The weather was drab and a little threatening as Club members starting arriving at Spring Creek Park in Houserville, just like it was at last year's Annual Picnic. A brief downpour added some excitement to that event, but this year the rain held off. And it's a good thing. The Club was assembling not just for the picnic, but to honor Coach Harry Groves. Coach Groves was the running coach at Penn State for many years and was also one of the founders of the Nittany Valley Track Club (as our Club was called until about 7 years ago). Coach Groves turned 80 in April.
Kathy Koetje-Simin was this year's picnic coordinator. Kathy did a great job with the grub. The main course was pulled pork barbecue from Fat Jack's on North Atherton. Side dishes were brought in by just about everyone, so the meal was a real smorgasbord. The crowd was big, in part because of Harry's presence. I counted something like 60, including quite a few little ones.
Before introducing Harry, Marty Mazur conducted the only business the Club had to do: get a feeling for where our next meeting would be. As reported at the last meeting, the Club's meeting location of many years, Hi-Way Pizza on Westerly Parkway, is no more. The group decided to wait on the new Otto's, which should be opening in the next few weeks, and see if that place will fit the bill. (The old Otto's would be a great place, except that it's way too small!) Bob Cornwall was charged with scouting the new Otto's as soon as it opens.
After the brief business, Marty introduced Coach Groves (who really needs no introduction). Harry told some stories, but centered his remarks on a sane approach to running. You're in it for the long haul. Harry averred that his best years running were when he was in his 50s. Many competitive runners peak too soon, train too continually, with no sense of the rhythm of rest and hard work. And many athletes foil great expectations by not developing the strong base of many miles needed to compete, and consequently burn out. Train smart: train for the long haul. And enjoy your runs!
We sang Harry a Happy Birthday, presented him a plaque to thank him for his support of the Club over the years, and then had him cut the cake. Harry had a great time. We can tell because he stuck around and talked to as many of us as he could.
Thanks to all for bringing is some great dishes. Thanks to Kathy, who has already volunteered to coordinate next year's picnic. No argument there! This one was great!
Album cover photo by Dave MengleAlbum photos by Marty Mazur and (as noted) Dave Mengle
Next Meeting: October 5.