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.


        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.


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!")


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!

Add caption

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.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Carbo Loading Is An Essential Element In The Barkley

For the last number of years Ron Moore has been at the site of the Barkley Marathons as either a Crew for one of the runners or on the Weight List helping out.  He has even made the climbs to place some of the books at various places on the course according to Lazarus Lake's instructions.

This year, as an invited runner, his normal pre-race routine has become a vital part of the recipe for success.  Before Ultras, Ron usually heads to Jet's Pizza for a 8-Corner Super Special.  This year he has to settle for delivery from Dominos, but at least he has a nice bottle of wine and some hot sauce to go with it.

And I am on the road, I-81 to be exact, winging my way toward Eastern Tennessee in my Podd 2.0.  Gas prices are well below $2.00/gallon now, so I am saving money with every mile.  See you soon, Ron.

Jet's 8-Corner Super Special

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Just In The Nick Of Time

Lego Ron Moore has received his Foot Care Kit For Lunatics (registered trademark of Apple Hill Podiatry Associates PC) in the mail today.  Which is good because tomorrow he must make his way to the Frozen Head State Park for check-in and registration for the Barkley Marathons.

Once he sees the benefits of the products inside, he will be a sponsored spokesman for the product's unveiling at next year's Real Marathons.  I hope to sell 39 of them next year so as to recoup lost revenue from this year's canceling of the event.  There is even a roll of toilet paper in every kit!

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Ron Moore's Lego Minifigure Is A Metaphor For All Of Us

Why would a grown man play with Lego?  Why would he represent real people in miniature toy fashion?  Why would he forsake the real world for a world of plastic (soon to be plant-derived plastic!)?  Take a look around.  We all have real problems and dilemmas on a daily basis.  This is just a way to bring a little mirth to the situation.

But by doing so, I hope to highlight an Alum and his extraordinary accomplishments, as an athlete, a scholar and as a man.  Ron Moore is a thankful fan of what Coach Groves gave to him, just as I am.  Many of us were given such a gift, even those who were not directly coached by him.  All of us are better off because of the Program legacy Coach Groves helped create.  He helped all of us to climb mountains we never thought we could scale.

Here's Ron Moore in training for the Barkley Marathons, to be held in Lego fashion only this weekend.  He is at the top of Rat Jaw, one of the more famous climbs in the Frozen Head State Park.  This is a powerline-cut over the top of a mountain.  Notice that it is cleared.  But what you don't notice is that the first plant life to return once a forest is cut is the briars and thorns.  Now imagine running up this on a night without a full moon.  Or worse yet, running down this at night with only a flashlight or headlamp!  Don't forget those extra batteries too...

Monday, March 23, 2020

Now For The Hard Part

Well, Ron Moore is in the Barkley Marathons this year.  Not the real one (at least until next year!), but the Virtual Lego one we have created in order for everyone to get the feel for the hardest race in the world.

He negotiated the nebulous entry format and received his acceptance in the form of a condolence letter several months ago.

But all along, he had an inkling he would make the grade this year, as he was the last person left off the line last year and has spent the last 3 years on the Weight List, as it is called by the initiated.

That means he had to train all year for the chance to perform well on the mountains of rural East Tennessee.  And so he has.  This training has not just been general aerobic running, but long treks in the woods and up and down mountains.  I suppose he even had to do some of this in the dark, as 40% to 60% of the race would be in the dark, depending on when Laz decides to start it.  Luckily for Ron, he has been able to do some of this training on the actual climbs in the Frozen Head State Park.

Ron is in good shape, and so is his Lego character.  Which is a good thing, because he has to get there for this Friday, ready to go!  My Lego character will also be there as invited Press to bring excitement to our vast swarms of readers.

Ron in training with his hydration backpack.

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Sorry, But You Made It

The Barkley Marathons got real for Ron Moore when he received an email with condolences from Race Director Lazarus Lake several months ago. Somehow, he was happy after being the next runner up in last year's Weight List. Although Ron will have to wait until next year to really run the race, our Lego version of Ron soldiers on... 

