2014 ERC Turkey Trot FAQs

By | November 25, 2014 8:12 am | 0 Comments

A few FAQs regarding Thursdays ERC Turkey Trot

1. What time does it start?

5K Run & Walk – 8:30 a.m.
10K Run/walk – 9:40 a.m. (estimated)

NOTE: The 5K has until 9:40 to finish. At 9:40, organizers will start the

2. Where does it start?

Beach 1, Presque Isle State Park

3. What time should we be there?

If you’ve picked up your chip (you can still do so TONIGHT at the BelAire
Hotel from 4-8),you should plan to be there by 8 a.m. for the 5K and 8:45
for the 10K. If you haven’t picked up your chip, leave a 1/2 hour

4. Where should I park?

Beach No. 1, if you arrive early enough. When the Beach No. 1 parking lot
is full, there will be “lot full” signs and you’ll need to park at one of
the shuttle bus parking spots. There will be shuttles from Rainbow
Gardens, the Tom Ridge Center, Beach 6 and the West Erie Plaza. Be aware
that you should only park in legal parking areas only to avoid ticketing.
Do NOT park on the side of the road.

5. Where should I not park?

Do NOT park alongside the road, even if you’re “all the way off” the
road. The inbound lanes need to be kept free of parked cars because of
the change to a two-way traffic pattern, and the outbound lanes need to
be kept clear of parked cars so the runners have as wide a course as
possible on the closed roadway. Rangers will be there and they have
ticketed in the past.

6. Are there shuttle buses again this year?

Yes, there are shuttle buses that will be running to Beach No. 1 from
Rainbow Gardens (Waldameer), the Tom Ridge Center, Beach no. 6 AND the
West Erie Plaza.

7. Does my chip have to be on my shoe?

Yes. Lace it into your shoelaces. It must be low to the ground for it to
register, so do not carry it in your pocket or wear it any higher than
your shoe or your time will not register.

8. Is there a start mat?

Yes. Runners and walkers have 15 minutes to get
across the start mat. The start mat is on the main road (not the old Lake
Road). You’ll access it at the northernmost lot entrance to beach 1 lot.
The start is about 30 yards north of that entrance. You will be gathered
in the parking lot at Beach No. 1…when the horn blows, you’ll pour onto
the road & go).

9. So we’re not lining up on the road?

Some will, but there is not room for all the race participant to line up on the road,

so you’ll be spilling over into the parking lot.  When the horn blows, you’ll pour

onto the road. The start mat is 30 yards north…so you have time to get in position.

10. What’s a start mat?

A start mat allows everyone to have a more
accurate time. Your chip starts/beeps when you cross the start mat. At
that point, your race has started. Without a start mat, your time might
be skewed if you were, say, stuck way in the back of the pack. A start
mat allows for everyone’s time to start when they actually cross the
start line.

11. Are there water stops on the course?

No, please plan accordingly. There will be water at the finish line. And,
of course, full refreshments at the post-race party location at Rainbow
Gardens at Waldameer.

12. Can I still pick up my packet?

Yes…pick it up at the BelAire on TODAY (Tues., Nov. 25 from 4-8 p.m.). or
on race day morning at Beach no. 1.

13. Can I pick up packets for other people?

Please do, but make sure you tell them that you are picking it up. If
you’re picking up for a lot of people, please do the volunteers a favor &
write the names done on a list you can hand to them.  Also, to save the
volunteers time looking for packets that don’t exist, make sure the
people you are picking up are actually registered and that they haven’t
already picked it up themselves.

14. Can I pick up my packet on Wednesday?

Nope. See you Thursday morning.

15. Is the race sold out?

No, not yet.

16. Can I just run with my friends without paying?

No. It’s just not right. And we will judge you. :)

17. Are there going to be turkey feathers on the course for doorprizes

No feathers, but be on the alert for “tridents” and “hatchets”, if you
see one pick it up and bring it to rainbow gardens for a prize.

