Race Street Run: A Race Well Worth the Drive.

BY PAUL ISAAC

JIM THORPE, PA--Some runners are creatures of habit and prefer the attraction of neighborly events like the popular Good Neighbor Races held in Downingtown’s Kerr Park on our nation’s Independence Day. Other athletic folks like yours truly go by the maxim, “variety is the spice of life” and prefer off-the-beaten-path events on occasion. Jim Thorpe’s annual Race Street Run 15K fits that description to a T.

In preparation for an alluring event such as this, I made a smart move and pre-registered for the very modest sum of $15--$1/K so to speak. Being a man of somewhat modest means, I decided to save money and spend the night at my folks’ farmhouse nestled outside of Quakertown. After a restless night I then had to overcome the fact that I locked my keys in my car. I decided to “grit my teeth” and say to myself there’s No Way I was not going to make the drive up the two PA Turnpike exits north through the Lehigh Tunnel I drove through some 20 years ago when I went to Wilkes University in Wilkes-Barre.

Once again, I was focused on getting my Saturn into majestic Jim Thorpe ASAP. I was deterred in a town just before it that turned out to be Lehighton where two guys had “no clue” where the race was. Once again, I high-tailed up those nasty hills that beacon you to the summit of historic Jim Thorpe.

Still worried about arriving on time, as soon as I parked, I asked the first runners with their bibs where the registration area was. They directed me to a small room hidden away on the other side of the street. So I was still able to meet the friendly folks who where eager to give me my race packet.

Then after hearing the finial race instructions, reality set in. A friendly group of Pavement Pounders lined up next to the church waiting for the gun to go off. After it went off, we headed up some unforgiving hills better suited for mountain goats. This torture lasted for a mile and a half until it leveled out into some real nice trails. The first section was traditional trail terrain. But after a few miles of dodging rocks, and almost literally falling flat on my face after tripping on one, the trail turned in to grass. This was a pleasant surprise!!

Then after a four-mile turnaround point and another two miles added to it, the real fun started. We were finally treated to a great race finish back into town that was down hill. After running a controlled race, I had enough left to glide down the descent to the finish.

I clocked 1:39:07 for this Independence Day classic. Nothing to write home about, except that the lore of this event is clearly a bigger part of this race. So fellow Pavement Pounders, please mark this event on your calendar for next year. You’ll be happy you did, and so will the fine folks from Jim Thorpe.

Four miles

MALE

1. Matt Mazur 23:21
2. Chris Monahan 24:48
3. Mikael Kause 24:52

FEMALE

1. Amber Grello 30:04
2. Regina Mawzick 30:39
3. Sue Wright 30:53

15K

MALE

1. Kevin Cunningham 52:30
2. Debbie McLaughlin 52:32
3. Craig Neiman 57:56

FEMALE

1. Chris Reiber 1:07:15
2. Debbie McLaughlin 1:08:37
3. Amber Bennick 1:08:57