LVAMC Hosts Veterans Day 5K Charity Run
BY DAVE STRASZ
LEBANON, PA--In an effort to recognize Veterans Day and raise funds for the Lebanon Country United Way, employees of the Lebanon Veterans Affairs Medical Center (LVAMC) organized a 5K race and One Mile Fun Run. The effort was spearheaded by Ted Clay, an LVAMC employee in the medical centers nursing-service department. On a short timeline, a mailing list was put together, race applications were sent, and details were posted on local running Web sites.
The race course, familiar to local runners, consisted of portions of LVAMCs campus and an adjacent park, which is also used for the VA Memorial 5K Run held annually in May.
The arrival of race day, November 8, 2008, also brought an occasional drizzle, 55-degree weather, and 66 runners. Prior to the 9 a.m. start of the race, all military veteran participants were recognized. It was an honor to have present veterans from all wars and conflicts from World War II to the OEF/OIF period, including Korea, Vietnam, and the Persian Gulf War. One veteran of special note is Mr. Al Booth, an 89-year-old WWII veteran and elite athlete. He finished the race with a time of 35:38. Mr. Booth reminded the organizers that next year a 90-and-up age group will be necessary. In addition to a presence of a WWII veteran, two Korean War veterans participated: Mr. Bob Horst and Mr. Jack Whitcomb.
Mr. Jim Smiley, 33, of Shermans Dale was the first male finisher with a time of 18:56. Ms. Madeline Noonan, 12, of Myerstown finished in 23:56. Ms. Noonan began her competitive running in May 2008 at the VA Memorial 5K Run finishing with a time of 25:26.
Oddly, there were no registrants in the 20-29 age group, male or female. Where were these fleet-of-foot, sub-20 minute runners?
Awards were presented in the form of trophies for the first overall finishers. Gold, silver, and bronze engraved medals were presented to the age-group winners. Each runner and fun runner received a certificate for their participation.
Postrace refreshments, both hot and cold, were provided for runners, family, and friends. Runners World magazine (Rodale Press) provided race-tag numbers and other handouts.
By 10:45 a.m., the organizers, volunteers, and participants were packing up to head home. The successful event raised $1,000 that will be a part of LVAMCs annual contribution to the Lebanon County United Way Drive.
Future events include:
1. Jim Smiley 18:56
1. Madeline Noonan 23:56