18. Are there restrooms?

Porta potties only at the race site. Plan accordingly.

19. Can I pay with my credit card?

No. Cash or check only — that goes for registration and any ERC
merchandise (including leftover shirts/sweatpants) that will be sold

20. My shirt is too big/too small, can I exchange it?

After the race, you may bring your shirt to Rainbow Gardens (where the
after party is) to see what is leftover. You may exchange your shirt for
a different size (if available) at that time.

21. I got a sweatshirt, but I really wanted a long-sleeve t-shirt, too.
Can I buy one?

Any leftover race shirts will be for sale at Rainbow Gardens after the
race. Bring cash…the club does not take credit cards.

22. Where’s the party after the run?

Rainbow Gardens. There will be a DJ, awards/results, food, coffee, etc.

23. Can I switch races?

Yes, but you must tell them at packet pickup on TODAY (4-8 at the Bel
Aire), or go to the registration table the morning of the race and tell
them you want to change divisions.

24. How many are running?

Right now, I believe there are 4,000 registered for one of the three

25. If I registered for the 5K can I run and walk?

Yes. There is no longer a judged walk.

26. Are there awards & when will they be distributed?

There are awards three-deep in 5-year age groups and also in weight
classes (Clydesdales & Athenas) and also top three overall and top
masters in the 10K and 5K. Awards will be distributed at Rainbow Gardens,
about 1/2 hour after the race finishes.

27. What’s the theme this year?

There is a “Hungry Games” theme (a play on “The Hunger Games”) and just
like in the books and movies there are different districts all with a
different color. The colors will come out in district order and when that
color is gone we will go to the next color. Please do not ask volunteers
to look for different colors in your size. However, you are free to trade
with others and look at the extra “for sale” shirts to trade.

tureky trot shirt


Any questions should be sent to suzannec@erierunners.club
or 814-881-0060. Do not call the Bel-Aire concerning the packet pickup —
they are kind enough to let us use their facility, but they have nothing
to do with the race.

May the games be evah in your favor!

Run Across Erie County Saturday

By | November 19, 2014 6:16 pm | 0 Comments


The 10th Annual R.A.C.E. (Run Across Erie County), an informal group run from — you guessed it — one border of Erie County to the other is scheduled for Saturday at 7:30 a.m. There is no charge to participate. No application to fill out. No shirts, awards or timing. The course is fully open to traffic and there will be no marshals or course markings to guide you.  In fact, it’s not even really a race…more of a big group long run.  Everyone is welcome.

The group is meeting at Avonia Park (at the lake) in Fairview at 7:30 a.m. They will then shuttle to the start near Crossingville, Pa., for the 19-mile run back to Fairview. After finishing, they’ll gather at the Avonia Tavern to carbo load!

Race organizer Mike Vieyra said the weather should cooperate. Forecast is for a warm spell (39 to 43 degrees).  Mike also said they are also looking for volunteers to help with shuttling to the start and providing a mobile aid station to give out water, electrolyte and GU gels.

You don’t have to do the whole 19 miles. You can jump in at some point along the course. See a map of the course here.

Runners & Dogs: Q&A with Erie Animal Enforcement officer

By | November 19, 2014 2:04 am | 0 Comments


Dogs can be a runner’s best friend and most loyal running partner. But, loose dogs can be a runner’s worst nightmare. Though I’m a dog-owner and animal-lover, when I am on a run, there is nothing that upsets me more than a loose dog and nothing that frightens me more than the jingling of dog tags behind me. I worry for the dog’s safety. I worry for my safety. And I absolutely resent having to change my course or avoid a favorite route because I routinely encounter a loose dog there. It’s just unfair.

It seems to be worse in the county because people in the country think it’s just natural to let dogs roam. Less traffic on country roads means the dogs typically get away with it for many years before they are struck.

