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 ‘Fun Runs’ category
Posted: April 3rd, 2014

Worth Reading

5 foam rolling mistakes to avoid.

Glute activtion: 10 must-do exercises (Weak glutes are to blame for many common running ailments, including low back pain and knee and hip problems.

Solid running advice for all of us from ultramarathoner Dean Karnazes.  (“Fail boldly. The more you take on, the more you will fail. But the more fail, the more you will learn—and the more you will succeed.”)

Sore hip flexors? It may not be what you think.

Your running Rorschach Test.


The next big thing in racing?

Funny stuff


Posted: March 6th, 2014

Looks like I can finally spill the beans on this new event at the Lake Erie Speedway, as organizers just sent out this press release:

Registration for Zombie Extreme and Zombie Black Ops races currently open

The Erie Sports Commission is pleased to announce that The Zombie Run: Extreme and The Zombie Run: Black Ops races will be held Saturday, May 17th at Lake Erie Speedway.

The event will feature two untimed races – The Zombie Run: Extreme and The Zombie Run: Black Ops.

The Zombie Run: Extreme begins at 9 a.m. and takes place on a mud-filled, 5K obstacle course through a zombie-infested wasteland. Racers will be tested as they dodge an army of brain-thirsty undead while scrambling through a series of rugged obstacles. The Zombie Run: Black Ops starts at 9 p.m. and offers a chance to tackle a terrifying nighttime obstacle course of fire, obstacles, smoke and zombie-infested darkness.

The event will be working with the Erie Playhouse as a benefiting nonprofit.

Registration is now open at with reduced rates available until March 31st. Zombie registration is $35 and human registration is $65. Teams of four or more zombies or humans will receive an additional $5 discount per person. All participants will receive a t-shirt and a drawstring bag. Humans will also receive participation medals while all zombies enjoy a zombie makeover prior to the start of the event. The Zombie Run: Black Ops participants also get a LED bracelet.

“The Zombie Run is a great way to add an exciting event to our race calendar and take advantage of some of the natural landscape offered here at Lake Erie Speedway,” said Branden Kaczay, Executive Vice President – Business Operations of Lake Erie Speedway. “We have the track, open land and wooded areas which creates an awesome environment for this type of race.”

“This is a themed event that will provide all sorts of fun in addition to physical challenges,” said Erie Sports Commission Executive Director Ron Sertz. “Lake Erie Speedway offers an excellent diversity as far as terrain is concerned and that will make the event even better.”

For more information visit

Posted: February 5th, 2014

Received this e-newsletter from the Color Run organizers.

The Happiest 5k on the Planet is exploding into 2014 with a totally new tour! Imagine everything you love about The Color Run combined with even more happy goodness! Brand new race gear, more color, more music, exciting new course attractions… this is 5k magic like only The Color Run can do! Get ready to experience the one-year only Kaleidoscope Tour 2014!

The Kaleidoscope Tour is stopping in
Erie on August 9th, 2014!

Here’s what you need to do:
1) Mark your calendars! Start a paper chain countdown! Save the date! The Kaleidoscope Tour is coming to town.
2) Grab your friends and family and tell them we’re coming. Invite them to this exclusive VIP list as well so they can get hooked up just like you.
3) Stay tuned! We’ll be sending you an email soon announcing VIP ticket sales and amazing deals for early-birds.
4) Check out the Erie event page and go like our Facebook page for more updates.
5) SMILE!! 2014 just got amazing…unicorn style.
Kaleidoscope Tour Sneak Peeks:
All runners will receive a new Race Kit in 2014. Custom 2014 t-shirt, tricolor headband, amazing shoulder bag, tattoos and more!
The #Happiest5k is getting amped up with more music, brighter color bursts, incredible entertainment, and the all-new “Kaleidoscope” attraction.
Posted in: Fun Runs
Posted: January 31st, 2014


Don’t forget that if you’re planning to ….um….indulge in the Stanganelli’s Pepperoni Ball Jog ‘n Hog on June 14 that registration opens Sunday, February 2 (GroundHOG day) and you can get a $5 discount if you use the code: 2014SAVE5 (only good on Feb. 2).

More details here.


Posted: January 22nd, 2014


Chocolate candy flip flops from

Dan Albaugh, race director for the Erie Runners Club’s annual Valentine Prediction Run & Walk (Sunday, Feb. 9), typically tries to pick an unusual premium (hey, it’s not easy to entice runners to race in February!) and this year he’s picked what I predict will be a winner with most folks: flip-flops.

Yes….flip-flops in ERC colors with the ERC logo…so wherever you go this summer, people will know you’re a runner (Though, your calves usually totally give it away).

May the best pace prognosticators win

Whether you are a 6:39-minute-miler or a 13:45-minute-miler, you can win the Erie Runner’s Club Valentine’s Day Prediction Race because the “winners” are the runners who can most accurately predict their race pace not the ones who cross the finish line first!

