The end of an era! Hi-Way Pizza on Westerly Parkway is no more! As I drove through the lot toward Hi-Way, I noticed several Club members outside the door and some barely visible signs on the glass of the doors. This did not look good. As I approached, the meaning became clear. Hi-Way was closed. Not just for the night. For good. They were selling beer at the bottle shop window. That was it. The whole place was folding up. The enterprise that owns the other Hi-Way and several other restaurants in town says that they'll be opening up some time in the future at a new location. Nothing definite yet. But, after over 30 years of regular bimonthly meetings at Hi-Way, the NVRC will have to find a new place to meet. That's something that will be decided in the near future.
It was almost as if people knew the meeting would have "problems". Attendance was low by recent standards. Instead of the usual 20+ attendees, there were 7 (later 9). The assembled group of Marty Mazur, Dave Eggler, Marty Klanchar, Bob Boozer, Dave Mengle, Tara Murray, and Dave DeGroote decided to move the venue, at least for the evening, to Faccia Luna on South Atherton St. We left a note taped to the door of Hi-Way saying what was what and headed around the corner. Mike and Evan Casper ended up finding the group, sitting in the glassed-in porch.
So what did we talk about? First, of course, we need to find a new venue for the meeting place. We'll be deciding that over the next few months. We have some time. Our annual picnic is usually held at a park rather than at Hi-Way. So our next restaurant meeting is in October. An early favorite is the new Otto's, if they open in time. But we'll open the matter up to Club discussion.
Speaking of the picnic, we need a volunteer to coordinate it. We'll be phoning around. And at that picnic, we'd like to honor a special Club member. That would be Coach Harry Groves. Harry was the coach of the Penn State men's running teams for decades. He's a Coaches Association Hall of Famer, and an all-around sage regarding all things running. Harry was also one of the founders of the Nittany Valley Track Club, which later became the Nittany Valley Running Club. Harry turned 80 last month. Harry nowadays holds court at Panera in downtown State College. We'd like to invite Harry to our next meeting for some special attention and honors. Marty will get in touch with the Coach. Expect some information on this soon.
Speaking of Club Honorees, 90 year-old George Etzweiler, now the oldest finisher of the run up Mt. Washington, has had a minor setback in his training for this year. He fell and broke a couple of bones. George won't be able to run the Arts Festival 10K this year. He's resting and healing so that he's ready for this year's Mt. Washington run.
The members in attendance discussed several other items of Club business. First, Dave Eggler reported that he wrote a check to the Penns Valley Track team for $4627.43. That total represents the proceeds of the last two years of the Run Around Egg Hill 10 Miler and Relay. Dave also reported that he is making progress on researching new automatic timing equipment to use for the Club's smaller races. We'll still be using Runner's High for the bigger races we do. The automated equipment will make Dave's job (and that of his helpers) easier.
And speaking of Club beneficence, we discussed for a time a request by some adult Club members who had wanted the Club to pay entrance fees for an important meet. The meet incidentally benefited a worthy (non-local) charity. The runners in question would have run under the Club auspices, and likely would have won an event. The officers had earlier decided not to pay the fees. Reasons given were that historically the Club has given money to youth training organizations, and to individual young runners attending national meets to defray costs. This is clearly part of our mission. We have a written policy about the former. We also put on our own races for local charities. But we don't generally give money not raised by race proceeds to charities. But there have been some exceptions to much of what I say. We'd like to iron out a more consistent, less ad hoc policy regarding beneficence in general. In addition, there are several local athletes who have participated in things like age group world record attempts, Olympic trials, etc. We'd like to be clearer about who/what is eligible for some help from us, and we don't want to open the doors wide to any and all requests. The members present tabled discussion on this. There just wasn't a big enough Club representation to make headway on this. We'll likely bring this up again and try to get some Club-wide discussion going on the issue.
Next, Marty reported on the progress of Lisa Smith-Batchen, who is running 50 miles in all 50 states over a two month period to raise $1 million for charities that help AIDS orphans worldwide. Lisa ran her 50 miles here in State College. It was her 9th state at the time. Her visit here was coordinated by the Club through Elizabeth Desser. Lisa has now run in 35 states and is still going strong. But she still needs help to reach her monetary goal. Go to www.runhope.com and donate if you haven't. Marty is sending out Elizabeth's report and "Thank You" message to the Club at large.
Longtime Club members Kim and Steve Gasper now have a baby son, Jonathan Stephen, born on May 27. Mom and baby are doing well. Kim reports that Jonathan is ready to do hill workouts any time!
Next Meeting: August 3.