I’ve been running for more than 15 years and have been encountered and truly frightened by dogs at least ten times. The owner (when they finally come out & yell at the dog) always says the same thing: “Aww…He won’t hurt ‘ya.”  But that’s not what the dog’s bark, eyes, fur and tail are saying.

Fortunately, I’ve never been bitten or attacked (knock on wood), but I have had to alter my routes many time to avoid dogs (there are some roads near my house today I still will not run without friends, nor will I run unfamiliar back country roads without friends.) and did file a report one time (more for the dogs’ safety than mine as they kept running out into Shannon Road).

As runners, I know we sometimes don’t want to “cause trouble” for our neighbors by reporting loose dogs, but…it’s really in the best interest of the dog. Sadly, I’ve watched three dogs die when they ran after me and were hit by cars. It’s horrible.  And, you should know that you can report dogs/owners anonymously.

I talked with Erie Animal Enforcement Officer Robert Culbertson Sr., who has 15 years of on-the-job experience with all kinds of canines, about Erie’s dog laws, how to report loose dogs, and how runners can stay safe when approached by a loose dog.


Erie Animal Enforcement Officer Robert Culbertson

What is the area you cover? Is it just the city (if so…who handles complaints in the county)?

I handle all calls for the city of Erie and the state dog wardens handle the county and Millcreek has their own officer

What is the law regarding lose dogs in the city/county? They must be leashed? They must be contained? Are the laws different in the county/city?

Dogs must be leashed at all times especially in public places and when they are being walked. If a dog is not leashed and is running loose in the city or county and we pick up the dog, the owner can be charged failure to control their dog, which carries a maximum fine of up to $300.

If a dog is outside on its own property then it must be chained if the yard is not completely fenced or protected by invisible fencing, which must be posted. This is true for both the city and the county.

OK….so what are the dos & don’ts for runners when approached by a loose dog?

If you are approached by a stray dog while walking or jogging, stop where you are and don’t move. If the dog comes up to you, stand still and turn your body sideways. Dogs can sense fear. Never try to run away. Running is an invitation to the dog to chase you and it could lead to the dog attacking you and causing some serious injury. If  the dog sniffs you and walks away, just stand there for another minute to make sure he is moving on, then proceed with your walk or run.

What if the dog is aggressive…or seems to be aggressive?

If the dog is or seems to be aggressive, start yelling as loud as possible. You should do this for two reasons: 1.)  it will distract the dog for a minute or two, and 2.) It might get the attention of the dog’s owner or someone else who can come to your assistance. Dogs are very unpredictable. Look for some kind of object that you could use as a deterrent/barrier between you & the dog or weapon to defend yourself.

What if the dog attacks? What should the runner do?

I suggest not fighting back. It seems to trigger something in the dog that can make the attack worse because then the dog feels even more threatened. Drop to the ground and curl into as tight of a ball as possible. This is a sign of submission and the dog should stop attacking if you do this because he has then proven to be the Alpha dog.

That said, not all dog attacks are the same, so follow your instincts and try to “read” the dog. I always suggest that runners and walkers carry something, such as an umbrella or a stick, that they can use to protect themselves. In the case of an attack, you can put that object between you and the dog.

What about pepper spray– should runners carry it?  What would it do to the dog? (I’d say most runners don’t want to hurt the dog permanently…just protect themselves)

A lot of people carry pepper spray. Using it will give you enough time to get away from the dog and hopefully to safety. When using pepper spray always know which way the wind is blowing so you don’t spray yourself, too. The pepper spray effects the dog as it does a human. The effects will wear off, and it does not do any permanent damage to the dog.  I have used it in some situations. On some dogs, the pepper spray can stain  their fur an orange color, but it eventually fades away.

Be aware that pepper spray may not work on all dogs. I’ve run into dogs that were trained to be immune to the spray. But the chances of running into a dog like that are very slim.

Some runners carry dog bones to “make friends” with dogs…is that a strategy you’d recommend or not?

