The regular meeting of the Nittany Valley Running Club was held on Tuesday, December 1. Service was brutally slow, but there was enough to get done and talk about that we barely noticed. Present were Matt Manfred, Dave DeGroote, George Etzweiler, Dave Eggler, guest Susan Hawthorne of Centre Volunteers in Medicince (CVIM), John Wilcock, Marty Klanchar, John Domico with his sons Kyle and Ryan, Jerry Steffy, Kim Gasper, Kathy Koetje-Simin, Cheryl Capone and her son Brian, Tara Murray, Mike Casper and his boy Evan, Elizabeth Desser, and Marty Mazur.

There were several orders of business before the pizza came around. First, the Club needs a new Race Director for the Arts Festival races. Amy Paster is stepping down after a number of years successfully directing the race. In the past, this job has traditionally fallen to the Club President, but it hasn't been that way in a while. Jerry Steffy will be glad to direct the race, but needs someone to take over the Arts Fest Kids Races if he's going to fill those shoes. Dave Eggler will be happy to be the Co-Director this year, but won't handle the Kids Races. So, we need to have someone to step up and handle the Kids Races. It's a pretty straightforward job, and the Club will have use of the State College Spikes' ballpark as a venue for both the Arts Fest Races and the Kids Races. Volunteers?

Cheryl Capone had a lot to report. First of all, the Knights of Columbus 5K brought in $1200 for its two charities, the Schlow Regional Library Children's Department and the Tom Kleban Recovery Fund. And the NVRC kicked in another $300 to help these two worthy causes in these hard times. Second, Cheryl is stepping down after two years directing the Knights Race. She has found a director for next year's race. Christine Rodgers will be taking over. Cheryl and Marty Mazur will help Christine get over her Rookie Year Jitters. We expect a lot of help from the rest of you! Finally, Cheryl put in a plug for next weekend's Jingle Bell Run For Arthritis. It's the fastest 5K course in town! It's measured down to the Angstrom by Greg Dillon, so it's not short, but it's a guaranteed PR.

John Domico and Mike Casper talked about October's mOUnTaiNBACK Relay and Ultra. The race is a big deal. It's the USATF 50 Mile Road Ultra championship. It breaks records in participation every year. And though it changes beneficiaries almost every year, even past beneficiaries benefit. Teams show up every year for past year's causes, continuing the fundraising in out years. But this year's beneficiary in particular has benefited form the race's growing success. The Centre Volunteers in Medicine received a check for $9000 tonight, the proceeds from this year's race. That nearly doubles the donation from last year's race. Mike Casper gave the check to Susan Hawthorne of CVIM. He also gave tokens of appreciation to the top fundraising teams and individuals, including George Etzweiler, who was present to receive a plaque. CVIM Board Member John Domico gave a speech driving home the importance of the efforts of groups like the NVRC in helping CVIM meet its budget in these recessionary times.

Dave Eggler reported on this coming weekend's Nittany Valley Half-Marathon. First, the weather will be good. He guarantees it. Second, if you are even thinking of running, sign up! And sign up for First Night. Another fast course, and a rollicking good time!

The Club recognized John Wilcock tonight. John ran every marathon in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania this year. That's 13 in all. John denied ever having too hard a time of it after the first weekend, when he ran two marathons. John also raised money for CVIM as part of the challenge he set before himself. He has now set his sights on the Disneyland Goofy Challenege (the Disney Half-Marathon followed by the Disney Marathon) in January, and also hopes to do a full Ironman next year. Good luck, John!

The Indoor Mile Series is set for January and early February. Watch the web site for updates, and lay off the lard over Christmas.

Finally, Dave wanted to discuss buying a chip timing system for the Club, but forgot about it in the mad rush for pizza. They're becoming quite affordable, and such a system would make near-septuagenarian Dave's job easier.

Our next meeting will include an Awards Ceremony for the 2009 NVRC Race Series. Right now, those in the hunt for Race Series awards are Meira Minard, Christine Rodgers, Alan Effrig, Ann Skulas-Ray, and Dave DeGroote. Those vying for Volunteer of the Year prizes are Marty Mazur, Jerry Steffy, Mike Casper, and Amy Paster. (Dave Eggler leads in points, but has retired from volunteer competition.)

Next meeting: February 2.

Left: mOUnTaiNBACK Race Director Mike Casper holds check for $9000 for presentation to the Centre Volunteers in Medicine.
Right: Mike Casper presents plaque to George Etzweiler of the Old Men of the Mountains, top team fundraisers at the 2009 mOUnTaiNBACK.