Friday, May 11, 2018


Following is my column, written for the Republican Herald newspaper, published on May 11.

Among the 3,500 runners who ran the Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K on April 21 was Wayne Parfitt, a resident of Newport News, Virginia, and a 1983 graduate of Pottsville Area High School.
A distinguished cross country and track runner at Pottsville, Parfitt was a member of the 1982 cross country team that defeated the nearly invincible Blue Mountain team of harriers, snapping the Eagles’ remarkable streak of 144 consecutive dual-meet victories. He was invited by a group of Berks County runners to join their Junior Olympics team. That team went on the win the National Junior Olympics team title in 1982.

After graduation and before pursuing his higher education, Parfitt concentrated on running marathons. He ran his first marathon in Philadelphia at the age of 18, and a year later he returned to Philadelphia to turn in an incredible time of 2:31:09, earning him the No. 1 ranking in the country for marathon runners ages 19 and under.

Parfitt went on to run for Williamsport Area Community College. He ran for one year and became the state champion among Pennsylvania community college runners.

In 1986, Wayne Parfitt officially retired from running and competition.
Due to obligations associated with raising a family and pursuing a career, Parfitt “paused’’ his running pursuits, not for a year or two, but for 30 years.

When he returned to competition, he did so with a vengeance. In 2014, at age 49, he ran the Richmond Marathon in a time of 2:56. After an absence of 32 years, he returned to the Boston Marathon in 2016, and at age 52, he has achieved a personal age-group marathon time of 2:54:09, ranking him as one of the top over-50 marathon runners in the country.

At the Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K, Wayne made the 6½-hour drive from Virginia to run in his hometown for the first time since 1983. It was as if he just released the pause button. Parfitt won his age division, clocking a time of 19:28, placing 10th overall in the massive field of runners.
Wayne Parfitt quit running because, according to him, “It wasn’t fun anymore.” Today, his passion for the sport has returned, and the reason, as he states, is simple. “I found the fun again.”

Tuesday, April 3, 2018


In less than three weeks, 3,500 runners will line Mahantongo Street for the 6th annual running of the Yuengling Light Lager 5K race Saturday, April 21.

As it has done with its beers, America’s oldest brewery has brewed a winning formula, hosting the largest 5K race in eastern Pennsylvania.

When registration opens for the Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K in October, the maximum capacity of runners is reached within about a week.

Runners enjoy the challenging race course that starts and finishes at America’s oldest brewery, the post-race block party, their Yuengling Light Lager Jogger-branded pint glass, official race T-shirt, the two free Yuengling Light Lagers for those age 21 and over, a chance to visit the Yuengling gift shop, and the opportunity to have their picture taken with company president, Dick Yuengling, who has attained rock star status among runners.

In addition, a portion of each participant’s entry fee is donated to Operation Gratitude, which annually sends more than 150,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to new recruits, veterans, first responders, wounded warriors, care givers and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas.

The family of the oldest brewery in America has long been vested in the running community.
It has been my privilege to know Dick Yuengling since he was my Little League baseball coach many years ago. Back in the ’90s, when I was running races in southeast Florida, he graciously offered for me to stay at his condo near Fort Lauderdale, and I gratefully accepted.

Dick’s daughter, Jennifer, the sixth generation of Yuengling brewers, serves as vice president of operations for the Yuengling Brewery.

An excellent softball player at Pottsville High and Bucknell University, Jennifer took up running a few years ago and has now become an avid runner. She has run race distances from 8 kilometers to the half marathon. Although a full marathon may be in her future, running now serves as a stress release from raising a family as well as running a Fortune 500 company.

Approximately 15 years ago, with the help of one of their beer distributors near Tidewater, Virginia, Yuengling teamed up with the very popular Virginia Beach Marathon.

Today, the race is known as the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, an entire weekend of running events that features an 8K, half marathon and a full 26.2-mile marathon. The weekend attracts more than 27,000 runners.

This year, the participants became the first to try Yuengling’s new product, Golden Pilsner, a delicious new brew that Jennifer Yuengling describes as a “lifestyle beer.” When talking about the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon she notes, “We’re not the biggest brewery, and it’s not the biggest race.”

But if you drink the beer and run the race, you’ll agree that quality beats quantity in both brewing beer and hosting a race.

Yuengling beer and running doesn’t end there.

