Runners Brave Chill; Enjoy Warm Reception
KING OF PRUSSIA, Pa. - At the onset of the Eighth Annual Revolutionary 5-mile Run®, more than 1,200 total participants ignored the mid-30s temperatures and instead focused on the blue sky overhead and the rolling trail before them. As the start horn sounded, 1,085 runners surged forward, cheered by a crowd for their athleticism and spirit.
Twenty-six minutes and thirteen seconds later, a sole runner rounded the last bend, ascended the final rise, and finished as winner: 23-year-old Josh Sadlock of Harrisburg, Pa. Second place was taken by Greg Watson, 46, of Philadelphia, completing the course in 27:23. Rounding out the top three was Jeremy Brady, 25, also of Harrisburg, finishing with a time of 27:50.
If recent headlines had any effect on participants, it seemed only to strengthen their resolve. Several Valley Forge runners competed in last week's Boston Marathon, and after finishing the Revolutionary Run, expressed eagerness for the Philadelphia Broad Street Run in early May. The injured in Boston were remembered in a moment of silence in the opening remarks of Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau President Bill Fitzgerald.
One standout Revolutionary Run athlete was 88-year-old Hugh Campbell of Wilmington, Del., running the Valley Forge course for the first time. He finished to rousing applause with a time of 49:44. "I made it all the way around," he said, smiling brightly from underneath a woolen hat he had perched on his head for post-race warmth. "I thought I may have to walk through some of those hills, but I never stopped running." Campbell was one of several "senior" runners that included 75-year-old Jim Flanagan, Haddonfield, N.J., who sported patriotic runner number 1776.
The hills on the course, which paralleled the Joseph Plumb Martin Trail, a loop named for a teenaged Revolutionary War diarist, were noted as especially challenging. To prepare the athletes on how to scale them (and navigate the rest of the run), the Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau posted a series of YouTube videos with training suggestions and strategies.
That preparation may have helped some runners, but for Kady Gahman of Royersford, Pa., the terrain was not as difficult as she originally thought. "I didn't find [the hills] that bad," she said after crossing the finish. "But I guess it's better to be over-prepared than under."
At the other end of the runners' age spectrum was seven-year-old Austin Keith of Phoenixville, Pa., the youngest athlete to tackle the five-mile course. He logged a time of 50:59 and happily celebrated with his entire family, all six of whom ran with him. "I trained with my dad," said Keith, grinning at his finish. "I ran four miles yesterday."
In addition to the five-mile run, the event - tied to the opening of National Park Week -included a three-mile walk and a 1,776 km Young Patriots Fun Run. For the walk, 141 participants strolled by the Muhlenberg Huts, once the outer rim of defense against a potential British attack during the Revolutionary War. The Fun Run hosted 76 young athletes, a perfectly appropriate number, given the setting. Participants came from 13 states, including as far away as Michigan and Ohio, and one international runner hailed from Geneva.
The Revolutionary Run raises funds for improvement initiatives within
Valley Forge National Historical Park. It is expected that $20,000 will
be contributed this year.
Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau President Bill Fitzgerald summed up the day: "Considering the history that unfolded at Valley Forge Park and its position as a Montgomery County destination for visitors from all over, it is extremely gratifying to be able to support the Park though the proceeds of the Revolutionary Run. We celebrate the competitors, those who ran for the first time and those 21 who ran with us for the eighth time, making an appearance in every Revolutionary Run held. We also thank the Friends of Valley Forge Park and all the other volunteers who make this race such a success."
For more information about the event and race results, visit www.revoutionaryrun.org
The Valley Forge Convention and Visitors Bureau, Ltd. is a nonprofit, membership-based sales and marketing organization that aggressively promotes the Valley Forge area and Montgomery County as a convention site and leisure visitor destination by encouraging patronage of its 300-plus member hotels, restaurants, attractions and services. The Bureau's website, at www.valleyforge.org, serves visitors, meeting planners, tour operators and residents.
# # #