Following the cumbersome and demanding application process, runners are informed of their acceptance into the ranks of Barkley runners via a condolence letter. In the olden days it was via snail mail, but nowadays Lazarus uses email to inform of the "Good news."

The letter also includes details of when the race is being held. Yeah, the race is held on a day only Laz knows. It is usually a weekend somewhere around Apri Fool's Day. This is never published as far as I know. Word of mouth spreads it far and wide, but is frowned upon by members of the Inner Circle.

Runners who completed 2 or more loops the previous year are invited, as long as the application process has been adhered to. Most reapply and are at the yellow gate the next year.  
Error: Only runners who complete all 5 circuits are guaranteed entry the next year according to Ron Moore.  I was wrong.     More on that gate later.

The condolence letter comes in enough time to sorta kinda prepare, but training had better be well under way in order to have a chance at a good performance. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Even The Application Process For The Barkley Marathons Is Difficult

In order to be included in the "lucky" 40 people chosen for the most difficult race in the world, a labyrinth of procedures must be done on a time schedule that is unknown.  That's right, in order to get into the race, you must apply on a certain day, at a certain time which is unknown.  I have been hooked on the event for several years and I only have an inkling when that is.  In order to know, I conjecture you must immerse yourself in the culture until someone lets slip when that is.  And that is a best-guess estimate.  Much like predicting the bottom on the Stock Market, good luck!  My guess on when to apply to be among the Press allowed in Frozen Head State Park during the race was wildly off.

The application itself is an essay on why you deserve to be included in the ranks of the runners in the nearly impossible race.  I have never come across any of the essays, as secrecy is better among this gang than that seen with other secretive groups like the Masons or maybe even the Illuminati!  What Lazarus Lake does with these essays is also a secret.  There are occasionally other requirements which can change willy-nilly and are not standard.

The entry must be mailed in with the $1.60 entry fee, which is non-refundable.  As far as I know, the entry fee has remained steady since the start of the event in 1986.

Also included in the registration is a written examination of 5-6 esoteric questions ranging across the spectrum of human knowledge,  math, Physics, chemistry, history among them.  Grades for the exams are never given or results divulged except when a perfect score is achieved.  This has only happened once in the past 5 years. One question has been repeated each of at least the last 5 years.  Apparently, it has never been answered "correctly."

With the track record of accuracy on this blog, I am hoping that Ron Moore will correct any errors, which will be transparently amended. 

Here, Ron Moore fills out his written examination for inclusion in the Barkley Marathons.  This happened sometime in late 2019.  Ron must not have received a perfect score, but there was a Physics question he aced!

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

My Barkley Marathons Will Be Held As Scheduled

Now that there is virtually nothing in the track and field world to even write about besides cancelations and the repercussions, I have decided to go on as planned with my very own Barkley Marathons as scheduled.

Previously, I had applied to the event's Inventor and Race Director, Lazarus Lake, to be included in the Press contingent for the event.  Not knowing the inscrutable ways of applying for this, I was invariably late to the line.  I did get a nice response from Laz, which seemed to indicate he liked my idea of reportage for the event.  That was somewhat encouraging for the prospect of being there next year to bring my 100s of readers the in-depth, offbeat reportage they have come to expect from the "blog with it all."

Concurrently, our very own Ron Moore, our group's  Esteemed Endowed Erwin Schrodinger Chair for Advanced Physics, obtained the coveted "condolence letter" this year that meant he was included among the 40 lucky starters for "the race that eats its young."  We have been conversing about his preparation and fitness for several weeks, looking forward to a Fun Run completion or even greater accolades!

I had even been preparing to cover the race from Blog Central since I wasn't going to be allowed anywhere near Frozen Head State Park in rural Tennessee.  I figured I would combine the blog with my favorite hobby right now, which is creating Lego versions of my real world.  Having given up on News, Politics, and Sports for nearly 6 months now, I needed something more than the blog to keep my mind occupied.

So I have rather detailed sets for all the aspects of the race created in miniature form, I was going to use this to bring the real news of the event gleaned via the internet to my readers in a whimsical format.  With the event being canceled, I can't let my versions of Laz and Ron be relegated to the Lego storage tubs, so I will keep them out and continue bringing the hows and whys of the peculiar race as if it was really proceeding "normally."  I am depending on Ron to help me with the scenario!  Damn the torpedoes, full steam ahead!

