Runners Notes
By Heather Cass Erie Times-News staff blogger
If you want to know anything about the local running scene, ask Heather Cass. A member of the Erie Runners Club for 10-plus years, she is immersed in the local fitness culture, and she's taking your questions.   Read more about this blog.
Archive for the ‘Boston Marathon’ category
Posted: August 5th, 2013

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

Posted: July 11th, 2013

Worth Reading

* Runner’s World tells the story of Bill Iffrig, the guy who we all watched knocked to the ground repeatedly in that Boston Marathon bombing footage that kept looping for days (then he ended up bottom-down in that Sports Illustrated cover), and what a story it is.  (Yes, I’m a month behind in reading). If you haven’t read this, you should — he’s a fascinating guy. And, I had the same reaction the reporter did when I saw him — that 78-year-old man just ran a little over 4-hour marathon!

* Can’t stand energy gels? Here are 12 tasty alternatives.

* 30 Reasons We Appreciate Running.

* The New York Times did a profile of the other most recognizable victim from the Boston Marathon bombing— Jeff Baumann, who lost both of his legs.

Funny stuff


Appropriate given our recent North American Rainforest weather.

T-shirt of the Week wp-content uploads 2011 07 nike-running-tshirt-collection-4

Info here.

Posted: June 10th, 2013


Runners World magazine

Meadville-native and marathon-running amputee, Amy Palmiero-Winters, is featured in Runner’s World’s July issue, which is dedicated to Boston.

Since her left leg was amputated three inches below her knee in 1997 as the result of a motorcycle crash, Palmiero-Winters, 40, has been more than okay. She owns the marathon world record for fastest female below-the-knee amputee (3:04) and is the first below-the-knee amputee to complete the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run and the first female amputee to finish the 135-mile Badwater Ultramarathon. These achievements, she says, wouldn’t have been possible without her custom-made running-specific artificial leg, which she received from A Step Ahead Prosthetics in 2006.

Palmiero-Winters wants the Boston victims who lost limbs (of whom there are at least 14), especially the kids (Palmiero-Winters is aware of four), to have the tools they need to resume happy, active lives. And she happens to be in a position to make sure they do. Now the director of the company that helped her (a post she’s held since 2009), Palmiero-Winters and her colleagues have committed to providing prosthetics plus ongoing care and athletic training and mentorship to the children who lost limbs in the Boston blasts, thanks to a partnership with Reebok, which will help cover the costs.

Story continues here.

Posted: May 21st, 2013

6: 25 a.m. Sunday morning Dan and I are walking toward the marathon start line in front of the Cleveland Browns stadium, though it reads “Cleveland Browns Sta” because the “dium” metal letters are missing. No matter, this isn’t our first rodeo. We’ve run this race for years now. We know where were going.

The runners and spectators become a streaming mass, clogging the sidewalks and stretching onto the now-closed road. There are something like 20,000 runners, I think.

We pass a group of law enforcement officers dressed in Army green pants and shirts, standing around  dark van. They’re wearing combat boots, baseball hats, black sunglasses and bullet proof vests. They have automatic weapons slung over their shoulder and bullets wrapped around their waist.

“Great, we’ve become Mexico with machine-gun wielding Federales everywhere,” I mutter to Dan as we walk by.

There are dozens of law enforcement officers inside and outside the stadium — bomb squad, Sheriff’s office, stadium security, Cleveland police officers, K-9. Some are gathered together, others are standing and watching the crowd from above, K-9 officers are weaving dogs through the crowd and the bushes around the stadium.


I know they are all there for us. To  protect us.  To reassure us. To watch over us. They are a very visible sign that the race directors are taking Boston seriously, but it’s frightening and it kinda depresses me.

Sons of a bitches ruined our marathons. Bastards.

I don’t know their names, and I don’t care. I’m not going to look it them up either because they are not worth it.  To me, they’re nameless cowards.

Spectators, three and four deep, line the road filled with runners. Hundreds more ring the outside platform of the stadium, looking down, pointing cameras, video cameras, and cell phones in our direction.


When we finally start, I look up at them as we jog toward the start mat.  I get a little choked up because I start thinking about the Jezebel post “The People Who Watch Marathons“.

I don’t know one of those people up there and they are absolutely not there to cheer me on, but…oh, my God do I appreciate their presence — this year, more than any other previous.

I appreciate their mass. Their cheers. Their pom-poms and home made signs. Their cowbells and thunder sticks. Their DIY beer stops. Their garden hoses set to mist. Their willingness to drag their butt out of bed at 5:30 a.m. and fight traffic and pay $10 to park…just to watch us run by.

