‘Robert Goulet’ Makes Rare Race Appearance
at First Night State College

BY DAVE EGGLER

STATE COLLEGE, PA--One of the stories for the 8th Annual First Night State College 5K Resolution Run, held December 31, 2004, was that for the second year in a row, warm weather greeted participants--warm, dry, windless weather. How warm was it? I was out working in the chute during, and after, the race, comfortably wearing my long sleeved T-shirt. Another story was the number of runners. Phil Walz, the outgoing chief executive of Arts Festival and First Night, asked Tom Cali and I what we predicted for total registrants. That was on the 30th. We both said 500. At 6:18 on race night we registered #500, and before we had to dash off to start the race we were up to 508, a new record. All those people had many support troops, apparently. The crowd at the starting line was huge. Well, huge for State College. And large at the finish line also.

Chris Foster of Severna Park, MD, a recent Penn State runner, ran under the nom de pied “Robert Goulet” of “Beverly Hills, CA.” “Bobby” must have hearkened back to his Camelot days because he ran 15:24, just a few seconds off the course record set by Gavin Gaynor back in 1997. Ben Niebel, a current PSU runner, was second, and Larz Selmer-Larsen, a past First Night winner, was third. The coach of Chris and Ben, legendary track icon Harry Groves, made a rare racing appearance, taking his age-group award.

Katherine Ward, a State College High cross-country star, won the women’s race. Evelynn Ellis was second. Evelynn’s very young daughter also finished. Men’s Masters division winner Tom Cali and runner-up Gary Ishler are past the usual 40-44 bracket that takes the trophies. However, Tom, the co-founder of this race, is running incredibly well at 50 at distances from the mile to the marathon. Paula Huntsman from Fly Creek, NY took the women’s Masters. Bellefonte XC coach Kim Gasper was second.

As usual, many runners wore costumes in the spirit of New Year’s. It was appropriate that the best costume trophy went to Father Time and Baby New Year, Mike and Dave Gorman of Flinton.

A race this large and short needs a small army of volunteers. Nittany Valley Running Club doesn’t have an army, but gathered a platoon that sufficed. Thanks to Greg Fredericks, Dean McHenry, John Sheakoski, and Dave Chavez in the chute; Sandy Niebel, Jayson Jackson, Carol and Steve Gentry, Judy Woods, Melissa Chavez, and Betsey and Willis Eggler out on the course; and Morgan Wasikonis, Mark Fedkin, Tom, Marvin Hall, Boyd Brumbaugh, and Melissa and Dave at registration. Melissa and Dave also helped the Egglers clean up!

MALE

Overall

1. Chris Foster 15:24
2. Benjamin Niebel 15:59
3. Larz Selmer-Larsen 16:06

Masters

1. Tom Cali 17:52
2. Gary Ishler 18:20

FEMALE

Overall

1. Katherine Ward 19:59
2. Evelynn Ellis 20:13
3. Meira Minard 20:38

Masters

1. Paula Huntsman 21:45
2. Kim Gasper 22:14