Writings On Running

Here you'll find articles on running, hiking, biking, racing, and training by some of our members. If you'd like to submit an article, contact Marty Mazur at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Musser Gap Trail Is Complete To Tussey Ridge

I led a group run up the Musser Gap trail on October 10. I had advertised the run as one that might entail some bushwhacking, particularly if we wanted to get all the way up to Tussey Ridge, the high ridge just south of the gapped ridge that Musser Run flows out of. The last time I ran to Tussey Ridge from Musser Gap, back in December, I’d made a nearly vertical assent because of almost non-existent trail marking. That was some tough, and treacherous, climbing, so if the group consensus was against that kind of adventure, we’d have just run in the sun along the power line cut in the saddle between the ridges.

But when we got to the log footbridge across Musser Run a mile up from the Rothrock parking lot on Rte 45, I noticed a brand new DCNR trail sign that wasn’t there even a couple of months ago. As we progressed through the gap, more new signs. And when we got to the power line cut, there was a new sign for a trail to Tussey Ridge. We decided to take the adventure. The trail to the ridge is, like most trails on the higher ground in Rothrock, pretty rocky. But it’s a trail, with enough switchbacks to greatly reduce the risk of teetering back and going ass-over-teakettle down the mountainside. The trail is pretty obvious in most places, and well blazed where it’s not. Getting to the ridgetop is strenuous, but not dangerous. The total climb from the lowest point on the run (the bridge across Slab Cabin Run on the greenway path near Rte. 45) to the top of Tussey Ridge is just under 1000 feet over 2 miles.

Read more: Musser Gap Trail Is Complete To Tussey Ridge

Marathoners For Medicine Team Surpasses $500,000 In Donations for CVIM

The Marathoners for Medicine team raised over $50,000 in 2014 in donations for Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM), a local organization that serves and advocates for medically underserved residents. The 2014 tally brought  the grand total to over $500,000 since the team began fundraising. John Domico started the Marathoners for Medicine team in 2003 when he ran the Boston Marathon and raised $1,500 for CVIM. The next year, he asked a few friends from the Nittany Valley Running Club to join him, and the Marathoners for Medicine team was born.

Twenty-six runners participated on this year’s team by competing in a spring marathon or half-marathon. Tom Cali led fundraising efforts with $7,500.00 raised for CVIM.

The Penn State Cross Country Club also joined this year’s team, with six club members raising $1,620.00. Other team members included graduate students, Penn State faculty and staff and other Centre County residents. Sue Paterno, PSU Track and Field Olympian Greg Fredericks, and Penn State Women’s Volleyball Coach Russ Rose served as honorary coaches this year.


Sproul 10K Trail Race Report

Wait…isn’t that a trail race?  Break out your finest metal mug filled with instant coffee, throw another log on the campfire…and prepare yourself for another looooong winded email.

So a few of us roadies thought it would be fun to test our legs on some trails and see what it’s actually like, so that we have some clout to make fun of trailer runners instead of just picking on them for fun.  In talks with some of my trail running friends (or the ones that put up with me) it turned out that Sproul would be a great beginner trail race.  I wanted something runable rather than a rock climb, and also wanted something far enough away from marathon/fall season so that I’d have time to heal after I hurt myself since it seems every trail runner gets hurt every other time they run.

Sproul 10k course is a 3 mile climb follow by a 3.7mi descent.  Hold up…3 + 3.7 = 6.7.  Apparently math isn’t a strong suit of the trail people, because every 10k I’ve ever run is 6.2mi.  I guess this is more of an ultra 10k?  Or maybe since the times are so slow they can use the “oh that’s because its longer than a road 10k” excuse.  Eh..whatever.  I’m still going to run this thing.  So hearing about its grueling front half climb, I figured I’d used the weekly hill workouts as my Sproul training and I’ll be set to show these trail folks how to run their races.  I’d worn my road shoes out and needed a new pair, so I bought a pair of Patagonia trail/ultra shoes…to help me fit in on race day.  And for good measure I went to Shingletown gap once to run with the Thursday trail crew, to round out my Sproul training and hone my trail skills.

Read more: Sproul 10K Trail Race Report

Race report: 26.2 with Donna

I signed up for 26.2 with Donna because of my mother. She had run the full marathon once and the half once, and was coming back for a third year. I didn't qualify for Boston, my usual spring marathon, so I decided to go down to Jacksonville Beach, Florida in February for an early spring marathon.

My mother first signed up for this race because it has Galloway (run/walk) pace groups. She trains with (and recently became a group leader for) a Galloway training group in Atlanta. During this year's race, she got to run with Jeff Galloway for a while, and talked to him at the post-race party. (She also won her age group!)

With about 6,000 runners in the full and half marathon, this isn't a big city marathon like New York or Boston, but it has a lot of amenities. When I landed in Jacksonville, I was greeted by friendly volunteers at a 26.2 with Donna table in the airport. The expo, held in a train station turned convention center, was big, with a nice variety of vendors. In addition to the usual running-related vendors, there were many booths related to the event's focus, breast cancer.

Read more: Race report: 26.2 with Donna

The Musser Gap Greenway Trail - A Great Collaboration

October 17, 2014

I just returned from the ribbon cutting ceremony of the Musser Gap Greenway. The Musser Gap Greenway is the result of a collaboration between the ClearWater Conservancy, Penn State University, local government bodies, and many other local organizations.  The Greenway connects downtown State College (via Whitehall Road) to the Rothrock State Forest at Musser Gap. It was very exciting to hear about the collaboration of all the different groups that brought this project to fruition. Speakers at the ribbon cutting ceremony included Katie Ombalski of the ClearWater Conservancy, Representative Scott Conklin, Jim Steph (Centre Region Council of Government), Jason Albright (DCNR Bureau of Forestry) and Nick Jones (Penn State Provost). It was great to hear them all speak and you could tell that they were all passionate about the project and what it brings to the community. The Nittany Valley Running Club organized a group to meet up and attend the ceremony. When it concluded, we provided instant gratification for the project organizers by running back to town via the Greenway! An exciting and beautiful addition to the community and an exciting event to a be part of.

Photo from ClearWater Conservancy Facebook page.


NVRC runners break in the Musser Gap Greenway Trail

Read more: The Musser Gap Greenway Trail - A Great Collaboration

The Badwater Ultramarathon In January

Jeff and Jim Smucker and Marv Hall completed the 134 mile Badwater Ultra-Marathon course in a leisurely 4 days. Rather than stick his research in a file, Marv is making it available to others that are looking for something different to do for a break from the normal winter runs. Marv thinks there are others that might like to do the Badwater course in January rather than July.

Jeff Smucker keeps a blog of his ultra adventures. Here's the blog. Jeff's January 2013 writings were all about the trip and go into the adventure in interesting detail with lots of pictures. They're in reverse chronological order, so start from the bottom.

(The graphics from Marv's reasearch are too big for the formatted page. Shrinking them wouldn't do them justice, so click to continue...)


Read more: The Badwater Ultramarathon In January