I would not recommend carrying treats to make friends with the dogs because it could backfire. Also, you don’t know what will happen if you run out of treats.  I do use treats, but I know what to look for in a dog’s body language and have the equipment to capture the dog.

What if they get bit? What do they need to do after that?

Go to the hospital as soon as possible and get your wounds cleaned and checked out. Also, call the police so someone (likely me) can go to that location to try and find the dog.  The dog must be located and detained. We typically take them to shelter until we can locate the owner to make sure the dog is up to date on its rabies shots.

What happens if a runner reports a dog that is repeatedly lose? (Walk me through the steps you take with the owner at the first report, 2nd report, etc.)

If a runner or walker reports seeing the same dog at the same location, I will try to be in that area at the time they see the dog so that I can catch the dog and try to locate the owner. Again, the dog’s owner can be charged with failure to control their dog, which carries a maximum fine of  $300.

Can you report dogs anonymously (some don’t want their neighbors to know that they complained) or will they know who “turned them in”?

Yes, you can report dogs anonymously.

How do they report a dog? What information do they need to have when they do so?

When reporting a loose dog please call the Erie Police Dept at 814-870-1125 and give them the location of where the dog is running loose and a description of the dog so I know what I’m looking for. If you know where the dog lives, give us that address and we’ll follow up with the owner.

In Erie County, contact Brian Froess, 814-934-2983. If you can’t in touch with him, call the police that service that county or the State police. I have done calls for them when the State Dog Warden is not available

Are there any breeds runners should be more wary of than others? (I’ve heard small dogs are more likely to bite, but I am positively terrified of large pit-looking dogs).

I won’t say that there is a certain breed of dog to be more cautious of, but I will say that all dogs have the potential to bite, whether they are 5 pounds or 150 pounds. If a dog has teeth, it can bite.

Any other safety tips they should know/be aware of?

I would just stress that any dog can bite, no matter how cute they are. There are different factors that determine whether a dog will bite or attack, such as a fear bite in which the dog is scared and you approach it. Dogs are more prone to bite when scared or cornered.

Also, never stare a dog in the eyes, as it’s perceived as a form of aggression. Some dogs assume staring to be a challenge and will bite you. Look down or the the side or in another direction that allows you to see the dog in your peripheral vision, so you can see what its doing.

Anything else I left out that you want to tell runners/walkers?

Remember that oftentimes a loose dog is lost and is just as scared as you are. Call the Police and let us get the dog back home and remind the owner of his/her responsibilities to keep the dog (and the public) safe and contained.


Officer Culbertson on the job. Erie Times-News photo

You asked, I answered: What to do when you have to, um, poo

By | November 18, 2014 2:23 am | 0 Comments

Q. What happens when you have to go #2. Asking for a “friend” who had a terrible experience one time. — K.M.

This question made me LOL, but it’s a legitimate problem for most runners at one time or another. I’ll say this: If there’s one thing you can’t really run through for long it’s an “urgent request” from the bowels.

I’m lucky in that this doesn’t happen to me very often and when it does, I usually can force my body to ignore it as long as I’m running. But, when I stop, I know I’ve got about 5 minutes to find a restroom. It seems that you can trick your brain into forgetting you have to go when it’s concentrating on all the processes needed to run. Once you stop, though….things get desperate quick.

If things get desperate while you’re in the middle of a run and you’re with others, you have no choice but to make and excuse to bag out and head back to the car early or cop to your dilemma and plead with your friends to help you find the nearest restroom…or stand guard while you “take care of business” in the woods, behind a tree, etc. Running friends will understand and never tell (what happens on a run stays on run).

If you have this problem in winter in Pennsylvania and you can’t find a restroom, you’re at a real disadvantage as the leaves, which offer coverage and, um, cleanup, are gone.  You’re going to have to do what most runners have done at one time or another and sacrifice a sock…or one sleeve…or underwear.  Desperate times call for desperate measures.