For 13 miles, every time I see a group of spectators ahead, I rally. I run stronger and straighter, and I forget how crappy I feel. I turn my camera on and scan the sidewalk for funny signs. I look for kids offering high-fives with outstretched hands and move over so I can gently slap every one of those little hands.


I’m eternally grateful for every person standing along that route who distracts me from the task at hand.

The miles fly by because of them. These strangers. These noisy, boisterous, excited, awesome strangers who meant everything to me on Sunday morning.

Thank you. You make it all worth it:

(See :16 and 1:03).

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.”

Posted: April 25th, 2013

Worth Reading

* Do you feel like you’re faster in the dark? Here’s why.

* A Penn State Behrend alumna shares her 2013 Boston Marathon story.

* New York Times: A Moment from the Boston Marathon. Through audio, stories & photos, this interactive feature highlights as many people as the NYT could track down from one famous finish line photo.  Stunning piece of modern journalism.

* Just can’t lose that extra weight? Maybe it’s all in your head: 10 psychological hurdles keeping you from losing weight and how to overcome them.

Fun stuff

* Test your Running IQ (Um….I failed)

* 10 ‘Healthy’ foods that are actually bad for you — a hilarious take by The Onion on the classic fitness magazine story.


T-shirt of the Week


Available here in various styles for $20+

Posted: April 20th, 2013

poker run

Runners participating in Saturday morning’s ERC Poker Run (5K)  honored the victims in the Boston Marathon tragedy. Sticker bibs for runners’ backs were made available by the club at the race registration table. Many thanks to Creative Imprint Systems who printed and donated the bibs.

Nearly 200 runners & walkers suffered through ANOTHER cold, windy & snowy 5K (boy, we’ve had our share this year!) at the park, but it sure didn’t slow the front runners down much.

Top 3 men: Justin Allen, Erie, 17:03; Adam Rowe, Ripley, N.Y., 18:06; and Shane Krause, Erie, 18:51

Top 3 women: Kimberly Pebley, Erie, 20;56; Lora Beeton, Washington Twp., Pa., 21:47; and Kayla Murphy, Erie, 22:14.

Complete results here.

More photos at the ERC’s Facebook page.

Posted: April 18th, 2013

 Worth Reading

* Jezebel: The People Who Watch Marathons

“One of the many puzzling aspects of yesterday’s attacks was the question of what, exactly, the perpetrators thought they’d accomplish by targeting what basically amounts to a celebration of human tenacity. If anything, the tragedy in Boston will further solidify the bond between runner and spectator. And when the Chicago marathon happens this October, I’ll show up to run harder, and they’ll show up to cheer louder. If anyone thought this attack would discourage the runners or the watchers, they’ve clearly never been to a marathon.”

*Washington Post: ‘If you are losing faith in human nature, go out and watch a marathon’

* I’m not even going to pretend to understand this, but I know some of you will and are really into this, so…here you are, eggheads: How to Improve your VO2 Max.

* Short on cross training time. Try this 30-minute bodyweight workout.

 Video of the Week

This guy — Carlin Isles — is jaw-droppingly amazing: (And, why aren’t we into rugby here in the USA — looks like a fun sport to watch!).

Posted: April 17th, 2013


The Facebook group Run Junkees has launched a virtual run event — Runners United to Remember — to “both honor the victims as well as display an act of unity and solidarity in the running community.”

When is it? How far is it? How much does it cost?

Whenever. However far you want to run. It’s free.

Virtual runs work like this: You print out the bib, you pin it on, and you go. You can gather 19 friends, you can gather 100 friends, or you can go solo. Just run. Then, once you’ve completed your unity run, you are welcome to post a picture to the RunJunkees facebook page.

Invite anyone you want: 58,000 are already “attending.”

BTW: The virtual run organizers offer this warning: This is not a fundraiser. Please be careful of scams (already) of people claiming to be raising money. 

Tshirts are available, too, and I’ll admit that I thought that was totally opportunistic until I saw that 100% of the proceeds will go the Red Cross. You can order shirts until Friday.


Posted in: Boston Marathon
Posted: April 15th, 2013

There are no words for what happened in Boston today.

But, I do have these words of comfort: All of our Erie-area, Oil City and Titusville running friends have been accounted for. For that, we can be thankful.

A handful of our friends had finished. Some (Jan Comi, Dave Vickey) were very close. Jan was pulled off the course at 25.75.

Please pray for those who were killed or injured and for their family and friends.



Posted in: Boston Marathon
Posted: April 11th, 2013


Check out this story about  Boston-bound brothers Brian and Patrick Hagen, Edinboro natives who ran for General McLane.

Their parents are Stephanie and Charlie Hager of Edinboro and Stephanie tells that “those scraggly beards come off after the race!”


Posted in: Boston Marathon

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