When the runners come around the final bend of the Valley Forge 5-Mile Revolutionary Run® on Sunday, April 23, many of them will be looking at their watches, eager to check their times.
Doug Lacey of West Norriton, however, may not be able to keep himself from at least glancing at the sponsors’ banner hanging overhead.
And if his eyes do pop upward, he will surely be scanning the logos to find his own, JC Pool and Spa. As a first-time backer of the event, this year’s Rev Run represents the first time Lacey’s business is highlighted among the race’s dedicated supporters.
Lacey’s trek from runner to sponsor was propelled by his love of the sport and his deep appreciation for Valley Forge National Historical Park.
“This will be my tenth year,” Lacey says. “I started running – I don’t know – 11 years ago. And I run at Valley Forge frequently.
“I only live about a mile and a half from the park. I’m close enough where I can run from my house to the Schuylkill River Trail, over the new pedestrian bridge, through the park and back to my house. It’s a distance of eight/eight-and-a-half miles. Depending on the weather, I’ll run that sometimes four times a week.”
Being in the highly seasonal pool business limits Lacey’s time on the trails, especially in spring. But his devotion to Rev Run is firm.
“The park is kind of a special place for me,” he relates. “I’ve used it as a recovery method; I stopped drinking eight years ago. And when I did that, it kind of freed up a lot of time. And I just got bitten by the run bug.”
His start was modest. “My wife and I went rollerblading one day, and I decided to go back and run the same distance, which was like three miles. And at the time, I thought that was super-far,” he laughs. “But I got into it.”
The Valley Forge landscape has been woven tightly into Lacey’s life. His parents took him there when he was a child; he later got engaged there; and he now takes his children there for sledding and hiking.
He’s also a fan of the old train station. “I’m also what they call a rail fan,” he says, “which is a very weird thing for people who like to watch trains. So I go train-watching in the park. I spend a lot of time there.”
The sponsorship decision became a tangible way to show his appreciation for a landscape that had become very special to him.
“I feel like it’s a way to give back a little bit, you know?” Lacey admits.
“It’s something that I’ve always been aware of,” he continues. “But we’ve just never been in the position to do it. And now we are. So it’s something I wanted to do for a long time, and now we can swing it.
“I’m going to be pretty excited on Friday, picking up that shirt and seeing my company logo on the back. Probably more so looking forward to that than actually running. That will bring me a lot of pride.
“The park is a very special place to me and my family for multiple reasons. It brings me a lot of happiness to know we’re supporting it,” Lacey concludes.
The 2017 Valley Forge 5-Mile Revolutionary Run® is April 23. The event includes the five-mile run, a three-mile walk and a Young Patriots Fun Run.
In-person registrants can sign up for the race on April 21-22 during packet pick-up
The Valley Forge Tourism & Convention Board
1000 First Avenue, Suite 101
King of Prussia, PA 19403
Friday, April 21, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturday, April 22, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Please note: There is no race-day registration
Five-mile race: $40 ($38 for USATF members)
Three-mile walk: $25
Young Patriots Fun Run: $15
All proceeds are donated to Valley Forge National Historical Park. No refunds will be given for any reason.