5K draws runners from area

By Meghan Finlayson

Staff Writer

The annual “Lewisburg Lights 5K,” a two-lap twilight race through the downtown Lewisburg area drew over 300 people, ranging in age from six to 65 years of age to help benefit the Lewisburg Area Recreation Authority (LARA).

The race was held last Friday, Sept. 30 in Hufnagle Park at 8 p.m.

The race, which started four years ago, is not a fundraiser, but benefits LARA’s mission is to provide a comprehensive, year-round, varied and stimulating recreation program with facilities and play areas for people of all ages. Other events they host include the LARA Triathalon for Kids and the LARA Sprint Triathalon.

This race was coordinated by Tara Michaels, who runs Fit for Funds, LLC, a group that organizes fitness-related fundraisers.

Runners began by going down Market Street, past the Campus Theatre, through the Union Church Cemetary and residential areas, and back to the Bucknell campus.

“We had racers as young as six all the way to 65, and many families register to do it. It was really neat to see all the people downtown converging on Hufnagle,” Michaels said.

People outside of Lewisburg came to support the event as well.

“There were groups from Elysburg, Shamokin and Mt Carmel. It is really neat to see how far away people are coming,” Michaels said.

“My family has been doing it now for four years. It’s a really great community event,” said Matt Bailey, the Howard I. Scott research professor of management.

Volunteers from the University field hockey team and the Lewisburg police lead off the race and controlled traffic.

“There was a great turnout and it was nice to see that so many people from the community came out to run,” Cassie Goggin ’14 said.

Despite Pennsylvania’s recent torrential downpours, the weather stayed clear for the event.

“This was the first year in the four years that we have been doing it that we haven’t had extreme weather conditions. It’s rained twice, and last year it was very hot. The conditions were just right,” Michaels said.

Each racer was given reflective stickers to wear during the race to ensure that they were visible in the dark.

“It’s different to run at night, but the atmosphere is always very supportive and fun,” said John Hunter, chair of the comparative humanities program.

Awards were given out to overall male and female racers, and top three in each age division. Mike Espinosa , who ran the 5K in under 17 minutes, came in first place for both the men’s division and overall competition. Tina Bailey came in first place for the women, running in under 21 minutes.

Runners were encouraged to enjoy the historical lights of Lewisburg and socialize with friends after the race. Specials were offered at participating downtown establishments. Some of these include DJ Sports, Brushstrokes Gallery, Bella Salon and Day Spa, Dwellings, the Mercantile, Purple Platypus and Barnes & Noble at Bucknell University. Most of these offered 10 to 20 percent discounts. Many downtown businesses stayed open until 9 p.m.

“After the race a lot of people go out to the bars and enjoy downtown so it’s also great for the city,” Bailey said.

“The combination of the time of the race, 8 p.m., the large number of participants and the after-race specials in the restaurants and shops make it unique” said Eric Tillman, associate professor of chemistry.

Fit for Funds plans to host the race again next year.

“This year was kind of a challenge because it was the same night as the Wiz Khalifa concert, and there was a Lewisburg High School football game. So a lot was going on downtown, but I think it will be even bigger next year,” Bailey said.

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