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Erie Marathon filling quickly

By | May 9, 2014 9:04 am | 0 Comments

If you’re thinking of doing the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle in September, you better get registered soon. Word is the marathon is poised to sell out by the end of the month.

From the marathon race directors, Mike & Jan Vieyra:

We are closing in on being only four months out from our 41st annual Erie Marathon and I wanted to drop you a note to let you know what we are up to.  With Erie being the marathon in 2013 with the highest percent (in the world) of marathon finishers qualifying to run Boston, our registration numbers are up considerably.  As we mentioned in our New Years Day message to you, we have capped each of our 2014 events at 1,250, approximately the numbers we entertained last year.

Since registration opened this year, we have been way ahead of last year’s registration rates.  However, in the past few weeks we have experienced a significant jump in registrations.  So, before we post any further messages concerning our cap status on our website we wanted to share it with you to give you a chance to register if you haven’t already done so.  We currently have 310 marathon and 825 half marathon slots open.  I expect the marathon to be full in about two weeks but the half will likely take until August to fill – things could fill sooner than I expected as this email might create a surge.

A message will be posted on our website regarding “open spots” once the marathon is down to only 100 spots.  Once that word gets out, I would expect it will be only a matter of days before the marathon is filled.  So if you haven’t signed up yet and are thinking of joining us this September, you should make up your mind soon…. very soon.

Good luck with your training!

Just Write 30 ~ Marathoning from the other side

By | September 17, 2013 1:03 am | 1 Comment

“OK, so everything you need is in the bag. Your chip, bib and pins are in the white envelope,” I say as I hand the navy blue Erie Marathon bag out the open window of the Rotary Pavilion to the marathoner on the other side. He’s from Michigan.


He takes the bag and says, “I have a question,” and I get all warm and fuzzy inside. I love questions at marathon packet pickup. I relish the opportunity to share my love for Presque Isle and the knowledge I’ve acquired by running, biking, skiing and rollerblading (remember when everyone was rollerblading) nearly every dang square inch of it.

He wants to know exactly where the race starts and he wants to know where to park and how early he should arrive. I explain that the park road is down to one lane once they mark the course in the wee hours of the morning and the Rotary Pavilion is 3.5 miles in, so he’d do best to hit the entrance of the park no later than 5:45 a.m.  I tell him that volunteers will be there to help him park, that he might want to hit the bathhouse in the parking lot before he walks over the marathon start, which is right in front of the building we’re standing in. I also tell him that he should really cross the road and go check out the beach before he leaves. I tell him that our sunsets are legendary.



I want him to like us — Erie, the marathon, the beach, the runners club. I want him to say good things about us to his friends because Erie deserves to be loved. It’s a pretty sweet life we have right here on the great lake.  And, our runners club is a gift to all of us — active and thriving and growing. Few cities our size (if any) have runners clubs that are as organized, welcoming, and active as ours. Ask anyone who has moved away.

Over several hours at the packet pick up, runner after runner is surprised at how smooth the process is (“Wow, really? Everything I need is in here? I don’t have to stand in three different lines to get my bib and chip and shirt?”) Several runners tell me they “do Erie” every year. They say that they keep coming back because it’s well organized, they love the park, the volunteers are great, and the price is right. It’s a nice, flat course, too — a B.Q. course, for sure.

We finish up at packet pickup about 7:30 p.m. and I stop at Walmart on my way home to buy a coffee carafe.  Dan and I need to report to Beach 6 at 5 a.m. to help park cars, then I need to head over to the Old Lake Road crossover by 7 a.m. to road marshal.  That’s a volunteer shift that is going to require more than a 20-ounce cup of coffee.


Our alarm goes off at 4 a.m. We stumble out of bed to make a couple pots of coffee — one for the carafe and one to drink. I pull on a few layers of clothes because it’s a chilly day to stand outside for hours on end.

When we get to Beach 6, I get a fancy orange cone flashlight to wave drivers on (which ends up giving me a nice shoulder and upper arm workout).

I get another swell of pride when I see just how down-pat the ERC volunteers have even the parking situation. There are volunteers with cones in each row and one “traffic director” at the main entrance to the lot, feeding cars to different rows. When one row gets backed up, he feeds a few cars to the next row. It looks chaotic, but it’s actually a really smart and efficient system.

We rock.



There’s no stop sign for the crossover spot that Greg and I are road marshaling, but an outstretched hand from a tall guy in a bright yellow safety vest standing in the middle of the driving lane has the same effect.  Cars are held up for less than 30 seconds as runners cross from the main road to the Old Lake road. Whenever there’s a long enough gap to let a car or two go by, we wave them through.  Only one guy is nasty about having to wait. There’s always one.

We cheer. We direct the runners to take a right turn. We tell them they look strong. We tell them there is water just ahead. We tell them they look better than the zombies handing out water at the Thundering Herd water stop (Halloween theme this year).

