Strawberry Day 5K held in Clarks Summit


Chris Wickenheiser, 13, of Clarks Summit, is shown following the Dive in the Whip Cream for the Worm game organized by representatives of The Gathering Place.

Crowds gather near the finish line on June 20 to cheer for participants in the Strawberry Day 5K Run, One-Mile Walk and Kids’ Fun Run.

Frank Spear, second-place winner, with a time of 17:33.

Ed Shamus takes time after the race to ice his knee. His finish time was 33:58.

Overall winner Will Bennett with a time of 17:23.

Maddie Lucas, 12, and Claudia Kozar, 12, both of Clarks Summit, share laughs after the Dive in the Whip Cream for the Worm game.

CLARKS SUMMIT — Strawberry Day in Clarks Summit was a collaboration of the National Running Center and The Gathering Place. The running center is located on Davis Street and The GatheringPlace is a community, arts and education center located in the former Clarks Summit Fire Department on the first floor of the borough building.

The event, held June 20, included a 5K race and a 1-mile kids’ fun run, as well as other activities.

Will Bennett, 21, of Clarks Summit was the winner of the run. A member of the National Running Center racing team and one of approximately 100 beginner and expert runners who registered for the race, Bennett finished the 3.1 mile Clarks Summit Classic Course with a finish time of 17:23. A One-Mile Walk and a Kids’ Fun Run were also held in conjunction with the 5K, bringing the total number of participants in the combined events to 150.

“I felt good. I came here to have a fun time and I think Ashley (Shamus, race coordinator) put on a great event. It turned out to be a great race,” Bennett said following the race.

National Running Center employee Shamus said she organized the run because “Clarks Summit kept asking for a race so we worked together and made it happen.” She said she also enjoys participating in races.

A percentage of the proceeds from the event will benefit The Gathering Place. The revitalization of the former Clarks Summit Fire Department is expected to begin in late fall, noted Dori Waters, co-founder of The Gathering Place and Abington Area Community Classroom.

“Because Clarks Summit is such a unique community, we want people to stay in the community and support local businesses. The Gathering Place will be a place where we can all collectively come together and be creative and get to know one another and strengthen the bonds of the community in creative ways,” said Shamus.

The Strawberry Run was named to celebrate the start of strawberry season currently underway.

“Pallman Farms was so generous,” she said. “They donated strawberries, so we figured we’d run with the theme,” said Shamus. She said all age group winners received a quart of strawberries and the top two male and female runners won a handmade strawberry pie from Breads A-Plenty.

Following the race and kids’ run, only a block or so away from the finish line alongside the Clarks Summit Borough Building, the strawberry merriment continued as children of all ages participated in a variety of games. A balloon launch, Dive in the Whip Cream for the Worm, Write Your Name on a Strawberry and a Bean Bag Toss were among the activities planned by representatives of The Gathering Place. A homemade bake sale was also held with strawberries provided by Pallman Farms.

“We (the National Running Center and The Gathering Place) both wanted to start an event that could continue and grow in the future. We were happy for the partnership and are looking forward to next year. They (National Running Center) were willing to go out on a limb and invest in timer, shirts and other things without knowing if expenses would be covered so we were glad to work with them. Luckily, expenses were covered with a bit on the profit side,” said Anne Armezzani, of The Gathering Place, one of the event’s organizers.

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