ERC website moving (& why you should follow)

By | August 20, 2014 8:19 am | 0 Comments

Just an FYI that the Erie Runners Club’s website is moving from to The old site will redirect for awhile, but you may as well take this opportunity to update your bookmarks.

What? You don’t have it bookmarked? Here are 5 reasons why you should:

1. Twitter feed. If, like me, you have a Twitter account that you never use and can’t even remember the magic username/password combo to unlock it, you can still keep up to date on the latest ERC news. Jim Lang (Big White Trailer timing) posts links to race results as soon as an hour after the race finishes.

2. Area race listings. There are two areas for race listings. The ERC Club Race Listing is just the ERC races. The Regional Events tab lists races from around the area (not just ERC races). Note that race directors have to submit their own information for this — so if a race is not listed, it’s probably because the race director didn’t send the info to the ERC (or didn’t provide it in a format it could be used).

Speaking of race directing: 

3. Race director’s checklist. This is a helpful resource that I frequently send to people who talk to me about putting on a race or maybe doing a race or tell me their place of employment is thinking of doing a run. The checklist gives you an idea of the work involved and a pretty solid timeline to follow.

4. Race results. Results for most area races are found here. (Again…it’s up to the director to send it in.)

5. Race course maps/where to run. Get a look at the course maps for some of the ERC races – particularly for the regularly used course, like the 5K course from the Rotary Pavilion on PISP. Also, you can find suggestions on other places in the Erie are to run.

Know the lingo: Closed/open course

By | August 20, 2014 1:46 am | 0 Comments

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn all the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.

Closed/open course

Some races close streets to traffic; others keep streets partially open and control the traffic (for instance, at Presque Isle, traffic is restricted to one lane). Either way, be vigilant.

Editor’s note: Never fight for space with a 2,000-lb. vehicle — you won’t win. Just move over.

From the Runner’s World’s Glossary of Running Terms.

Guest Post: Gettting to know Dan Cass

By | August 20, 2014 1:15 am | 0 Comments


Photo by Eloise

By Larry Kisielewski

Editor’s note: Hey….I know this guy….

“Behind every good man, there is a good woman.”

An old phrase, definitely dated. Maybe, in today’s equality-obsessed and politically correct world, outdated. In some cases, it would be “Alongside every good man…” or even “Behind every good woman…”

You know his wife. She is definitely “out there.” She has been featured in all the local major media – on TV and radio, and in the newspaper when she wrote a regular column for the Erie Times when she was employed there. She is the originator and driving force behind one of the more popular local periodicals and one of the most popular 5K races, both coincidentally called “Her Times.” She also authors not one but two popular blogs on the internet.

He, on the other hand, prefers to remain low-key, contributing in his own right, but certainly no less important or interesting. I would like you to meet Dan Cass.

Daniel Lee Cass is the third child of Greenfield Township residents Jim and Donna Cass. He is sandwiched between older siblings Jeff and Rhonda and younger siblings Steven and Jodie. While attending Greenfield Elementary, Dan played Little League until 8th grade and wrestled for a year. In lieu of participatory sports, however, he preferred hunting. He learned from his dad and his two uncles, and this will be his 30th consecutive year for the annual family deer camp in the mountains.

He graduated from Seneca High School in 1988. In 1989, Heather Bruce and Dan were introduced by their respective cousins and went on a “first date” to the North East Cherry Festival. Dan went on to earn his degree as an electrician at Vo-Tech, and would occasionally run into Heather at Loblaws, where she worked while getting her marketing degree from Edinboro. They started dating steady and were wed in 1994.

Heather interned for a while at the Erie Zoo before working at the Times, and is now public communications director at Penn State Behrend. Dan was snapped up by Griffith Electric where he completed his apprenticeship and became a full-time employee. He left Griffith for Bay Harbor Electric, where he was employed for 10 years, the last five as head foreman.

He has been the head foreman at Arrow Electric out of Greenville since 2003. In this position, he has supervised a number of major local electrical projects, including Lowe’s, Sam’s Club, Giant Eagle, and Gannon University’s new 5-story dorm. He has also taught Arrow’s apprenticeship program for the last eight years. This work is worlds away from Dan’s first jobs, where from age 12 through high school, he baled hay every summer and worked as a butcher, doing everything from slaughter to wrapping. His current rise in management responsibility came with a price, however. Dan bemoans the fact that less hands-on electrical work is making his hands soft, although his firm handshake suggests otherwise.