DSC_0867 DSC_0862 DSC_0870

I marvel at how these water stop folks not only drove quite a way to get to the marathon to volunteer, but they got up early enough to get dressed up and made up. They have fun with it, too. Several of the “zombies” pretend to follow the runners, dragging a leg. They joke. They  talk and behave in character. They provide not just water and Gatorade, but a fun and welcome distraction for weary runners.

A few hours in, I regret drinking all that coffee as I dance around, hoping they all think I am just trying to stay warm.

I scan the runners on both sides of the road, looking for familiar faces (and gaits…funny how we get to know each others’ running forms, eh?) so I can yell out words of encouragement to friends. And husbands:


I’m having so much fun that when the last of the marathoners shuffle by and the “sweep” biker rides up and tells us we can go, I’m almost sorry.


I did have nearly a pot of coffee in me at that point. Chalk that up to another running lesson learned the hard way.

About Just Write
“What ends up revealing itself when free writing is that everything has meaning. That is a magnificent gift of writing. If we write from a free heart-gut place, our souls start speaking.”

Erie Marathon at Presque Isle State Park

By | September 15, 2013 6:26 pm | 0 Comments


If you’re wondering what #AJO is …Google it…then pass on a little kindness.

So….let me sum this up quickly: The weather was perfect for marathoning, everything ran like clockwork thanks to the ERC and their tribe of awesome volunteers, thousands of runners were pleased/impressed with Erie/the marathon/PISP, and hundreds left with new PRs and BQs.

*  Read the story in the Erie Times-News here.

* Complete results here.

* StreetView photos here.

(Yeah…that’s all I got right now….it’s late and I was up a couple hours before the sun today.)

The Battle of Marathon

By | September 13, 2013 8:21 am | 0 Comments

In honor of this weekend’s Erie Marathon at Presque Isle, a little historical lesson about the marathon from The Writers Almanac with Garrison Keillor
The Battle of Marathon, one of history’s earliest recorded battles, took place on Sept. 12 in the year 490 B.C.E.
Greek historian Herodotus tells us that King Darius I of Persia was determined to crush Athens and Eretria, because the Greek city-states had supported the Ionian Revolt and burned the Persian city of Sardis to the ground. Darius wanted revenge, and he spent four years planning his strategy. He sent an armada to pummel the cities in August. Eretria was captured first, and then Persian forces moved on toward Athens. The two armies spent several days in a stalemate, facing each other across the Plain of Marathon, neither one really willing to start the battle.
This was fine with the Athenians, who were greatly outnumbered by the Persians, and they were hoping for reinforcements from Sparta to arrive. Eventually, a large share of the Persian cavalry departed, possibly on board a ship bound for Athens. The Athenian generals took advantage of the cavalry’s absence and surrounded the Persian camp. Herodotus wrote: “The Persians … when they saw the Greeks coming on at speed, made ready to receive them, although it seemed to them that the Athenians were bereft of their senses, and bent upon their own destruction; for they saw a mere handful of men coming on at a run without either horsemen or archers. Such was the opinion of the barbarians; but the Athenians in close array fell upon them, and fought in a manner worthy of being recorded.”
The battle was a rout, and the Persians retreated to Asia, losing 6,400 soldiers to Athens’ 192. Darius’ son Xerxes I eventually took up the cause, attempting to invade Greece again 10 years later. But now the Greeks knew that the Persians could be beaten, and their confidence grew. They successfully held off the Persians’ subsequent invasion attempts, and the Battle of Marathon is regarded as the kicking-off point for the rise of Classical Greece and the birth of Western civilization.
Of course, the battle also gave its name to the long distance race of the same name. The legend holds that a Greek messenger named Pheidippides ran the 25 miles from Marathon to Athens to bring news of the rout, collapsing and dying after he delivered the news. What most likely happened was that he ran from Athens to Sparta before the battle — a distance of 140 miles — to ask for the Spartans’ help. But when Plutarch wrote the story in the 1st century A.D., he confused the story of Pheidippides with that of the Athenian army quick-marching back to Athens after the battle to protect the city from the remaining Persian forces. Organizers of the first modern Olympic Games, held in Athens in 1896, came up with the idea of a commemorative race to honor their ancient Greek forbears. So the competitors retraced the legendary steps of Pheidippides, running the 25 miles from Marathon to Athens.
Good luck to all the runners going the distance this weekend.
I’ll see you at registration on Saturday, parking Sunday morning and then road marshaling — my own little volunteer marathon this weekend (and there are many doing much more than me…so be kind to the volunteers, please!).

Erie Marathon parking info

By | September 11, 2013 4:09 am | 0 Comments

Important notes from the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle directors:

Ready or not the races start in just four days.  We are ready and excited to get our 40th annual event underway this week end.