And, of course, if nature calls you could do what the pros do and just crap your pants, but I wouldn’t recommend that…and I’m sure your running partners wouldn’t either. ;-)

Monday Motivation: Soul food

By | November 17, 2014 2:32 am | 0 Comments

I took this photo on our run at Presque Isle on Saturday.


Things I Found — 11/13/14

By | November 13, 2014 3:12 am | 0 Comments

Worth reading

Knee problems? Strengthen your hips.

Thinking about getting inked? 38 Amazing Running Tattoos

Women’s beer mile world record shattered.

T-shirt of the Week




Hill repeats from H@#$ starts Nov. 23

By | November 12, 2014 2:22 am | 0 Comments


The Hill Repeats from H#@# Challenge is back again for the third year and….when better to tackle some hills, than November when we ALL need a push to get out there and workout. Here are all the deets from the official Facebook Events page:

Quick and dirty:
Week One (Nov 23 – Nov 29): 25 hill repeats
Week Two (Nov 30 – Dec 6): 50 hill repeats
Week Three (Dec 7 – Dec 13): 75 hill repeats
Week Four (Dec 14 – Dec 20): 100 hill repeats

IMPORTANT: That is 25, 50, 75, and 100 hills for THE ENTIRE WEEK, not each day! For example, during Week One, you could do five per day for five days, or twenty in one day and five on another day. Do whatever works for you!


Pick a hill that’s relatively short (but not too short!). Remember, you’ll want to be able to do 100 repeats in the fourth week (but obviously it should be VERY challenging). Going outside your comfort zone is essential for growth!

Be sure to warm up before starting your hills. Run the hills at 5k effort, or about 90% of maximum effort. Maintain good form while going up the hill. Eyes forward, upright posture (maybe a slight forward lean, but you should not be hunched). Drive your arms forward and back, not side to side. Try to maintain good form throughout each of the repeats. Dig deep!!

To recover, you can walk or slowly jog back down the hill.


GET STARTED EARLY in the week. Each day you put off and say “eh, I’ll just do more the next day” makes it much more difficult. And no, you cannot start on the next week’s hills until you reach the start date for the next week.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER WITH FRIENDS! Find a hill, grab a few crazy like-minded friends, and get out there and run! It’s especially helpful to do it with friends on the cold blistery winter days that you’ll likely encounter.

If you’re running on trails, use a stick to keep a tally in the mud (or snow!). It’s sometimes hard to keep track after a few!

Post updates on the Facebook page! Let’s encourage each other and help one another stay accountable. Additionally, if you’d like to post about other training you’re doing, and successes (or failures) with your diet and nutrition, you are more than welcome! We do this as a group to stay moving and stay strong during a time of the year when it’s often too easy to slack off.

Above all, HAVE FUN!!!


I took the challenge last year and actually enjoyed it. I did some of my repeats on my lunch hour at work. Penn State Behrend offers plenty of hills to choose from, of course, and November’s cool temps mean you can get away with a lunch run without tooooo much sweating.




Guest Post: Getting to Know Michael Maring

By | November 12, 2014 1:15 am | 0 Comments

By Larry Kisielewski

Throughout the history of the QUAD Games, most participants were resigned to the fact that they would finish behind Mike Maring in the bike and ski events. They knew, however, that they had a good chance to catch him in the swim and the run. That has now changed. Mike Maring is now a force to be reckoned with in all four events. But it’s not the older Mike – it’s the new improved version, MM 2.0. And the younger Maring isn’t just an athlete – he is quite an interesting young man. I would like you to meet Michael Maring.

Michael Edward Maring was born on November 26, 1999, the only child of Michael Howard and Lydia Jo (McClure) Maring. Being the son of two active, athletic parents guarantees that genetics will probably be in your favor, but it doesn’t assure success or drive. Those have to be individually developed and accomplished, and Michael has done both.