Dan is not just a master electrician. He has learned carpentry from his brother Jeff and is proficient enough to tackle any major home improvement. In 1997, Dan and Heather moved into a ranch home in Harborcreek. Dan, his dad, and jeff added a second story with 16-foot cathedral ceilings, plus six feet of frontage and a porch. He is now in the process of re-finishing the entire interior before he moves on to the garage/man-cave expansion. The Cass’s 18’ x 36’ in-ground pool is a neighborhood oasis, providing both socialization and relaxation. Dan is truly a handy guy to have around.

Somewhere around 1995, Heather got into an exercise kick and, never doing anything halfway, it wasn’t too long before she coerced Dan to join her. This was before the kids, and by 1999 they were full-fledged runners. The Hash House Harriers were in stride about that time, and Dan and Heather joined Chuck Orton, Dale Werner, and their cohorts on their merry jaunts. (Bad visual: Dan in a red dress!)

Although he prefers 10Ks, Dan’s most recent run, the Waterford 5K, was an impressive 21:11. He has run ten marathons, lowering his PR from 4:15 in Cleveland in 2008 to 3:22 in Pittsburgh last year. He is planning to run both the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle and the Wineglass Marathon in Corning, NY later this year.

When the kids came along, a new dimension was added. First daughter Kelly, now 13, is the runner, and Dan frequently accompanies her on her cross country jogs, especially Jim Lang’s weekly Tuesday night 3-milers. Lauren, 11, is the gymnast/swimmer of the family.

Although short family runs are immensely enjoyable, Dan is still a long distance runner. His 1:31 Presque Isle Half marathon last month is further proof of his progress. He finished his first endurance run last October, and hopes to one day complete a 50-miler. He participated in last year’s 18-mile Barber Beast on the Bay, although Heather topped that with her One Tough Mudder this past May. When not competing, Dan tries to volunteer for ERC events, particularly the Turkey Trot, the marathon, and Her Times.

As the working day wraps up, Heather arrives home and Chef Dan has supper ready. It may be a roast or meatloaf or even a specialty from his smoker – anything from turkey to baked beans. Husband, father, electrician, carpenter, outdoorsman, athlete, volunteer, and chief cook. Now you know Dan Cass.

Dan Data

Pets – Sam the dog, and cats Ollie and Bella

Last vacation – five days in Florida: Universal, Disney, water parks

Dream vacation – the Grand Canyon; running past giant sequoias

Hobbies – hunting, fishing, hiking, home carpentry projects, his smoker

Music – 70’s and 80’s, rock/country

TV – cop shows

Website – not a computer guy

Motto – Always finish what you start.

Admires – LK: Who do you admire?

DC: My wife, Heather.

LK: Hmmm, good answer.

DC: No, really. She loves to do things for other people. I really love her.

Fantasies – Boston Marathon, a 50-miler, retirement

Charities – United Way / Young Leaders Club

Blood donor – Yes

Cool vehicle – company truck

Sports teams – Steelers, some Penguins

Running regimen – three days a week: two 8-milers, one 12-20 miler with hills and stretches

Motivation – competes with self

Scouts – a bit. Currently “Den father” for the girls

Last words – Thank you, race volunteers!

** Getting To Know You is reprinted with permission from the August 2014 Erie Runners Club newsletter.

We asked: One word description

By | August 15, 2014 1:17 am | 0 Comments

We asked runners: Describe your running self in one word.

Turtle. — Linda Young

Hare. — Dan Young

Juggernaut. — Eric Ellis

Dedicated. — Stacey Hammer

Tough. — Susan Ellsworth

Mirror. — Paul Bressen

Injured :-( — Patrick Dwyer (We feel your pain, Patrick. We’ve all been there. You’ll be back. Rest & heal).

