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