The Ninth Annual Valley Forge Revolutionary 5-Mile Run® contained a number of stand-out moments, including the excitement of watching well-trained athletes pit themselves against both the course and the clock.
But there were also surprises that unfolded in Valley Forge National Historical Park the morning of April 27.
For instance, Kyle Cassidy of Philadelphia took it upon himself to answer the question: What happens when a runner covers five miles dressed in a full George Washington getup? The answer, it seems, is sweat.
Cassidy saw the Revolutionary Run as a chance to challenge his online followers to raise funds for a personal cause, City Kitties, a nonprofit, no-kill feline rescue organization in West Philadelphia. Initially, he sought $500 in donations to run the entire five-mile distance in a Continental Army uniform, complete with tricorne hat. When that threshold was crossed and there were still a handful of days before the Run, Cassidy upped the ante: For $800, he would carry a stuffed cat, which looked alarmingly real. Within a day or two, that goal was met as well. So as a last hurdle, Cassidy sought $1,000 for the addition of video updates every mile.
He monitored the progress via cell phone, tracking donations almost up to the point of the start signal, and by start time, the funds were in place. Cassidy, along with running partner John Lopes, himself a Washington reenactor, set off. His bouncy reports provide an interesting - and sometimes upside-down - view of his progress.
Cassidy wasn't the only costumed participant in the Rev Run.
Patrick Allison Jr., Royersford, dressed as a six-foot crayfish. In a reality, it was a lobster costume with a few modifications, necessitated by the difficulty involved in finding a legit crayfish costume.
Allison customized his look by smearing some maroon paint on his sides and strapping his claws with electrical tape. The goal was to look like an "Orconectes rusticus" (rusty crayfish), an invasive bully that threatens native crayfish. Allison, whose LinkedIn profile lists him as a "Crayfish Researcher," ran as part of the Young Patriots Fun Run, a 1.776 km race for children. His intention was to raise awareness about the park's Crayfish Corps, a volunteer opportunity for youngsters in which they remove the harmful critter from the waterways.
Allison trotted behind the tots, his ten red legs and tail flapping in the breeze. It was unclear whether the kids were running toward the finish line or away from a chasing crayfish.
But at least Allison's crayfish faced front.
Rev-Runner Darryl Turpin, of Team Sheraton Valley Forge, ran the five-mile course facing backward. "I was hit by a headwind right at the start," Turpin explains, "and I put my back to it. I just decided to run the rest of five miles that way." As he rounded the final bend, Turpin looked like a directionally challenged athlete, stepping off from the finish line rather than the starting line. Despite his unorthodox style, Turpin came in (went out?) with a time of 1:19:30.
For the majority of the day's 1,400 participants, however, notoriety came from their performance on the course, rather than out-of-the-ordinary dress or nontraditional running styles. Congratulations go to the following standouts:
- First place: Titus Rotich (25:08)
- Second place: Andrew Weaver (25:12)
- Third place: Darryl Brown (25:47)
- First place, women: Brianne Strenkowski (30:46)
- Second place, women: Samantha McNally (31:15)
- Third place, women: Meghan Smith (31:18)
Darryl Brown, Titus Rotich, Andrew Weaver, and Race Director Kirsten Tallman
The centerpiece to the Revolutionary Run is Valley Forge National Historical Park. There are so many opportunities to discover this gem (history, nature, healthy living) that it would take at least a three-day weekend to explore them all. While doing that, be sure to check out one of our many recommended hotels. Better yet, spend the week and visit the other sites, events and attractions that Montgomery County, Pa., has to offer.