First up will be the application process, which is ephemeral at best...   Coming Soon. 

Friday, March 6, 2020

Even More 800U Goodness "Old Age"* Is No Barrier

Harry Stants helped set the World Record in the 45-50yo 4 x 800M last week in Beantown.  Congrats, Harry.  From Mark Wimmer and Ron Moore:

Have to give a shout out to Harry Stants who was part of a World Record setting 4x800 relay at the  Boston University Last Chance Meet in Boston.  Harry and 3 other BAA teammates set a world record for the 4x800 Indoor relay for 45-50 year olds. The old record was 9:51.95 which they crushed by going sub 9.  Harry can give splits and world record time.  Time doesn't matter though as a world record is a world record.  Congrats to Harry and his teammates!

Reply from Harry:

Thanks guys and MarkWimmer for the shout out. It really would not have been if my B.A.A. teammate Chris MaGill (Iona '95) hadn't combed the records to find this weak record and twisted our arms to go after it. I had some hamstring issues going into it, but all was fine for the race. We ran 8:57.09  (previous record was 9:51) and our splits were (Davenport 2:16.9, Georgules 2:11.8, Stants 2:16.6, MaGill 2:11.6). It was funny we were the last event of the B.U. Last Chance meet, so people were filing out of the building as we're starting. There were 2 other college teams in the race that shellacked us and a third track club that was only 12 seconds in front of us. We also recruited a team of younger guys to pace us, which helped a lot. The record isn't official yet, we're working with USATF to make it official, should be soon.
"old age" as defined by recent graduates

Tuesday, March 3, 2020

PSU Is 800U: (The politically incorrect take in honor of Coach Groves)

And for those who don't like it, tough. 

Big Ten Indoor Championships 2020    800M Women:   Danae Rivers  1st  2:06.27
That's her 4th straight Indoor Big Ten 800M title, never done before.
And in the biggest upset so far:

Big Ten Indoor Championships 2020    800M Men:     Billy McDevitt   1st  1:48.78
That's the 5th straight victory for PSU Men!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Penn Staters In The Olympic Marathon Trials

Stephanie "Pezz" Pezzulo:  PSU Soccer and Track,    2:39:19    for   39th Place.

Tyler McCandless:        2:24:04     for 187th  87th Place.

Katie Rodden PSU 2015 299 2:54:05   Thank you John Evans!

Thursday, February 27, 2020

Coach Groves Is Smiling From Ear To Ear: Trenton Makes, The World Takes

A celebration of the Life and Coaching Career of Harry Roger Groves

Date: Friday, May 15, 2020
Time: 7:00pm - 9:00pm
Place: Days Inn State College (Lobby Level Conference Room)  Horace Ashenfelter III Indoor Complex
with continuation for PSU Track Alumni (Golfers) at the Days Inn State College Conference Center 9:00 to 11:00PM
Attire: Casual

Every year in May under the leadership of Clark Haley, the Penn State Track and Field/Cross Country Alums (men and women)  gather for the "Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Gathering / Harry Groves Golf Outing".  We celebrate Coach Groves' impact on our lives and raise a little money for the track and field program.

This year we will remember, honor and celebrate on Friday night of that event.  Everyone is welcome, alums, friends and the community at large.  We will try to have Coach John Gondak and his staff join us by Skype as they will be at the Big 10 outdoor track and field championship.

Coach Groves' commitment on and off the field has had a tremendous impact on many individuals pushing us to be better student-athletes and human beings.  There are sure to be some great memories, fun stories, and laughs shared throughout the evening.

If you wish to make a contribution in lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to the Penn State Track and Field building fund.  Monies collected will be utilized by Head Coach John Gondak to benefit current and future Penn State Track and Field student/athletes.  The link allows you to donate online or there is a downloadable, printable form that can be used.