Monday, registration opened for the 5th annual Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk, which will accompany the Oktoberfest festivities at ArtsQuest Center on SteelStacks Campus in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

The city of Pottsville has benefitted immensely from the presence of the Yuengling Brewery, and with 3,500 runners and their families descending upon the city, hotels, restaurants and business will see an increase in traffic on race weekend. Roma Pizza will offer specials to the runners, and The Wheel restaurant will feature post-race live entertainment.

Yuengling has helped put Pottsville on the map for beer-lovers, and runners as well.

Sunday, January 28, 2018


Having suffered a complete hamstring tear in 2013, a mere three weeks after a successful effort at the Boston Marathon, my cascading injury cycle shifted to my left knee, probably a result of favoring a permanently weakened hamstring.

Meniscus surgery followed in 2015, and today, running as well as walking, is accompanied by pain, brought on by the onset of arthritis.

Physical therapy, hyaluronic acid injections, and an array of over-the counter topical ointments have failed to offer pain relief.

A few weeks ago, an Australian company, Athletes Gel,, asked me to try their topical gel. Athletes Gel is all-natural ointment, which uses wintergreen, capsaicin, arnica, and clove. I’ve researched all of these anti-inflammatory medicines, and this product blends them together perfectly.  It smells great, dries fast, is non-greasy, water proof, does not stain, reduces inflammation quickly and activates pain relief minutes after applying directly to the skin.

I was using a popular brand-name capsaicin product on my knee when my sample of Athletes Gel arrived. The next day I applied Athletes Gel to my feeble knee, and the results were truly remarkable.

Athletes Gel seems to work instantly, and in addition to the pain reduction, it increased the flexibility in my knee.

I am rationing my sample until Athletes Gel hits the market on March 25.

If you suffer from pain or soreness from working out, from arthritis, or from every day overuse of muscles, I highly recommend Athletes Gel. Athletes Gel will help any athlete suffering from sprains, strains, external bruising and conditions relating to muscle fatigue, minor sports injuries and pain.

You’re going to be hearing more about this product in the coming weeks, as you will be hearing more from me. Thanks to Athletes Gel, I am able to run pain-free, thus my distance and frequency of workouts will increase.

Give Athletes Gel a try. You won’t be disappointed.

Visit them at:

Wednesday, January 3, 2018


A New Year has arrived, and for some, getting in shape or improving one’s physical fitness may be on this year’s resolution list.
Recent Arctic cold along with snow and icy conditions make outdoor running both difficult and dangerous.
Whether you are a beginning runner or an experienced one, treadmill training is an excellent alternative to outdoor running.
The newest generation of treadmills allows one to select virtually any type of workout. One can climb mountains or choose a workout that simulates running on the beach. You can run or walk, and you may select a pace that allows you to challenge yourself or a pace that is light and easy.
In order to adequately simulate outdoor conditions, it is advisable to place the treadmill setting on at least a 1 percent grade. A steeper grade, of course, will provide a more challenging workout.
Select a specific amount of time, or a prescribed distance you would like to run. Choose a pace with which you are comfortable, and you are ready to begin.
If you’re brand new to treadmill running, do not hesitate to clutch the side bars as you begin your workout. You may want to begin at a very slow pace, and increase it as you gain your balance. After a few minutes you should be accustomed to the treadmill belt, and you will be able to run safely and comfortably.
Many runners complain about the monotony and boredom of treadmill running, but that problem can be easily addressed. A lot of today’s treadmills synchronize you with television, a movie, or you can use your phone to listen to your own running playlist. Another technique is to use a towel to cover up the display screen, so as not to read the time and distance as frequently.
Some treadmill programs automatically vary your workout, by alternating speeds and elevation. If not, however, you can increase your speed, and create a type of ‘‘interval’’ session, where you run fast for a certain amount of time, followed by a slow period, then back to a fast interval.
Try to run as relaxed and naturally on the treadmill as you do when you run outdoors. Keep in mind that you may experience muscle soreness, aches and pains that you do not normally feel with outdoor running. This is natural, as you are employing different muscle groups for balance on the treadmill.
Running produces an incredible amount of body heat. Most novice runners tend to wear too many layers of clothing when they run outdoors during the winter. You will produce a lot of sweat when you run on the treadmill. The environment should be cool, and a fan of some type is also advisable. At the conclusion of the workout, drink plenty of water in order to avoid dehydration, and always keep a towel handy.
Treadmill running may require a short period of adjustment, but once that has passed, it can be both enjoyable and beneficial. Treacherous outdoor winter conditions may diminish your workout or cause injury. On the treadmill, you can map out your workout so that wind, ice, or even a chase by a stray dog cannot deter you.
Simply, with proper preparation, you can beat Mother Nature and make treadmill running work for you.

