ASHLEIGH WETZEL CHARGES THE FINISH LINE TO REPEAT
AS THE WOMEN’S CHAMP (18:26).
CHRISTY BOWMAN PHOTO

A Slice of American Pie at Mifflinburg
Wetzel, Spooner Repeat

BY FREDDI CARLIP

MIFFLINBURG, PA--Although it was July 5, the festive 4th of July atmosphere prevailed at the 21st Annual Mifflinburg 5K. This event is part of Mifflinburg’s holiday activities. Not only do the runners have the opportunity to run a very challenging course in very hot weather, they also have the chance to participate in the tennis or quoit and horseshoe tournament, listen to music, have some great food--including a Kiwanis chicken BBQ later in the day--cool off in the community pool as part of their race entry, watch the kids’ races, the Pet Parade, and soak up some fine small-town fun.

This challenging 5K is the largest road race in the area. It’s got a killer hill midway through, the heat and humidity are set on high, and yet runners flock to Mifflinburg for its 4th of July race every year. There are corporate teams to add to the competitive spirit, families set to spend the day at the town park, serious runners of all ages, and people whose racing consists of one race a year…and this is it.

The race was conceived by Mifflinburg’s former mayor, the late Tom Muchler. Tom was an avid runner whose civic pride and enthusiasm were contagious. Tom’s legacy lives on under the able leadership of Race Director Don Bowman with his team of energetic volunteers. Age-group awards are a source of pride to the committee. No typical medals or trophies at this race; each year, creative awards take center stage, from blankets to pottery mugs, to insulated bags; all custom-designed for the occasion.

The 21st running of the Mifflinburg 5K saw repeat winners as the top spots were taken by 2003 champs Ashleigh Wetzel and Chris Spooner, both Lewisburg High School track standouts. Wetzel attends Vanderbilt University and Spooner is a freshman at Duke.

 

CHRIS SPOONER, WINNER OF THE
MIFFLINBURG 5K IN 15:44.
CHRISTY BOWMAN PHOTO
Wetzel finished 15th overall in 18:26 to take distaff honors. Spooner, Lewisburg’s local hero, who ran to victory in the high-school boys mile at the Penn Relays, took top honors in 15:44. Both runners received the Tom Muchler Memorial award for their first place finishes.

Spooner took the lead and never looked back, finishing 54 seconds ahead of second place finisher Kip Hoffman of Watsontown.

Evangelical Community Hospital, Lewisburg, was the top team in the Corporate Games division.

Residents provided hoses and extra water along the course, in addition to cheers. The spectators’ cheers at the top of the grueling hill were especially welcome. As runners crested the hill, they knew the best was yet to come--a nice downhill, running through a covered bridge, and then on to the finish, where water, food, music, and the pool awaited.

I have it on good authority that a certain Long Island runner couldn’t decide what was the most fun--the race, the pool, or the Pet Parade. His taste of “American Pie” made him eager for next year’s slice.

 

TEAM EVANGELICAL COMMUNITY HOSPITAL,
WINNERS OF THE CORPORATE GAMES DIVISION.
CHRISTY BOWMAN PHOTO
Me, too.