It works like this: You will be asked to predict your pace-per-mile, based on the road and weather conditions that morning, and race organizers will calculate your predicted finishing time. Those participants who finish the run in a time closest to their prediction will receive a choice from a delicious selection of chocolate awards. Racewalkers are welcome to compete.

The distance? That’s the unknown part of the equation. The race director WILL tell you that it’s between 4 and 6 miles, but you will not have an exact distance (then it would be too easy to calculate your pace).

For the sake of fairness, you are asked to refrain from wearing a watch or other timing or pacing device during the race.

Did you see that note above? You win CHOCOLATE. Combine that with the flip-flops and you’ll see it’s worth dragging your butt to the peninsula to run on Sunday, Feb. 9

Cost is $20 until January 29 ($10 if you don’t want the flip-flops). After January 29 the price goes up $5.

Application & more information here.

Posted in: ERC, Fun Runs
Posted: January 17th, 2014


Mark your calendars, the race directors of the annual Stanganelli’s Pepperoni Ball Jog ‘n Hog are once again offering a discount for those who sign up on the first day registration opens — February 2 — GroundHOG day, of course! On that day only, use promo code 2014SAVE5 to get $5 off your registration fee.

Here’s more info from the race directors:

Pepperoni ball lovers rejoice – the 3rd annual Stanganelli’s Pepperoni Ball Jog ‘n Hog will be held on June 14 at 8:30 a.m. at Presque Isle State Park.

Here’s how the race works: Runners start at Beach 1 on Presque Isle and run out two miles to the Beach 6 parking area where they stop and eat either six or three pepperoni balls. Participants will then run back two miles to the starting line on expanded stomachs.

The Jog ‘n Hog is open to everyone age 10 and up. All runners receive a t-shirt and a coupon for six free Stanganelli’s pepperoni balls (in addition to the balls they will eat on the course). For more details and to register visit

Like last year, the gastrointestinally brave can register in the “Whole Hogger Division,” which involves eating six pepperoni balls at the race’s halfway point. Those who are less confident in their eating ability can register in the “Half Hogger Division” (3 balls).

Racers who form teams of 12 or more people will each receive an additional $5 refund off their registration after the race. Teams are limited to 20 people.

 For more information about Jog ‘n Hog visit or “like” Jog ‘n Hog on Facebook.

More: Q&A with Boss Hogs of Jog ‘n Hog



Posted: December 17th, 2013


Do you?

It started with a Facebook post as most things do with this group of running friends:

“Hey, did you guys see they have a ‘virtual run’ option for the A Christmas Story run in Cleveland. We should do one here!”

Responses began dinging in every few seconds:

“I’m in!”

“Let’s do it!”

“Always wanted to do it, but didn’t want to drive there…so, yes!”

“LOVE A Christmas Story: You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!”


We learn that the virtual race is $45 and includes the official race bib, T-shirt and finisher’s medal. That’s great, but someone suggests we just pay $25 and do our own thing — make our own shirts, bibs and “medals”— instead of sending our money to Cleveland.

A few members of the group take charge. They plan a date, location & courses (5K & 10K option), another collects money and orders the T-shirts, another prints customized race bibs.


And that’s how 23 grown adults came to be at 9 a.m. at Frontier Park on a cold December Saturday morning dressed in pink bunny suits, leg lamp skirts, elf costumes, and Santa beards. I wear a a 1950s-era plaid winter “Ralphie” hat, a “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” T-shirt and bring a toy rifle (which I do not carry on the run, lest I make Erie’s finest nervous running through town with a gun).

Photographer & running friend Matt Kleck volunteers to follow us around and document the fun.  Others show up just to see the spectacle.


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After securing various costumes (how do elves RUN in those shoes?) and taking photos, we set off down the bayfront trail, loop around Liberty Park and Dobbin’s Landing and head up Holland to 6th Street and back to Frontier Park, laughing all the way.

Cars beeped, people yelled and waved. We waved back, stopped for photos, and hammed it up for Matt:




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Our finishers “medals”:


After the run, we gather at Romolo’s coffee shop for all manner of 500-calorie hot drinks (I recommend the mint mocha), generously paid for by an “anonymous” friend, though we all know who our secret Santa was. ;)




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I wander over to the store side and wind up spending $30 on various stocking stuffers and curse my friends for introducing me to this house of chocolatey heaven.


In the end, our little A Christmas Story fun run raises more than $350 for Grady’s Decision, a local nonprofit organization, which helps families of prematurely-born babies care for their little miracles.


Do you love A Christmas Story? Check out this fun trivia about the Christmas classic.

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: December 3rd, 2013

Sunday afternoon when it seemed the rest of the world was putting up holiday decorations and Christmas trees (at least based on what everyone was posting on Facebook), 19 of us were running from a Harborcreek winery to a Lawrence Park tavern…for a beer tab necklace.