The key to a successful start to our day for everyone on Sunday is PARKING!  With over 2500 participants, efficient movement into the parking lots and, subsequently into a space, is a priority.

There are 2 main parking lots for participants, Lot (Beach) 6 and Lot (Beach) 8. Refer to the parking map on our website for a visual. Both lots are equidistant from the start line….approximately 0.25 miles.  There will be parking marshals directing traffic to one of these 2 lots.  In order to keep everyone moving forward, please do NOT stop to ask questions or attempt to change lanes once you have entered the park.  Vehicles in the left lane will be directed to Lot 6 which is the first lot.  Vehicles in the right lane will be directed to Lot 8, approximately 0.5 miles further into the park.  Again, the lots are EQUIDISTANT from the start.  Once you are in the lot, you will be directed to a parking space.  Please park as directed so that we may maximize the space available.

Carpooling is encouraged!

If you are being dropped off, look for “Drop Off” signs after Lot 6.  There should be no issues with leaving the park after drop off. Parking along the roadway is prohibited and vehicles will be ticketed by Park Police if in violation.  Avoid the temptation to park illegally by arriving early!

Plan to be at the park entrance by 5:45 AM.  If you are waiting until Sunday morning to pick up your packet, be at the entrance by 5:30 AM.We will NOT delay the race start for late arrivals.  After all your training and preparation don’t let a late start spoil those efforts. Let’s ensure a good experience for all by following these instructions.SAVE this email for future reference please.Good luck to all!

~ Jan and Mike

Erie loves Boston & Boston loves Erie (a BQ race at Erie qualfies you for 2 years of Boston)

By | September 5, 2013 7:16 am | 0 Comments

News & notes from the Erie Marathon at Presque Isle camp:

Two for one qualifier

The Boston Marathon website  indicates that Erie 2013 will qualify runners for two years of Boston, 2014 and 2015:

* The qualification window for the 2014 Boston Marathon began on Saturday, September 22, 2012 and will remain open until the conclusion of registration.

* The qualification window for the 2015 Boston Marathon will begin on Saturday, September 14, 2013.

* Registration dates for the 2015 Boston Marathon have not yet been announced.

* The qualifying standards for the 2015 Boston Marathon, shown below, are the same as the qualifying standards for the 2013 and 2014 Boston Marathon.

* The 2015 Boston Marathon will be held on Monday, April 20, 2015.

Erie Marathon co director Mike Vieyra explains why this is significant:

“This is big news, that you can run the Erie Marathon this year and you have the chance to qualify for two years of the Boston Marathon.  It even gets better when you consider the way Boston sets your qualification standard.  It is based on the age you are going to be as of the Boston race and not the age you are in the race in which you qualified.  So it’s like getting to use a slower qualifying standard/time a year earlier for those a year away from a new age group.  That could be a 10 or 15 minute advantage.”

Who doesn’t love a two-for-one deal?!  There’s still time to register!

boston shirts

Erie Stands with Boston

Erie marathon directors Jan & Mike Vieyra were at Boston this year when the bombing happened (Mike had finished, Jan was stopped at 25.5 miles).  They wanted to do something to show Erie’s support for Boston and to raise money for The One Fund , so they are offering these special 100% cotton unisex T-shirts for just $10 (proceeds benefit The One Fund). They are asking that you please pre-order your shirt. Orders placed can be picked up at the Expo on Saturday, September 14 at the Rotary Pavilion.

Volunteers needed

More volunteer help is needed, especially with parking and road marshaling. If you can help, please contact the marathon organizers.

News & notes: Bull Dam run, Erie Marathon, TNRL and more

By | August 28, 2013 1:53 am | 0 Comments

A few random running news & notes:

Bull Dam run is Sunday

Sunday morning (9 a.m.) is the 2nd annual Hitting the Trails run at Eaton Reservoir (Bulls Dam), 10021 Ashton Rd, North East, PA 16428. The race director is offering both a 5K course and a 10K (more challenging, more trail) course. Here are all the details:

5K walk runners: You’ll be running/ walking on the grass/ gravel multi-purpose trail around the reservoir. Keep the water to the right and you can’t get lost. It is a loop course. This is a great course for entry level trail runners.

10K runners: You will be running on grass, woodland terrain, dirt, leaves etc. on a majestic winding well marked trail through the woods around the reservoir. Much of this run is completed on single tract trails. There will be plenty of opportunities to pass the competition on straight-aways. This is a run that will take you through pines, hardwoods, open areas, with some challenges of minor hills challenges. This course is largely based on trail biking routes existing onsite.

AND….there will be pancakes after, provided (and cooked) by the Greg’s Boy Scout Troop 82 of North East who are benefitting from the race. NOTE: There are not age group awards for this race because it’s a fundraiser, but…there are pancakes…and that’s better than any medal, plaque or certificate, right?

