Despite rain, 50K has another successful year

PUNXSUTAWNEY — Last Saturday, the Big Run VFW Post 9044 hosted 85 runners from nine different states for the 14th-annual Groundhog Fall 50K Trail Race, held throughout the Punxsutawney area.

50 kilometers, which is equivalent to 31 miles, is a long haul, but race organizer Bob Lott said that "Saturday's race went well, even with the rain we had for a large portion of the day. Runners seemed to like the rain. It was the aid station and finish-line workers that suffered through it."

This is the second consecutive year that the Big Run post hosted the race, and Lott — who is Post Quartermaster — cited three purposes for the organization's continued backing of the cause:

• to keep the race going, as many participants state that it is their favorite ultra-marathon

• to provide funds for the post to be involved in various community projects in the Punxsutawney area

• to provide an activity for younger VFW-eligible veterans to draw them to the post as prospective members.

Thirty-four runners were first-timers this year, and Lott added that many runners said this was their first ultra-marathon — any race longer than the standard 26.2-mile marathon — as well.

A total of 14 veterans received a $10 discount from their registration fee.

Pittsburgh native Kyle Kopidlansky was the overall champion for the race, crossing the line with a time of 4:37:32, and Aaron MacGray finished second in 4:49 flat.

Sarah Vanderelli was the top female performer, finishing third overall with a time of 4:52:48.

Full results from the race can be found at

Individuals with questions regarding the race or VFW membership are encouraged to contact Lott at 938-4589.

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