The 3-mile downhill run was the first event in the 2013/2014 winter series cooked up by our fun-loving,  lollygagging, lovin’-life, stop-and-smell-the-roses friend, Eloise (she’s in the orange vest in the group photo below). Last year we ran from 6 Mile Cellars winery to all the other area wineries listed on the directional sign out front.

Remember this?


This year Eloise decided to continue with the fun.  Series 2 is titled The Six Pack because, as Eloise says on her blog, she is a beer girl.

“The Six Pack will consist of six different runs, beginning Thanksgiving weekend.  The runs are planned for Thanksgiving weekend, January, February, March, April, and May.  Each month distance will be added.”

Then she teased us with this: “Prizes will be awarded for each run, and a grand prize will be given for those completing the entire Six Pack.”

With Eloise, there’s always a twist.  She’s probably one of the most creative people I’ve ever met. I don’t know when she sleeps and still manages to work full time, raise three kids, take care of the lamp post, dream up creative winter series runs, and make Scrabble boards from Pinterest for her renovated bathroom:

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But….I digress (which I know Eloise would totally approve of). But…back to Sunday afternoon….

Nineteen of us are running in clumps toward Route 5 on a gray, but otherwise, perfect running-weather Sunday afternoon.  Cars honk. People wave. Shoppers rush by with their treasures.

Two guys standing outside of Bootlegger’s Bar (destination for run No. 2 in The Six Pack) watch use stream by and shout, “What are you guys doing a race or something?”

“We’re running to the bar,” I yell back.

One of the guys who is holding a 12 pack, yells back….”Well, alright…now that’s a good reason to run!”

We thought so.

But, it’s not about the drinks…or the destination…or the post-run chicken wings…or the bragging rights…or even the beer tab necklaces that Eloise awards to each of us (collect a tab at each run), it’s about the camaraderie and friendship of shared experience.  Making new friends. Catching up with old friends. Hooking new folks who may never have believed that running could be fun.


6 pack run3  6 pack run5

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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: November 27th, 2013


Back in March, I told you about the newest “fun run” craze — the electric run .    Well, I just received word that Erie will be getting it’s own nighttime fun run called the Glow Run 5K on Sunday, May 25 (Memorial Day weekend).

The event will be held at Penn State Behrend and will be a family-friendly event with an after party with a DJ and a laser light show. And, cost is just $25 per person and $20 per person for teams of two or more (a bargain compared to the cost of most color, mud or other “fun” runs).

Here’s all the info from the race organizer, United Service Corp.:

Dates have been confirmed for a night fun run GLOW RUN 5K for Sunday evening of Memorial Day weekend next year on the Penn State Behrend campus hosted by the United Service Corps. Promising to be an evening of fun for the whole family, the race will culminate in an after celebration party with live DJ and laser light show.

Participants decorate with neon, glow sticks and LED paraphernalia as they traverse the three mile course creating a electric visual and physical experience. Along the route they’ll encounter glow stations like a neon forest, black light tunnel and a laser light chute.

Penn State Behrend’s Athletic Director Brian Streeter has promised a fun and challenging course setup that will take runners and walkers through the heart of campus and to some of the outer field trails and in and out of lighted areas.

“We created some fun award categories for the fastest Glow Bug runners and for the slowest Glow Worms and we’re giving away Kindle Fires as prizes.  We even have a team award for best Glow that we’re giving a$100 dining gift certificate to Pineapple Eddies,” said Executive Director of United Service Corps, Angela Magee.

Nearly 3,000 participants are anticipated for the GLOW RUN 5K next year and spots are expected to sell out. Early registration is $25.00 per individual and $20.00 per person for teams of two or more. For more details and to register go to:

Event proceeds benefit the United Service Corps I Go, You Go Scholarship Fund.

Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities available.  Email:


The United Service Corps is a student volunteer organization sending volunteers abroad to serve global needs through service oriented travel programs. For more information contact



Posted in: 5K, Fun Runs, FYI
Posted: October 23rd, 2013

You’ve got options this weekend with four 5Ks in the area:

Friday — Twilight 5K

Friday evening is the Twilight 5K at Penn State Behrend — a candlelight run through campus. Kids fun run starts at 6 p.m., 5K starts at 6:20 p.m. and 2-mile walk starts at 6:25 p.m.  Application and information here.

Saturday – Zombie Run & Trick or Trot

There is, apparently, another Zombie run this weekend at Beach No. 11 at Presque Isle State Park. I hadn’t heard anything about this event until I saw it listed on the ERC’s upcoming regional race list. According to the race application, proceeds benefit Special Olympics.

Out in east county, you can get off road and run the Trick or Trot 5K on Edinboro University’s cross-country course.  Race starts at noon. Information here. Prizes for the best costumes!

Sunday —Boo Run Run 5K

Sunday morning is Safenet’s annual Halloween trail & sand adventure — the Boo Run Run 5K at Beach No. 9 at Presque Isle State Park. Costumes are encouraged…and are always creative! Prizes for the best costumes. Information & application here.


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