Commitment.  (Committed to myself, my health, and achieving what I set out to accomplish. I never ran more than 3 miles at a time and I signed up for my first race — The Pittsburgh Marathon — and accomplished it. Now looking forward to The Cleveland Marathon in May 2015.)  — Jon Wolff

Determined. — Karen Manganaro

Patient. — Allison Jeric-Carroll

Persistent. — Mike Vieyra

Social. — Lisa Shade

Strong.  — Carol Crandall

Gliding. — Joe Dobrich

Lost. — Tom Twohig

Determined. — Trisha Schrieber

Happy. — Cindy Tickle

Free.  — Leslie Cooksey (We think alike. :) )

Imaginary. — Jennie Hutchison

Stubborn. — Mary Kay Synder-Migdal

Passion. — Ron Krystek

Underachiever. — Pat Krott

Determined! — Dee

Happier. (I may not look it but I am.) — Stephen Haeseler

Disciplined. — Teri Zalewski

Finisher. — Diana Leroux-Woolf

Strong. — Laurie Thompson

Social. (Or my running mates would say Talkative.) — Jen Kelly (Me, too, Jen…Me, too)

Capable. — Erin Ryan

Focused. — Karen Groshek

Learning. — Lisa Meyer

Positive. — Renee Uht

Strong. — Karen Beebe

Creative. — Eloise Hawking

Turtle! — Susie Ann

Persistent. — Brenda Carr

Purposeful. — Debbie Humphreys

Me? I had a hard time deciding — leading contenders — social, happy, free, Zen…but ultimately I have to go with: Peaceful. Running is where I find peace, in many ways.


Things I found — 8/14/14

By | August 14, 2014 1:39 am | 0 Comments

Worth Reading

Why running –no matter the distance — makes you live longer.

Want to find new routes, ward off injury, or stay safe? There’s an app for that.

Robin Williams had deep running roots.

New to running? Don’t make these 9 mistakes.

Need to incorporate some cross training? (Trust me, you do) Try this 8-minute medicine ball workout.


Funny Stuff

Context is everything. Here are 22 words that have a totally different meaning when you’re a runner.

T-shirt of the Week


Where to find races in Erie

By | August 13, 2014 2:34 am | 0 Comments

I received the following email & after I answered him, I thought it might be useful info to post here for any other runners new to the Erie scene:

Hi Heather,

I got your email from your blog on  You seem like a great person to provide me some information.  I’m getting back into running after many years off, and haven’t ever run a race since living in the Erie area.  Is there a list of runs nearby Erie that you can point me to?
Thanks for your help.
~ J.L.
Hi Jason. Welcome back into the running family. You’ll find that Erie has a very active, supportive & friendly running community. I know of lots of groups who run together around Erie county at a variety of paces, so if & when you want to join others, let me know & I’ll see if I can’t find you some folks to run with.

Tonight is Tuesday Night Race League which is an informal racing league that gets together on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the summer months to run in places all over Erie county. Some race (I don’t) and there are usually two distances given…a shorter & a longer. People of all abilities show up and are welcome at TNRL. It is free and informal (no bibs or shirts or anything…there are times you’ll need to write your own time down). More info on TNRL and the schedule can be found here. Tonight TNRL is at Highmyer park in Harborcreek

Information on local races can be found here.  As you’ll see…there is no shortage of events to chose from. I don’t know that every single race is listed here (it’s up to organizers to send to the Erie runners club to get their event listed), but…the bigger ones are on the list. The official Erie Runners Club events are typically the most well attended and best run (managed).

If you have questions about any of the races, let me know, I’ve been running here in Erie for nearly 20 years. There’s probably not a race course or area of the county that I’m not familiar with (OK, maybe far west county — I’m an east county girl, born and raised).

See you at the races!


Know the lingo: Gear (bag) check

By | August 13, 2014 1:46 am | 0 Comments

When you’re just getting started in a sport, it’s hard to learn all the lingo. Running and walking, like any sport, has it’s own special language and local phrases. Each week, I’ll define a term or phrase that will help you not only walk the walk (or run the run), but talk the talk.

Gear check (sometimes called bag check)

Some races will allow you to check a bag that you can retrieve after you finish. It’s good to bring warm clothes and postrun snacks, cell phones, hotel keys, etc. (though most will warn you they are not responsible for damage and you should leave valuables elsewhere).  If you plan to drop a bag off, the race directors may require you to use a specific bag — often a clear plastic bag that they hand out at packet pickup.  Bags are typically stored by bib number…you’ll need your bib number to retrieve your bag after the race.

From the Runner’s World’s Glossary of Running Terms.

How to run your best half ever (illustrated)

By | August 12, 2014 1:37 am | 0 Comments

This is pretty cool. Props & credit to

How to Run Your Best Half-Marathon Ever Infographic

Color Run well run

By | August 11, 2014 11:08 am | 0 Comments


All I heard from the moment The Color Run in Erie sold out (in record time for an Erie event) was “Where are they going to put 10,000 people in the city of Erie,” and “It’s going to be a mess,” and “Better get there early…or you’ll have to park two miles away.”