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Following is a column I wrote, which was published today in the Republican Herald newspaper.

While some college students were spending their final days of summer vacation at the beach, Pottsville’s Paige Stoner, a senior cross country runner at Syracuse University, spent her August mornings and afternoons grinding out 70-mile weeks.
On the weekends she would toss in her weekly long run, a distance of 18 miles, in preparation for a season of high expectations.
After a successful track season, in which she placed 15th in the steeplechase at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Oregon, for her 2017 cross country season, Stoner and her coaches, Chris Fox and Brian Bell, had mapped out an aggressive training plan that they hoped would maximize her extraordinary running skills.
Her season began with an invitational meet at Penn State. Still logging long, intense miles during the building block phase of her training, she placed second at the 6K distance.
Building speed and strength for races against the best runners in the country centered around workouts on Sweet Road, a challenging incline near the Syracuse campus. A typical workout would consist of a 4 to 5 mile run, with four minutes of hard running, followed by a short rest before beginning another four-minute interval. As the sessions neared their end, Coach Fox instructed Stoner to run at all-out race pace for the final four minutes.
Stoner’s next meet was held in Boston where she placed 24th, in a race that included many of the runners she would face at nationals.
On Oct. 28, Stoner ran the Atlantic Coast Conference championship meet in Louisville, Kentucky.
Her coach instructed her to, “Be patient, hang with the leaders, and don’t make a move until you have about 800 meters to go.”
She ran most of the race in a pack with four North Carolina State runners and a runner from Louisville. At the 4K mark, the race came down to Stoner and her Louisville adversary. With 300 meters to go, the Louisville runner surged into the lead, but Stoner responded, passing her with 100 meters to go and winning the ACC cross country championship with an extraordinary time of 19:52 on the 6K course. She finished a mere three seconds ahead of her opponent.
At the Northeast Regionals, held in Buffalo, New York, Stoner braved 20-degree temperatures and 30-mile-per-hour winds to place second and qualify for nationals.
A week later at the NCAA Championships held in Louisville, Kentucky, Paige Stoner, from Pottsville, Pennsylvania, faced the best collegiate runners in the nation and placed 17th, earning All-America honors.
Stoner is an exceptional runner and an excellent student. More than that, she is a humble young lady who, when asked what advice she would give to young runners who want to run like Paige Stoner, replied, “Don’t overdo it in high school. Run 30 to 35 miles a week, and keep it fun. Do other things. Swim and play Frisbee.”
We haven’t heard the last of Stoner. Track season is coming up in 2018, and she has another year of track eligibility in 2019.
Oh, and the next Summer Olympic Games will be held in 2020.

Saturday, November 4, 2017


It was one year in the making.
At Norlo Park, near Chambersburg, the site of the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship meet on the last weekend of October 2016, Penn State Schuylkill’s women’s cross country team boarded the team bus with bitter disappointment. Much was within their grasp, but they left the race empty-handed.
Schuylkill’s top runner, freshman Alexis Luna, a Shenandoah Valley graduate, valiantly challenged the league’s top runner, Scranton’s Alicia Kasson, before falling short over the last half-mile to lose the race by a 5-second margin.
As a team, Schuylkill’s women fell to Mont Alto by a mere three points.
After avenging both defeats at the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championship in Virginia Beach, Virginia, two weeks later, Luna and teammates Casey Gregory and Justice Demitro vowed to exact revenge in the 2017 season.
They began their quest in early July by getting together for informal training sessions. Then, in early August, Luna texted me with an announcement that her friend and two-time PIAA Cross Country Championships qualifier Carly Teaschenko of Shenandoah Valley would be joining the team.
In addition, the team bolstered its talent by adding two local freshmen: Jennie Li from North Schuylkill and Kristen Lowe, a Minersville graduate.
The team went undefeated in PSUAC meets throughout the season, and Luna led the squad in all but one race. At the Brandywine Invitational, as she and Teaschenko paced each other, Luna announced that she, “Just didn’t have it” that day, and Teaschenko took the honors.
As the season went on, Luna earned the PSUAC Runner of the Week honor three times and Teaschenko won the award once.
Last Saturday, in the rematch at Norlo Park for the 2017 PSUAC championship, a year of hard work and determination paid off.
Luna capped a magnificent season by winning the race, with Teaschenko placing second, only six seconds behind. Throughout the race, the two teammates and friends paced each other, leaving the competition behind.
Sophomore Casey Gregory ran her fastest time of the year, placing seventh and earning first-team All-Conference honors along with Luna and Teaschenko. Team captain Justice Demitro ran her fastest 6K ever and placed 11th, while Li finished 14th. They both earned second-team All-PSUAC honors. Lowe captured 16th place.
Penn State Schuylkill won the team title and avenged last year’s narrow defeat. This is the first team in Penn State Schuylkill’s history to win a PSUAC cross country championship.
The conference champions will now compete against more than 50 teams from small colleges across the country at the USCAA National Championships in Virginia Beach on Nov. 10. Last year Penn State Schuylkill placed 16th. The Lions are aiming for a top-10 finish this year.
Stoner wins ACC
Speaking of champions, Pottsville Area’s Paige Stoner is the 2017 Atlantic Coast Conference cross country champion.
Running for Syracuse University, Stoner won the conference championship last Friday, covering the 6-kilometer course in a sizzling time of 19:52. Congratulations to Paige on this remarkable championship run.
(Muldowney is an avid runner and head coach of the Penn State Schuylkill cross country teams)