Registration, application and more information here.

Erie Marathon needs you

The Erie Marathon committee sent out the following plea earlier this week. If you’re not running, consider giving back and volunteering. (I’ll be working registration on Saturday and I’ll be road marshaling (and CHEERING) on Sunday).

19 Days until the ERC Marathon/Half Marathon and we need volunteers!
Races cannot be held unless there are volunteers and the Erie Runners Club has the best!

We need people for parking on Sunday, 5:00 am. and we need  Road Marshals, Sunday, 6:30 AM

If you are confirmed, Thank you!

Not sure, Contact David Comi at 814-881-0060 or Teresa Wigham,

Please leave your name, phone number, email address, the area you would like to work and shirt size.

TNRL is Wrapping Up !?!

Seems like just yesterday Jim Lang was telling us that the Tuesday Night Racing League was starting up again and here it is already winding down. Fall schedules and shorter days make it hard to continue the TNRL after September. And, besides, it’s something to look forward to in the spring, right?

There are just two TNRL’s remaining. They are:

September 3, 2013 – North East Cherry Runs – Gibson Park, North East

September 10, 2013 – 6:30 start – Evanoff home – 4550 South Hill Rd, McKean PA (Season Finale!)

More info about TNRL here.

Newsletter Stuffing  moved to Sept. 3

Note that due to the Monday holiday, the ERC newsletter stuffing “party” will be moved forward one evening to Tuesday, September 3 at 7 pm. at the Plymouth Tavern (usually in the front room). First, you help collate, fold, tape and label the ERC newsletter, then you enjoy free wings, pretzels and beer/softdrinks courtesy of the club.

Biggest Loser race photos

The Biggest Loser official race photos are up and they are free, free, free for you to download! Check them out here. (Mine are…as always…appalling. I will never give you my bib number…never!).

BTW — word has it that race is being moved to Penn State Behrend next year. Waaaahhhh?  Hit the hills my friends, no avoiding them up here in these parts!


Erie Marathon FAQs

By | August 25, 2013 8:15 am | 0 Comments

The Erie Marathon directors, Mike & Jan Vieyra, have compiled a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Get the answers to all your burning questions here.

Erie Marathon notes from the directors

By | August 5, 2013 5:14 am | 0 Comments

An Erie Marathon at Presque Isle update from the race directors:

We are just over six weeks out from race day and I know that the difficult part of everyone’s training schedule is about to begin – good luck.  We are Erie strong with to-date registrations for the full/half at 1,001/734 compared to 551/598 last year at this time.  If the same number register in the last six weeks before the race that did last year both of the fields should be around 1,300.

As most of you know already, we launched our new website last week at:  The information you need to know about our events is now much easier to locate and there are a few new bells and whistles.  We are new to social media but we are learning the ropes as we go.  So, like us on Facebook and follow us on twitter and blogger for additional news and updates.  You can now confirm your own entry online or even look up who might be running from your town etc…  Check out the site as there just might be something on there that will help you out on race weekend.

If you have not been on our social media yet, you probably missed the message that Erie 2013 is a Boston Marathon qualifying marathon that falls into the registration period for the 2014 Boston Marathon (just like last year for Boston 2013).

Back by popular demand, is the custom Erie Marathon pair of socks that will be in the race packets of the first 3,000 registered.

Placing the entrants name on their bib was so well received we are doing it again this year.  However, only those registered by noon on August 20th will get their name on their bib.  So if haven’t registered yet, you might want to consider doing it before the cut-off.

We have received a few messages from entrants who haven’t been able to get the miles in or have a nagging injury that have asked to change races.  So if you find yourself in a similar situation, we will make the change free of charge if you send us a note from the email address you used for registration (our contact info is on our website).  However, if you change after August 20th, we will have to void your marathon bib and replace it with a half marathon bib that does not include your name.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and we hope to see you in September.

Your race directors,

Jan and Mike

Erie Marathon news & notes

By | July 24, 2013 1:59 am | 0 Comments

The Erie Marathon at Presque Isle State Park has a new website. And, I hear that they will soon have a blog up and running (pun totally intended).

They’ve also got a Facebook page where I found this — the artwork for this year’s t-shirts:


By Erie artist Brian Payne.

Also, don’t miss out on the Erie Marathon carbo-loading pasta dinner on Saturday, September 14, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Rotary Pavilion at Presque Isle State Park (between beaches 6 & 8).  Here are the details:

Dinner includes two types of pasta with marinara sauce, meat sauce or garlic & oil, salad, bread, beverage and dessert. Prepared by Runner’s World recipe award-winner Linda Huegel and her crew.

Tickets will be limited to the first 700 and can be ordered at time of registration or purchased at packet pickup. Tickets for the pasta dinner are $10 each.