I’m happy to say that it was none of those things. It was probably one of the most well organized fun runs I’ve ever been to.

I didn’t personally pick up our packets, but my niece who went with my daughters to pick them up at the Millcreek Mall reported that it was fast & easy (as did all my Facebook friends who commented on it). The Color Run “store” there had some fun, reasonably-priced things — socks, sunglasses, etc. The sunglasses proved to be a worthy $5 investment as they were practically a necessity on race day (otherwise you would get colored cornstarch in your eyes!).

We got to the race a little later than I wanted to (as always!) — about 7:45 a.m., but we had no problem parking as the garages and surface lots all around the event were open and free (FREE! Try that in a big city). Volunteers pointed us into a ramp and we walked two blocks to the event where we headed right through Perry Square to the start line in front of the Court House.

We didn’t make it into the first wave, but I actually think that might have been better because as we ran through the color stations, the streets were covered…so you could pick some up and throw it at your friends or make color angels:

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As our wave waited in the corral, there was (as is common at many major “for fun” events) a guy pumping the crowd up…playing great music, getting everyone excited…giving a countdown and tossing down free stuff into the crowd.

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At the start line

One they let us loose, we ran up and turned west. We encountered our first color station — blue — less than a 1/2 mile into the race.

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We learned very quickly to cover our mouths with our shirts when we ran through a station. Kelly is shown just above. After this station, she took off and ran the rest of the way. My niece, Lauren and I walked the rest of the course.

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I’d say that 70 percent of the participants in The Color Run walked the course. You could run…but why? It wasn’t timed and I’m sure it was kind gross to get shot with the colored cornstarch if you were sweaty. That said, my girl Kelly raced the thing like there were awards. There weren’t (awards) and, as I said, it wasn’t timed.

There were a total of 5 color stations — blue, yellow, pink, purple, pink — on the course. They were easily identified by the inflatable colored arches across the road and, oh…yeah….a gigantic cloud of colorful “dust.”

It was pretty cool.

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Fun signs also announced the upcoming color station.

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At the finish (below) every runner received a packet of color for the finish line party.

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The party was a blast with a DJ, a charismatic “host” (how do I get that gig?) pumping the crowd up, and race staff on stage tossing chalk and Color Run swag into the crowd. There were beach balls being bounced around and water guns being sprayed.

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The highlight of the post-race party though, was the color toss when the DJ/host counted down & encouraged everyone to toss their colors into the air.

Here’s what it looked like from the outside:




And, here, is what it looked like on the inside:

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Why do I feel like this is a future glimpse of my girl at 18 at some rock concert?

There were also lots of photo opportunities — photo booths, photo ops…like this cool kaleidoscope you could shoot through:


All in all, it was a great event and it was very cool to see 10,000 people in downtown Erie having a good time doing something related to fitness.

I heard a lot of grumbling from “real” runners (and, let me remind you that you all started somewhere) that this wasn’t a “real” race (well, no, it wasn’t) and that these types of runs are stupid, but…here’s the thing: if this inspires one person to start running or walking or take steps to get fit — if only so they can participate in “stupid” races like this — well, then that’s still an awesome thing.

I also heard some criticism about big races coming in & charging big money and taking participation away from other area events. But, A.) this wasn’t a real race…so “serious” runners who want a timed race wouldn’t opt for this over another, B.) I paid $25 each (early bird team pricing) which is what most local organizers are now charging for a regular 5K (which I think is absurd…as a 5K race director, I know what it costs to put on a race). And, we got a lot more than just a t-shirt for our $25.

Here’s our “after” photo:

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The only thing I can say I was a little bit disappointed about was that the color didn’t really stay in our shirts. I wish there were a way to keep the colorful shirts we earned (say, stick it in bag with vinegar for week or whatever…), but most of it washed out. On a related note, it also easily washed off my body and out of my hair…out of my ears, etc.   (Blowing your nose was kinda fun all day…like…ooh…wonder what color it will be this time! Gross? Oh…come on, we’re runners!).

I’d highly recommend the event to anyone. Just come with the mindset of having fun…and know that you are likely going to walk most or all of the 5K course.

I’m glad The Color Run came to Erie. I’m glad it sold out out quickly and that it helped with tourism this summer because that’s why the Erie Sports Commission brings these events, you know…it’s not really about us….but we get to join in the fun, too.

More than 500 photos from the GoErie Street View crew here.