartholomy, I have a nice mask I wear when out and about and over my N95 at the office. I use UV lights to sterilize it regularly.  My wife has another for her work in Harrisburg where she is more at risk.  Thanks Jake!



 

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

A Triumph Against All Odds


Lego Ron Moore has done what very few people have.  He has finished a Fun Run at the Barkley Marathons as a Virgin.  That means in his first year as an entrant he managed 3 complete laps in under 40 hours.  See the Wiki for all the rules.

Ron actually completed the 3 laps in 36 hours and 29 minutes.  He had a hard time on Loop 3, with some rain and darkness causing a navigation error and a backtrack adding nearly 2 hours to his time.  When he returned to camp he had donned his Alumni Singlet as well as his "Harry's Boys" wristband and PSU Track cap!

After downing another heaping helping of my specially prepared Dinty Moore Stew and the peanut butter concoction I had to hide from the dogs, I caught him falling asleep.  With his triumph of a Fun Run under his belt, Ron reluctantly decided to call it a race and let the real Ron Moore have a shot at the Full Monty next year.

After taps was played by Laz himself, Ron was presented with an enormous trophy (there are no trophies or medals.) to celebrate his achievement.  Laz's dog Big and Ron's Dog Barkley were gleeful audience members.  Both dogs are rescues from within the Frozen Head State Park itself.

A fitting way to end our tale on a high note.


Thank you to Ron for playing along with this whole thing.  Hope to be with you next year when you make it all come true.  Ron adds, "A Fun Run is still a DNF!"

Monday, March 30, 2020

Call Him Ishmael


As Ron Moore continues his quest to finish the Barkley Marathons, he must not only navigate the course but tear pages out of a book to prove his navigation.  The pages required are always the bib number he is wearing, which is a new one each loop.

The books are hidden in a clever way and clues are given to help the runners find them.  Some of these are clever and some maybe not.  Ron has been given the job of placing books 1 book in the past. My bet is that his clues were clever! Lazarus writes all of the clues.

Here Ron looks for page #51 from a copy of Moby Brick, the worst novel ever written in the Lego world.  By the end of it, you don't care if he finds the damn big white brick or not.


Sunday, March 29, 2020

Ron Moore Is On Loop 2!


It was a very nice day in Frozen Head State Park yesterday.  At least us sedentary types. Ron Moore got an early start on the first of hopefully 5 loops of the Barkley Marathons.  He seemed very confident at the start which was an hour before first light.  That would give him sunlight for the first circumnavigation, a luxury I assume.

With an average time of 11 or 12 hours expected for each loop, that gave me a great opportunity to finally formally meet Race Director Lazarus Lake and ask him questions that the other "journalists" never do.  It was a lively give and take, which I will detail at a later time.

Laz being interviewed by me with his dog, Big.


I also had time to follow the marked trail to catch a glimpse of Ron as he topped the Rat Jaw Climb to the Fire Tower and the only aid on the entire course.  One self-service water stop.  And that means none if the weather is below freezing!


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He finished the first loop in 11 hours and 39 minutes.  He had all of his pages from the 11 books along the way and was cleared to begin the second loop.  He stopped briefly and changed his wet shoes and had a meal of Dinty Moore Stew and a peanut butter concoction dreamed up by me and also relished by all the dogs. 

Ron took a total of just 20 minutes "in camp", made sure he had extra batteries for his headlamp, filled his hydration backpack,  and got his second bib number from Laz at the yellow gate.  And he was gone again!

Saturday, March 28, 2020

The Lego Barkley Is Underway!


The start of the Barkley Marathons is an elaborate affair.  Once all the registrants have paid their dues and checked in, they then settle down in their tents awaiting the start of the race.  No one but Lazarus Lake knows the time of the start.  It can occur from any time from Midnight to Noon the next day.

Everyone pretends to take a nap and relax, but apparently, no one is really able to do that.  With the strain of what is ahead of them, the runners are excused if they can't quite relax. Even the invited Press are on edge.  Ron Moore and I talk about the similarities and differences in our time at PSU, and he pretends to dose a little

An hour before the start, Lazarus puts out the siren by blowing on a conch shell.  Then all heck breaks out.  All the runners must carefully adorn themselves with everything they need for the ordeal, keeping in mind that all 4 seasons may greet them in each 12 hour period.  The weather tonight was rather warm and a high of 75 degrees may scorch the runners tomorrow. No rain is expected until possibly tomorrow, but each peak and valley of the Frozen Head State Park can have their own weather pattern.

The conch blew at 5:00AM today.  All the runners gather at The Yellow Gate for the start.  This occurs when Laz lights up a cigarette.  And The Game is Afoot!

Ron Moore poses for me at The Yellow Gate start/finish line.

Lazarus Lake signals the start by lighting a cigarette.

Friday, March 27, 2020

We Made It To Frozen Head State Park And I'm Hungry For Chicken


After picking up Ron Moore at his Eastern Tennessee home, we both headed to the Frozen Head State Park in Podd 2.0, my "rolling home on wheels".  All the amenities of home, but all coming from the Dollar Store (no kidding)Barkley, Ron's dog joins us with Odie and Spott.  They seem to be getting along just fine.  They hope to meet Big, Lazarus Lake's famous dog.

First up today was the elaborate check-in and registration.  Each Barkley Virgin, like Ron, owe Laz a license plate from their homeland.  He displays each one every year as a fine backdrop for the Press, like me.  Ron's plate reads Pennsylvania plate  PSU TandF!  That will make a great display for future Nittany Lions who make the magic 40.

Each year, runners who make another Barkley field must bring an item of Laz's choosing.  He usually sees what he needs and asks for that.  Socks, t-shirts, dress shirts have made the list recently.  This year he chose a case of Moxie Soda, which I happen to love.  The soda from Maine is famous and quite the medicinal concoction made for an event like this.



All the runners have a chance to peruse the official map of the course for this year.  Every year, the course changes somewhat.  The runners do not receive a copy, but may make one on their own from glancing at the official one belonging to Laz.  There are numerous "stops" along the way where each runner must tear a page out of the book hidden with clever clues matching their bib number.  Be careful if you get bib #1, as Laz considers this person a sacrifice, unlikely to ever finish even one of the 5 loops.

As everyone has checked in, frivolity visits the bedraggled camp, as the Annual Chicken Dinner is served.  The namesake of the race has donated all the frozen chicken to Laz for this feast over the years. He passed away recently which prompts a moment of silence in the camp.  It has been said that in years past Laz wasn't the very best of chefs, with some of the chicken being severely over or under-done!  Someone new has been designated as chef lately, but Ron usually stays clear of the chicken, especially this year as he has to hopefully run more than a hundred miles soon.


 
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