He started on his athletic path early, downhill skiing at the Peak at age 5, and eventually branching into cross country skiing and participating in the Wilderness Lodge Wildcats cross country skiing program at 10. But skiing wasn’t his only sport. He started Y soccer at 5 and competed for his Klein Elementary team beginning in 4th grade. Swim lessons at the Y started at age 8 and personal coaching by notable swimmers like Devon O’Hern has aided his progress. With both Mom and Dad excelling at cycling, Michael soon took to the bike like a duck to water.

The Marings are longtime family members of the ERC, and so triathlons were an obvious progression. Michael has competed in the North East kids’ tri, the Dam tri, and, of course, the QUAD Games. He has been a bowhunter for three years now, and recently made the difficult decision, because of concurrent seasons, to choose soccer over running cross country in high school. After last year’s 11:20 two-miler, it’s likely the XC coach was disappointed with the decision. Michael’s 34:45 effort in this year’s QUAD 5-miler shows that he has potential for the longer distances, and his 1:12 QUAD swim is equally impressive. Weight lifting three times a week at school rounds out his busy athletic schedule.

But Michael isn’t just an athletic phenom.  He is an honors student at Harbor Creek, and looks toward college by taking AP course in science, English, social studies and math. He volunteers as a road marshal at some of the local cycling events when he isn’t competing, and has participated in the Ride 4 the Refuge, Harbor Creek’s World Vision program, and Craig Latimer’s two-day ride acrossPennsylvania.

His commendable character was revealed to me when I gave him a chance to brag about himself and rag on his dad when Jr. beat Sr. in the latest QUAD ski. To his credit, Michael said his dad is still the better skier and just had a bad race, tripping three times.
Scholar, athlete, volunteer, and all-around classy young man – now you know Michael Maring.

Vital Stats

Pets – one rabbit named Shadow, a gift from one of Mom Lydia’s patients, and two shelter dogs, Ruby and Jack
Memorable vacations – ski trips to Vancouver, Canada and park City, Utah
Dream vacation – Grand Canyon
Hobbies – X-box (FIFA soccer)
Music – Disturbed
TV – Walking Dead
Favorite subjects – social studies/history
Admires – Dad

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

Things I found — 11/6/14

By | November 6, 2014 1:16 am | 0 Comments

Worth reading

* The harsh truth: Running on Instagram versus Running in Reality

* Who is making big money off your race fees? Running’s most lucrative marathons. (This does not suprise me….I think the $175 registration fee for Boston is insane, but I love my husband so I paid the ransom)

* For the ladies: The undress lets you change in public…without ever getting naked. Interesting. At first I was like….stupid…but then I watched it & thought…well…hey…it would be useful. Women…what do you think?

* Are online race registration companies scamming you? Let’s just name names, folks — we’re talking about Active and the answer is…Probably. Word to the wise — if you register for any events on Active…be very, very, very careful about what you agree to and read every single line, box & pop up.

Useful info


In case your kids still have any candy…that you’re still sneaking when they go to bed:

candy calculator - burpees

T-shirt of the Week


Making up words just like Apple

By | November 4, 2014 1:06 am | 0 Comments

If Apple can go around just making up words like phablet, then why can’t I, right?

My running friend, Lisa, and I came up with the following running-related words that we are totally going to start using:

Ritching — running and bitching.

Binjury — condition caused by too much alcohol the night before which affects performance.

Runover — running with hangover.

Froscara — ice on your lashes after a run in a blizzard.

Shoefies — selfies of your and/or all your running friends’ colorful shoes.

Yakstack — the pileup of clingy snow that occurs under your Yaxtrax when you run through wet snow.

Yakstomp – stomping that must be done mid-way through a run to dislodge yakstacks.

Linedance – what you do while waiting in long porta johns before or after a race. Also, can refer to movement done to stay warm at the start line on a cold race day.

What would you add to the list?