If you would like to pay by check, please do so by sending to:
Penn State Varsity S
Track Facility Enhancement Fund/ Harry Groves
147 Bryce Jordan Center
University Park, PA 16802
Make check payable to: Penn State
Memo line: TFE-Harry Groves

We Are . . . Penn State!

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

A Legend Sends His Condolences

I want you and all your teammates to know how much I liked and respected Harry.  He and my own Coach Gary Wieneke were close friends and both definitely “old school coaches” which I very much preferred.

Please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of someone so important in all of your lives. He will never be forgotten... as long as one of us is still kicking!?!

Pass this on to the rest of your teammates who know me.

Also, here is a picture of my proud piece of Penn State history. Harry gave this to me after winning the NCAA X-C Champs there in 1975. This meant a lot to me then... it means even more so now.

Craig Virgin

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Coach Groves Grew Champions

With all the former athletes chiming in on the internetty thingie yesterday, it was a bittersweet day. I won't try to put up anything profound yet, but I certainly was reminded of one thing.

The accomplishments of Coach are voluminous when posted in their entirety. And quite impressive for anyone who likes track and doesn't know Coach at all. 

But the one thing that comes through in all of this is that Coach considered every one of us as champions. He treated us as champions and taught us how to make everyone around us champions.

We are the champions of the world!

I will expound much more in the future, and will update everyone as I know more. Now go out and be the champion Coach made you! 

Monday, February 24, 2020

Coach Groves RIP

It is with extreme sadness that I inform my many readers that Coach Groves passed away last night.

But it with extreme joy that I announce that I am certain that he has already begun organizing a team for this year's Penn Relays.

RIP Coach, the only man who never lied to me. And made me better than I otherwise would have been.

There will be more to come as I know more. 

Sunday, February 23, 2020

Nittany Lions In The Top Athletes Of The Decade

Well, it turns out that Penn State has 3 athletes that have made the Track and Field News Athlete of the Decade lists.  Two are former student-athletes and one is a former volunteer Assistant Coach.  And all 3 are Shot Putters!
  • Number 4    Joe Kovacs
  • Number 6    Ryan Whiting   (Assistant Coach)
  • Number 10  Darrell Hill

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Coach Groves Shows Me The Line On A 40-Footer

This one may not have gone in but it still got us a birdie (oops, just a par!)Join us for the Coach Groves Golf Tourney in May!!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Nittany Lions At The 2020 USATF Indoor Championships

Long Jump:
     2nd     Malik Moffett        26' 0.25"  (7.93m)

     2nd     Isaiah Harris           1:47.16

     4th      Brannon Kidder     3:44.69

Weight Throw:
     5th      Morgan Shigo        74' 4.5"    (22.67m)

Shot Put:
     DNS   Rachel Fatherly

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Two Hall Of Fame People

I was just an underclassman barely breaking 5:00 in the Mile when I first heard of a running phenom in nearby Camp Hill.  Her name was Mary Rawe.  She continued to dominate Pennsylvania distance running until she moved away to Georgia for her Senior year.

When I matriculated at PSU in the Fall of 1977, There she was!  Back in Central Pennsylvania where she belonged!

Now she is being inducted into the Pennsylvania Track and Field Hall of Fame.  And everyone knows both Mary and her husband Tom Rapp are already members of the Great People Hall of Fame.  They both are some of the finest people this world could produce.  Congrats, Mary.

PIAA Cross Country champion (1975); two PIAA Mile Run titles (1975-6); three PIAA 880y titles (1974-76); and PA Records in the 1500m and the mile. Pretty amazing for just 3 years competition in PA!

The Hall of Fame was established in 1995 to honor the elite individuals in our state’s distinguished track and field history. A selection committee consisting of more than thirty coaches, officials, and journalists collects and reviews information about individuals who have been nominated. 
Each year, 6-to-12 athletes, one coach, one contributor, and one distinguished alumnus are inducted. Athletes become eligible for nomination five years after their high school graduation. Once nominated, a candidate remains under consideration in perpetuity. The committee currently has information on over 400 athletes, 100 coaches, and 50 contributors – more than a century’s worth of outstanding individuals - who have been nominated but not yet inducted. Information on the Hall of Fame may be found at

Sunday, February 9, 2020

We're Moving On Up! To Toftrees!

