BCRR Winter Series has a longer run of popularity than The Lion King

Runners take part in last year's Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series. (From left) Peter Lederer, Joe Haughey, Stu Conard.

If you’re a runner, it just wouldn’t be winter without the Winter Series.

How could you face those cold, dreary days without a Sunday race – a dozen of them – and all the trimmings, namely: Food, fun and friends.

So, here in early November, anticipation has already started for this year’s Bucks County Roadrunners Winter Series, which has a longer run (40-plus years) in Tyler State Park than The Lion King on Broadway.

Race director John O’Brien expects the usual hundreds of runners to take part in the WS.

If last year’s WS is any indication of the continued popularity of the club’s crown jewel, everything is in good shape.

O’Brien remembers seeing more than 100 runners show up one Sunday when the temperature at the starting time/line was below zero degrees.

That’s either impressive or insane.

BCRR had to convert the race to an informal run because volunteers weren’t allowed on the course due to the threat of frostbite.

“The food volunteers came out in shifts,’’ O’Brien recalls with a chuckle. “That’s a job you need to have your fingers for.

“We have a lot of diehard runners who are just going to get out there and hang out. Part of it is sharing your craziness. It’s a good time to see friends, regardless of the weather.’’

Here’s the 2018-19 Winter Series schedule (all races begin at 9 a.m. except Cham-Pain, which begins at 11 a.m.):

>Sunday, Dec. 9: Informal Run.

>Sunday, Dec. 16: Covered Bridge 5K.

>Sunday, Dec. 23: Jingle Bell 5.3-Miler.

>Tuesday, Jan. 1: Cham-Pain 5K (11 a.m.).

>Sunday, Jan. 6: Wild Card (4-6 Miles).

>Sunday, Jan. 13: Tyler Challenge 10K.

>Sunday, Jan. 20: Polar Bear 8-Miler.

>Sunday, Jan. 27: Honest Abe 4.6-Miler.

>Sunday, Feb. 3: Terrible Tyler 15K.

>Sunday, Feb. 10: Pick Your Way 5.3-Miler.

>Sunday, Feb. 17: Half-Marathon 13.1-Miler.

>Sunday, Feb. 24: Staggered Start 4.6-Miler.

“The Winter Series is not only the best value for your money – you get races, food, real bathrooms – but it’s probably the best thing about winter,’’ says former Winter Series director Janet Lewis.  “It’s a great way to motivate during the winter months to get out and do your runs, push yourself a little bit and be ready for spring racing.

“I love that this series of races has grown from a couple dozen of runners each week to now drawing over 300 for the biggest races – all without losing much of what makes the Winter Series so special – the great people.’’

Long-time BCRR member Bill Schaffling says BCRR is aware that Tyler is a state park and the non-running public should not be inconvenienced by race activity.

“We have adapted to the requests of the park in terms of the starting time from 9:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. for most of the races and 11  a.m. instead of 12 noon for the New Year’s Day race. This way we are done and cleaning up before noon.  Some races we moved the course off the road coming into the park because of traffic and danger to the runners.

“With the size of the races where we have to be conscious of the other people who are using the park we accommodate them by not using all the parking spots near the boathouse. We remind everyone to be careful of the other users of the park.’’

Best wishes for a great Winter Series.

CCCNYC Meet a big success

This past Sunday offered almost perfect running conditions, with the temperature in the mid-50s, low humidity, almost no wind and brilliant sunshine.

All this was enjoyed by some 750 young runners at the CCCNYC East Regional Meet at Tyler State Park.

Many of these runners were attempting to qualify for the CCCNYC Nationals in Louisville, Kentucky on Nov. 17.

Ambler Olympic Club was the host club with assistance from BCRR.

“We had a great meet,’’ race director Michael Gross said. “AOC has been working with some of the best youth athletes since 1966 and has had Olympians run for them such as 1988 silver medalist in the 800 meters, Kim Gallagher.’’

Meets like this seem to bring out the best in young runners.

“It was an exciting day for sure,’’ Gross said.

“There was some tough competition between the best of the Philadelphia Express Cross Country League and the best of Philadelphia CYO Cross Country, along with teams from outside the area like the Seashore Striders from Delaware and the Fort Washington Knights from Maryland.’’


Race calendar


Bucks County Half-Marathon, Washington Crossing. Contact www.runbucks.com

Langhorne American Legion Veterans’ Day 5K, Langhorne. Contact www.runsignup.com


Eighth annual Bucks County Marathon and 5K, Washington Crossing. Contact www.runbucks.com

People & Paws for a Worthy Cause 5K, Richboro. Contact www.runsignup.com

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About Wayne Fish 2437 Articles
Wayne Fish has been covering the Flyers since 1976, a stint which includes 18 Stanley Cup Finals, four Winter Olympics and numerous other international events.

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