Sunday, September 3, 2017


Following is my monthly running article, published in the Republican Herald newspaper.
The 2017 edition of Penn State Schuylkill’s men’s and women’s cross country teams is home grown.
Beginning my 11th year of coaching the collegiate harriers at the Schuylkill Haven campus, my veteran team features alumni from several of our local high schools.
It hasn’t always been that way.
Many of my previous teams contained local runners, but often they were mixed with student-athletes from Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., and New York City.
After a dual victory at the Penn State Worthington Scranton Invitational last October, Schuylkill’s men’s and women’s teams earned a berth in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association National Championships, held in Virginia Beach, Virginia. There, Schuylkill’s women’s team bested all the Penn State University Athletic Conference squads, earning an eighth-place overall finish.
The women’s team was led by freshman Alexis Luna, a Shenandoah Valley graduate. At the PSUAC meet, Luna placed second, narrowly missing a state championship by a scant two seconds. She returns as a sophomore, seeking to improve on last year’s finish.
Also returning to the team as a sophomore is Pottsville’s Casey Gregory. Gregory joined the team during the middle of last season, and emerged as a formidable runner.
At Shenandoah Valley, Carly Teaschenko punched several tickets to the PIAA Cross Country Championships. A good friend and former teammate of Luna, Teaschenko promises to be one of the conference’s top runners.
Justice Demitro, from Pottsville, is a senior and is the captain of the women’s team. Her leadership and dedication is an inspiration to the rest of the squad.
Jennie Li is a freshman runner from North Schuylkill. Her running skills will add to the depth of the women’s team.
Another newcomer is Kira Reedy from Pottsville. Kira is currently a Penn State student who is training for the United States Marine Corps.
Nico Granito, a junior and a Blue Mountain graduate, is the captain of the men’s team. Joining him is another Blue Mountain graduate and former 400 and 800-meter standout, Tristan Dickey.
Nativity cross country and track is represented by sophomore Brett Rushannon.
Another veteran of last year’s squad, Josh White, is not only a cross country runner, he is also a member of Schuylkill’s basketball team.
Ian McGowan and David Chesakis are freshmen newcomers. McGowan ran track and cross country at Schuylkill Haven. Chesakis participated on both the cross country and soccer teams. They will join a member of last year’s team, Matthew Renninger, another Schuylkill Haven graduate.
Vincent May, from Gordon, is the “veteran” of the team. May served honorably in the U.S. Army, and is running as a sophomore this year.
Rounding out the squad are Pottsville’s Jake Kerby, and wrestler/runner Vraj Patel.
The Schuylkill League has produced many excellent runners who are, in the fine tradition of the Coal Region, admired for their hard work and dedication. Former Moravian College cross country coach Mark Will-Weber once told me he enjoys coaching runners from our region because, “They always give you an honest day’s work.”
My 2016 team worked hard, and this year, both the men and the women have but one goal — a PSUAC state championship team title.
If they accomplish that goal, it will have been achieved with home-grown talent.
(Muldowney is an avid runner and the head coach of the Penn State Schuylkill cross country teams)