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On your mark, get set, go! 14th-annual 50K Saturday

September 6, 2012

In this photo, taken during last year’s 13th-annual Groundhog Fall 50K, race winner Vince Rucci of Stow, Ohio, crosses the finish line in 4:09:22, as the clock on the right indicates. Due to family obligations, Rucci will not be defending his crown in Saturday’s 14th-annual event. After winning the race the past three years, Rucci’s title will be claimed by another this year. (Photo submitted)

PUNXSUTAWNEY — While runners can often be seen trekking the streets of Punxsutawney, this weekend will bring a special, additional group of runners to the town, as the 14th-annual Groundhog Fall 50K is slated to begin early Saturday morning.

For the second consecutive year, the race is being hosted by the Big Run VFW Post 9044, and the event is directed by post quartermaster Bob Lott.

One advantage of hosting the race in Punxsutawney, Lott said, is that it does bring in an out-of-town crowd and generates some revenue in the town.

"Typically, 90 percent of our runners come from outside of the Punxsy area, and 40 percent of them come from out of state," Lott said. "The race brings a considerable amount of money into the town."

Lott added that Post 9044 is still seeking sponsors for the race if anyone is interested, adding that proceeds from the race will be used for community service projects within the community.

Last year, the race was a wet one, as torrential downpours flooded parts of the course, making for an interesting trek with some stream crossings that are usually dry swelling to waist deep.

Lott said that while some fun can be had in the deep waters, many of the runners are hoping for better weather this year.

Anyone with questions concerning the event can contact Lott at 938-4589.

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