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Writings On Running

Writings On Running

Here you'll find articles on running, hiking, biking, racing, and training by some of our members. If you'd like to submit an article, contact Marty Mazur at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Course Map: The Nittany Valley Marathon (1972-84)

Many of you remember the Mount Nittany Marathon, which was run in our area from 2013 to 2015. The Mount Nittany Conservancy put on the race, and the Nittany Valley Running Club provided advice and support. Marathons are hard to put on (and expensive) because of the logistics of setting up a course, providing directions, and adequate water stops, especially if the race is run in the summer as the Mt. Nittany was. Those were among the reasons that the race was only put on for 3 years.

What you may not know is that a long time ago, the area regularly held another marathon, the Nittany Valley Marathon. That race was run from about 1972 through 1984. The Nittany Valley Marathon was put on by the Nittany Valley Track Club, which is what the NVRC was called back then. The last running of the marathon in 1984 corresponded with the first running of the Nittany Valley Half-Marathon, which is still with us (and is one of the Club’s most successful races).

Read more: Course Map: The Nittany Valley Marathon (1972-84)

Musser Gap Trail Is Complete To Tussey Ridge

I led a group run up the Musser Gap trail on October 10. I had advertised the run as one that might entail some bushwhacking, particularly if we wanted to get all the way up to Tussey Ridge, the high ridge just south of the gapped ridge that Musser Run flows out of. The last time I ran to Tussey Ridge from Musser Gap, back in December, I’d made a nearly vertical assent because of almost non-existent trail marking. That was some tough, and treacherous, climbing, so if the group consensus was against that kind of adventure, we’d have just run in the sun along the power line cut in the saddle between the ridges.

But when we got to the log footbridge across Musser Run a mile up from the Rothrock parking lot on Rte 45, I noticed a brand new DCNR trail sign that wasn’t there even a couple of months ago. As we progressed through the gap, more new signs. And when we got to the power line cut, there was a new sign for a trail to Tussey Ridge. We decided to take the adventure. The trail to the ridge is, like most trails on the higher ground in Rothrock, pretty rocky. But it’s a trail, with enough switchbacks to greatly reduce the risk of teetering back and going ass-over-teakettle down the mountainside. The trail is pretty obvious in most places, and well blazed where it’s not. Getting to the ridgetop is strenuous, but not dangerous. The total climb from the lowest point on the run (the bridge across Slab Cabin Run on the greenway path near Rte. 45) to the top of Tussey Ridge is just under 1000 feet over 2 miles.

Read more: Musser Gap Trail Is Complete To Tussey Ridge

PA Biathlon Race Report

May 20, 2018

Yesterday, Tara Murray, Dean Capone, Brian Capone, and I, participated in a PA biathlon event in Nescopek, PA, which is about a 1hr 45 min drive from State College. As you know, it rained yesterday morning, and while the rain seemed to let up in State College, it continued to downpour in eastern PA the entire morning throughout the event.  

The biathlon was set up as follows:

  • 1 mile run
  • 25m shoot in prone (5 shots)
  • 1 mile run
  • 25m shoot in standing (5 shots)
  • 1 mile run

The run is a 1 mile out-and-back course, mostly flat, through a corn field, and you have to take a 70m penalty lap for each shot missed before heading back out for the next mile loop.

Read more: PA Biathlon Race Report

Sproul 10K Trail Race Report

Wait…isn’t that a trail race?  Break out your finest metal mug filled with instant coffee, throw another log on the campfire…and prepare yourself for another looooong winded email.

So a few of us roadies thought it would be fun to test our legs on some trails and see what it’s actually like, so that we have some clout to make fun of trailer runners instead of just picking on them for fun.  In talks with some of my trail running friends (or the ones that put up with me) it turned out that Sproul would be a great beginner trail race.  I wanted something runable rather than a rock climb, and also wanted something far enough away from marathon/fall season so that I’d have time to heal after I hurt myself since it seems every trail runner gets hurt every other time they run.

Sproul 10k course is a 3 mile climb follow by a 3.7mi descent.  Hold up…3 + 3.7 = 6.7.  Apparently math isn’t a strong suit of the trail people, because every 10k I’ve ever run is 6.2mi.  I guess this is more of an ultra 10k?  Or maybe since the times are so slow they can use the “oh that’s because its longer than a road 10k” excuse.  Eh..whatever.  I’m still going to run this thing.  So hearing about its grueling front half climb, I figured I’d used the weekly hill workouts as my Sproul training and I’ll be set to show these trail folks how to run their races.  I’d worn my road shoes out and needed a new pair, so I bought a pair of Patagonia trail/ultra shoes…to help me fit in on race day.  And for good measure I went to Shingletown gap once to run with the Thursday trail crew, to round out my Sproul training and hone my trail skills.

Read more: Sproul 10K Trail Race Report