Woo-hoo! My kids just competed in the 7th annual Youth Step USA National Championship. What a great way it was, to spend Memorial Weekend. Although the kids at first felt weird at going to their school (the event was held at Harrisburg High School), it was such a fun event that really encouraged the kids and made them feel good about themselves. As Brock Harris, CEO of Youth Step USA said: “It’s a great feeling when you can do something for young people and when you see them in this light really showcasing their talents and enthusiasm it’s a beautiful thing.”
So each year, once one marathon is over, I vow to train for the next one. And each year I keep that promise…for about a week. So this year again I unfortunately missed out and was very unfit by the time the marathon rolled around.
Not that my entrance into the race would have turned heads like Leroy Soltzfus did. But perhaps the 22-year old didn’t want to become famous for the reason he did. It wasn’t due to his speed or grace that Solzfus made headlines but what he was wearing as he was running. You see, Soltzfus – who completed the race in just over three hours – is Amish and actually was clad in clothes typical to that religion. Which is not, as you can imagine, very typical to marathon runners in general.
What was even more interesting for me personally was how Soltzfus described his love of running. He said he uses it to deter his entry into sin! Perhaps I should try that next time I’m ordering a third beer for the night!
Harrisburg City Islanders just began their busiest season ever. Two days ago saw the start of the 11th USL PRO campaign. Beginning and ending in North Carolina, the team will participate in 28 regular-season contests for the first time.
Included in this are four games that will be played against Dayton, three against Charleston, Richmond and Pittsburgh and home-and-home sets with Wilmington, Charlotte, Orlando. The Rhinos are also taking part. The single-game series will be played with the Blues, Sacramento, Phoenix, Los Angeles Galaxy II and Oklahoma City.
In 2013, the team played a home-and-home set with the Colorado Rapids reserves.
In a couple of days from now, Harrisburg will be hosting its annual half marathon for Children’s Miracle Network and Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital. Starting at Hersheypark Stadium and going through Hersheytown and Chocolate Town, this event will certainly be one way for runners to burn calories and get in shape even if they happen to stop for a snack along the way!
In recognition of their efforts all races and volunteers will be given complimentary passes to Hersheypark’s attractions. But ultimately, apart from increasing Harrisburg fitness on a personal and communal level, the real reward is the knowledge of helping out these kids through the money raised.
Yes, that’s right. Our city has something to be joyful and proud about. Just today, our very own Harrisburg Senators received the annual Bob Freitas Award from the Baseball American magazine. It is only top Class AA franchise in the minor leagues that get such an award but our Senators were described as “an outstanding franchise” with “long-term success in Minor League Baseball.”
It has been over the last year that the Harrisburg Senators have been doing so well, following the completion of a longtime home ballpark renovation (costing $45m). Today it looks fabulous and there attendance levels have increased accordingly; it’s a great place to go so the people of Harrisburg want to be there. According to Kevin Kulp, the Harrisburg Senators president, “what makes this Freitas Award so special is that the winning organization really has to prove itself over a long period of time.”
It was a day of cheer for all, at Harrisburg’s 39th Marathon. Whether running or spectating and supporting, everyone had a good time on Sunday. Pennsylvania’s Tom Lipsie (the winner) enjoyed the Harrisburg street band No Last Call’s old-school tunes, as he sped through the banner at the end of the run. No Last Call is the city’s first and only street band so it was quite fitting that it was there to play.
The 44-year-old winner certainly had a smile on his face but that could have been because he was happy he came in first yet again, rather than just listening to the band! He did a great job though, coming in at 2:40:17.10, having run 26.2 miles. It’s not the first time Lipsie has won the Harrisburg marathon – it was his ninth – but still, each win has to be exciting. He spoke about his win and his strategy of pacing himself. But at the end of the day – or the end of the Marathon – he just loves to run. Whenever you enjoy doing something it sure makes it easier.
Female runner Jolene Collins did pretty good too. She said it was peer pressure that encouraged her. But it is also something pretty akin to her whole being since she spends part of her time as an assistant cross country coach at Palmyra. Although for Collins, it was her first ever marathon. In a professional capacity, she works as a food scientist for Hershey Foods Company.
No matter what their reasoning, or their experience, all runners in the Harrisburg 39th Marathon should be congratulated for their great work and dedication, making it a real fun day for all who showed up in the city to enjoy the festivities and feed off the adrenalin.
Bishop McDevitt High School Scores
Bishop McDevitt must be pretty happy at the moment. He’s not exactly had all that much of which to be proud vis-à-vis competitive sports in the last couple of decades. Indeed, when the girls’ track team from his Harrisburg high school came in first in the District III AA Team Championship, it marked the very “first district championship in the history of the program,” as well as McDevitt’s own “first women’s district championship since 1985.” That has to be a victory for both McDevitt and the Harrisburg girls.
Maybe you even know one or two of the successful Harrisburg winners. “Earning gold medals for the team were Yaneshia Gaston (200, 400), Amber McCoy (300 hurdles), Kameko Webb (long jump) and the 4×1 Relay team of Gaston, McCoy, Webb, and Ieisha Jackson. Another gold was won with the 4×400 Relay team of Gaston, Jackson, Brianna Davis and Cheyenne Johnson. Other medals earned: Adrianna Vukmanic (2nd in javelin), Davis (2nd in discus), McCoy (2nd in 100 Hurdles and 2nd in high jump), Rachel Gerber (3rd in discus), Webb (3rd in 100m, 6th in triple jump), Anne Mrazik (4th in discus), Jessica Miller (5th in 1600 and 6th in 3200), and Jackson (7th in long jump).
Clearly this was a great team and of course kudos has to go to the coaches as well. Let’s hear it for Harrisburg and McDevitt and hope that this just marks the beginning of a good run for the school.