It’s a Good Day for a Race!
360 runners, walkers participate in 2018 Kutztown Fools Run
The Kutztown Optimist Club welcomed 360 runners and walkers to the 28th running of the Kutztown Fools Run, which starts and finishes on College Blvd. in front of the Kutztown Fairgrounds, on March 24.
“It gives people no reason at all to run,” laughed Kutztown Optimist Club President Don Hickman before the race. “It’s good to start spring off, running. This here is a good fundraiser for us. We use this to give away 10 scholarships to go out to youth out of four school districts that will be going to Kutztown University. That’s our main objective, that and have fun.”
Hickman enjoys the opportunity to interact with the runners.
“It’s spring. People are glad to just get out and about. Just about everybody has a smile so it’s a fun event,” said Hickman.
The Fool’s Run offers the Sally Miksiewicz Memorial 5k and the Bob Focht 10 mile race for runners to challenge themselves on the roads surrounding Kutztown. In addition, walkers can go on the Optimist Club of Kutztown 2 mile walk.
Top runners for the 10 mile race were 1st Male Overall Mike Carriglito with a time of 1:00:39 and 1st Female Overall Dee Koutsourais of Mohnton with a time of 1:06:11. First Male Masters was Evan Sandt of Conestoga with time of 1:03:24 and 1st Female Masters was Kathy West with a time of 1:10:23. The Youngest was Devin Keiter, 14, and Oldest was Edward Leydon of New Hope, 73.
Top runners for the 5K were 1st Male Overall Brock Kline of Bernville with a time of 19:39 and 1st Female Overall Bethany Hix of Birdsboro with a time of 23:46. First Male Master was Adalberto Torres of Allentown with a time of 20:02 and 1st Female Master was Jen Shubzda of Emmaus with a time of 24:26. Youngest runner was Amy Montanye, 7, of Lenhartsville and oldest was Robert McDonald, 80, from Stroudsburg.
Runner Barry Mertz, 61, from Maxatawny and his family ran in the Fools Run. They participate nearly every year. This year, Barry ran in the 5K but he has run in the 10 mile in the past.
“It’s early in the year. It gets you off the sofa and gets you out here and start training,” said Mertz. “From now on, I’ll just continue running through the year. This kicks off the season.”
Mertz said the Fools Run is a great race, which includes hot soup and snacks afterwards.
“Look at all of the Kutztownians here. You know half the people here,” said Mertz. “It’s a good time had by all. See all of the people you haven’t seen since it started snowing in December.”
Mertz knew Donald Peters, who the scholarship fund was named after, and he knew Sally Miksiewicz who the 5k was named after.
“It’s a great thing and raise some money for the students,” said Mertz. “Race director Don Sechler does a great job here. It’s one of the best run races all year long.”
Kutztown Optimist Club Fools Run race director Don Sechler said the number of participants this year is lower in comparison to previous years, noting they have had as high as 450 runners in 2017. Sechler believes the Fools Run brings the community together.
“We have people who probably wouldn’t see each other. They come here and renew their friendships with other people from outside our community. That’s a good thing. That shows the friendliness of Kutztown,” said Sechler. “It’s such a nice day, it’s hard not to smile. It’s a good day for the runners.”
Proceeds from the run benefit the Donald Peters Memorial scholarship fund, which awards scholarships to graduating seniors of Kutztown, Brandywine Heights, Hamburg and Fleetwood school districts that are planning on attending Kutztown University.
“The money raised stays here in Kutztown and is used for educating our youth,” said Sechler.
The Optimist Club has been able to provide $1,000 scholarships to two seniors from each of the four school districts for a total of more than $250,000 given since the inception of the Run. Also there is a $1,000 scholarship to the Kutztown University Football team scholarship fund for their continued support of volunteering on the running routes of the Fools Run.
The funding for the scholarships comes from many sources including business sponsors, race entry fees for runners, and donations from individuals and organizations.
Next year’s Fools Run is scheduled to be held on March 30, 2019.
For more information, visit www.kutztownfoolsrun.com.
Barry Mertz, 61, of Maxatawny, far right, and his family participate nearly every year in the Kutztown Fools Run.
The 2018 Kutztown Fools Run 5k Youngest runner was Amy Montanye, 7, of Lenhartsville.