I’ve been thinking for days about how to write up the race report. I could go into every detail, as the archivist in me is tempted to do. But who wants to read that?

I’ll try to stick to what’s important, and throw in a bit of my own vanity since it’s my blog and well, it’s free.

The bottom line is this: the inaugural running of the Roger Snyder Memorial 5K raised more than $6000 for the Scholarship Fund of In The Beginning Preschool.

This idea began in the fall, and grew quickly as soon as word got out. We had more sponsors than runners until early March, but there was a wave of support that grew and grew. I promised to dye my hair pink if we got more than 100 signed up, but really, that was silly, since the numbers had nothing to do me at all. The community really wanted to support the preschool, and honor Roger’s memory.

In a town that, as far as anyone can remember, has never hosted a 5K race before, we brought together a lot of walkers, some casual runners, and enough area hardcore runners to make the top times competitive. The award winners had names that would sound familiar to anyone who participates in running events all around Central PA. The age group awards they were competing for had quite the process behind them:

Leaving Footprints for the Future

With same day registrations, we assigned over 220, possibly 240 bib numbers. 188 crossed the finish line that day. Results posted here.

Here is what the start looked like.

As I watched the crowd stream out onto Heister Valley Road, I felt like I was watching a child go out into the world that I couldn’t help any more. It was out of my hands. I couldn’t micromanage anything. I had to trust that everyone up the road would be there and doing what they said they would do. Until I saw the lead runner re-enter the park, I was a nervous wreck.

Then they started coming in. A familiar face from the trail runs was first to cross the line, Mike Reider.

The top woman was Katie Enoch, who placed 5th overall.

I’m not going to post all the AG winner presentations, but just one that really impressed me.

Our oldest participant was Pauline Benner, age 81. Pauline still watches my kids from time to time, and they love her house for the old fashioned toys. Pauline broke her leg while walking about 12 years ago, when she went into a ditch because of a truck, and was in a cast for a long time. Once recovered, she restarted her daily 3 mile walk.

With a DJ from WGRC handling music and announcements, experienced running club timers doing the timing, boy scouts directing parking, and traffic control handled by ambulance crews and volunteers, we really had major community support. Registration table had plenty of staffing, and there were people handling kids games during the race. Most kids were happy though, to play on the park playground that was right next to the finish line. Representatives from the Dairy Princess organization brought chocolate milk, and there was plenty of donated food and water at the finish. Registered runners also got a voucher for a spaghetti dinner that evening. (We may be the first race in history to have the pasta dinner AFTER the race.)

Since this was the first running of a memorial race, I thought it was important to recognize the family of Roger Snyder in some way. I came up with this concept when I pulled the 1st bib number off the pile some time ago.

I don’t have a picture or video for this, but one of Roger’s nephews showed me the bouquet of flowers that several nieces and nephews took turns carrying through the race in honor of Uncle Roger. The flowers were taken to his graveside following the race.

I should mention that the course was laid out as an almost perfect 5k course (3.09 on one person’s garmin, 3.1 on another), starting and ending at the community park, with the park loop as the finish. It worked out very well with our few roads right as they were. The route passed by the preschool, Roger’s church, the cemetery, his business, and the oldest building in this part of the county. I like autobiographical routes, as readers of this blog know from my Doughboy 5168 in 2011.

I produced this finish line the night before the race, in the church basement. Balloon art is my thing, and I wanted to do something festive. The “arch” part is supposed to be a caterpillar, similar to the preschool logo. Next time, I need to stretch balloons out for a longer chute, but even as a first time try, I was happy with how this turned out. PVC sunk into concrete poured into cinder blocks made for stable anchors.

The Race Committee of Three

To further add a festive note, the course was marked with arrows you could not miss. What’s a preschool benefit 5K without a kids’ fun run?Notice the intensity of the young man leading the final wave. That’s a future Ryan Hall right there.We are simply thrilled with the way this event came off. The amount of community support was outstanding. Local media coverage was good before the race, and we will see at least two articles in the next week in two different papers. I promised to add a 10k route for next year, and surveying some out of town runners, I believe we ran it well enough to get repeat customers from the running community as well as local folks who we know will return year after year.One final story to come out of this run that I wanted to share. An older woman emailed our registration address and was very excited about doing this race because she read about it in the paper, and thought the preschool connection was great. We mentioned they would be pre-schooler made AG awards. She had never been in a race before and was not a runner, but would love to be able to take something like that home. Well, as it happened, there weren’t fast runners in her 5+ age group, so she took one home. I am sending her a brand new copy of John Bingham’s Courage to Start.That’s the race report from the perspective of a brand new, first time, co-race director. It was exciting and scary, but all came together in the end, and accomplished the many goals that we had. I can’t imagine a better experience for a first time race.

Preschool Teachers Jess Graybill and Beth Young, Women's Winner Katie Enoch, Roger's Daughter Georgiana Snyder-Leitzel, Roger's Wife MaryLou Snyder, Men's Winner Mike Rieder, Preschool Parent Andrew Weaver

It was a Win-Win Kind of Day

This last picture says it all. That’s Pat Niemond, who worked for Roger in his insurance business for years, and continues on with the agency. Looking on is Mike Rieder, the overall winner of the race, watching the last walkers finish.

See you April 6, 2013, for the 2nd Annual Roger Snyder Memorial 5k(and we hope 10k)  and Kids Run!


3 thoughts on “The Roger Snyder Memorial 5K Race Director’s Report

  1. I received the book you sent me and I absolutely love it. Thank you! I’m finding it inspiring and entertaining.
    Participating in this race was a life-changing event. It’s true that the real victory happens when you show up at the starting line. I wish you lots of similar victories in the years to come. 🙂

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