19th Annual Penn State Track and Field Alumni Gathering / Harry Groves Golf Outing
(MAY 15 – 17, 2020)
The receptions will again, take place at Days Inn (240 South Pugh Street) - We have blocks of rooms reserved there for $129 / night (held until April 15) – Use group code 051520 PSU (reference the Penn State Track and Field Alumni gathering if that doesn’t work) – phone number there is (814) 238-8454 X 1 (Shannon is the contact).  As an alternative, the Ramada (1450 S. Atherton St) also has a small block for us at $77 / night (held until April 15) – Mention Harry Groves or PSU Track and Field Alumni (814) 238-3001. 
FRIDAY’S (MAY 15th) EVENTS:                                                                                                                                                                                                                      
7:00pm – 11:00pm   Meet and Greet cash bar – (kegged beer with hors d ‘oeuvres will be provided)                                                                                                                                    
Picking of the foursomes, 50-50, Putting contest, bar crawl to follow
Mad Mex is located at the hotel, (next to the reception hall) making it convenient for Margarita night caps   
8:30am – 10:00am   - The Co-ed NumbNut Alumni Triathlon held at the outdoor track – Scoring will be 5 for first, 3 for second, 1 for third – winner determined by most points earned in all three events (Events yet to be determined, but accepting any crazy ideas you may have!).  For those not interested, the traditional run will take place departing from the outdoor track (coffee and donuts will be served at the track). 
11:30pm – 5:30pm   The Golf Outing will be held at TOFTREES Country Club this year as the Elks club could not accommodate our afternoon tee times (larger group came in) - the putting contest taking place at 10:45. If you need clubs, there are always folks bringing extra sets so you don’t have to worry about renting (be sure to let us know when you register, so we can plan to have them there).
1:00pm – 3:00pm   Activities for those not golfing.  Depending upon weather and volunteers, we will have a group gathering to hike Mt. Nittany or take a campus tour (either to the Creamery or the Sports Museum (may be an additional cost)).  Meeting spot(s) and tour guide(s) to be announced Friday night – leaving from the hotel lobby.  Vivian (Riddick as you knew her from her PSU days!) who typically leads this group, will not be in attendance due to the graduation of her daughter (Congrats Viv, we’ll miss you!) so we’re looking for volunteers (again!).   Doreen, Emily, Sue (Hint Hint)…

7:00pm – 10:00pm   Dinner Reception and Awards Ceremony for golf outing held at Days Inn 

Costs / Fees:
$200 for those attending the outing and both receptions – add a significant other (or another family member) $300 (if not planning to golf $250).  Additional family member(s), add $100 if golfing, $50 if not (children $25).  Friday and Saturday receptions without golf $125, add significant other $175, add additional $50 for each additional family member ($25 for children).    Friday night reception only - $30 add significant other $50 – add $20 for additional immediate family members (children under 18 free).  Saturday only reception $100 add significant other $150 – any additional immediate family member $50.  Saturday reception with golf included $150 – add a significant other $250 if golfing ($200 if not) – additional immediate family members $75 if golfing, $50 if not.  If you have graduated in the past three years, dump 20% of the tab.  Any other scenario, you’re screwed…(we can discuss)!
This event is open to men, women, and friends (or enemies) of PSU alumni - the more the merrier!  This is all about the laughs and brother/sisterhood, not scores – remember, you will have three other hackers on your team in this captains choice scramble format to laugh at ,so don’t worry about how bad your game is! 
Gifts are happily accepted if you would like to help us defer some of our costs as we contribute all proceeds to the current program.  As small as the group  was last year we were still able to contribute a couple thousand to the program…
Please send checks or money orders to:
                                                Harry Smith

                                                508 Washington Avenue

                                                Elyria, OH  44035
PayPal option this year on the Blog or Facebook page (Dave Baskwill is coordinating) as a matter of convenience
 – if utilizing PayPal include another $5 to your total to defer the charge.

If you should have any other questions or comments, please let me know – Hope to see you this year!     
Clark Haley ‘85

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