Sunday, November 6, 2016

Race Photos!

Photos by Jason Harrell are in!

Also in case you missed an earlier post - Mike McNeil's pics are here…

Last year's photos by Jason Harrell are HERE

I love taking photos, although am a total noob. I really appreciate the effort and time spent by our volunteer photographers to get the best shots capturing wonderful memories of our Halloween Race. Photos are precious! ... One of my favorite finisher photos (sharing below) was taken by a photographer friend at a triathlon in Desaru, Malaysia and I feel it captures how I felt crossing the finish line while battling autoimmune illness....  So, thank you photographers! 

If you have 3 minutes - help give us feedback - survey respondents get $5 off next year's race fees Thanks for your support!

Happy Trails!


Thursday, November 3, 2016

Race Director's Post-Race Note 2016

Race Director's Post-Race Note

Dear Race Participants,

Thank you all for coming out to support our 3rd Annual Harrison Hills 5K/10K Halloween Trail Run last Saturday! It was a joy to see entire families in costume, smiling faces of volunteers, and all of you enjoying what our beloved Harrison Hills Park has to offer. That perfect fall morning saw nearly 250 runners and walkers on the race course, taking in the crisp air and spectacular views of Allegheny River along the way. Afterwards, hungry athletes, supporters and volunteers helped demolish a mountain of ‘monster munchies’, and took part in the costume contests, fitness competition, Chinese Auction  & 50/50, free kids activities and more.

Ready, Set... GO! Matt Lipsey charges ahead to lead the 10K Start.

Figure 1 Best overall costume, Deacon Simko 'Snack vending machine'; 1st place trophies; 2nd & 3rd place medals; Blue Group; Best Owner & Pet 'Super family', the Jankowskis. Photos: Mike McNeil and Mike Kneiser
Costume contest results:

A slew of course records fell in both the 10K and 5K. Trail beast Matt Lipsey, 26, ran a zinging new 10K course record of 39:37 to take 1st overall. Womens 1st overall, Cara De Carlo, 38, returned to crush her own 10K record with 50:14 and 1st. Top runners in the 5K were Christopher Borland, 22, with 27:41 and Sara Weiland, 12, with 30:29 – a new course record. Macey Edwards is one to watch: at 7, she’s currently 2nd overall fastest female in the 5K, with 32:31, bettering her own 2015 PR by six minutes. Results at Smiley Miles 

Figure 2 Maxwell Weiland, 8, set a new 5K AG record of 32:32 for males under 10; Christopher Borland 22, James Fenn, 16 & Michael McNeil, 53, placed 1st, 2nd & 3rd overall 5K;  Tony Swierkosz, 51, 1st 10K AG and volunteer who has logged 100s of hours working on the trail; Paul Tyree, 68 and Steven Wise, 66, having a blast on the race course; Sarah Paladin, 29, en route to 1st 10K AG and new AG record 1:00.39; Sara Weiland, 12, 1st overall 5K and new course record 30:29; Don Goughler, 71, 1st 5K AG and a title sponsor of the race – Thank you Goughler family! Photos by Mike McNeil.

The Fitness Competition. Mark Karenchak, 51, after coming 2nd in the 5K AG, got in 20 pull-ups, 20 push-ups, 47 sit-ups, 19 box jumps (in 4 minutes), and out-planked younger competitors to be crowned Mr Fitness 2016. Miss Fitness, Jessi Drayer, ran a 10K (2nd overall), proceeded to do 30 pull-ups, 47 push-ups, 61 sit-ups and 50 box jumps, to set a new record of 264 points for females 13 and up. A thrilling Plank-Off that was especially heated among kids 12 and under, saw siblings Brock, 5, and Macey Edwards, 7, wresting Mr and Miss Fitness Junior, respectively. With plank times of 15 and 30 minutes and overall points of 312 and 594, these two have set records that’ll be tough to beat. Results at:

Deepest appreciation to our generous sponsors and donors for cash and in-kind contributions. Sponsor list: Key sponsors were Eric Shick Insurance, the Goughler family, Brackenridge American Legion, and Grace’s Wok. Citizens Hose Station #167 “The Birdville Brothers sponsored the ambulance service, while Allegheny Health Network Sports Performance sponsored the Athlete’s/Medic Tent. Birdsfoot Golf Club, Carnegie Museum, Children’s Museum and Venture Outdoors were among the generous donors to the Chinese Auction (pics below). Over $3000 was raised to fund future key Scout projects in the Park. To our 85 volunteers –including four wonderful Scout families and five Park Rangers–who helped before, during and after the event, you rock. Volunteer list: . Quoting Jacob Rees-Mogg, “People coming together as a community can make things happen.” All of you made this event the most successful one yet. Thank you.
 A few of the 20 raffle items up for bid at the Chinese Auction, made possible by generous donations from local businesses, organizations and individuals: Golf Club Package, “Pancake Breakfast”, “Coffee Lovers”, “Namaste” and “Fondue & Sweet Treats”.

I was happy with many aspects of the event but there is room for improvement. Based on helpful feedback from last year, we worked hard to ensure the awards ceremony started on time, as with all the other activities offered. There was a ten minute delay in the awards ceremony as the timing service discovered two 10K participants placing first in the 5K because they cut short their race. Also, despite our best efforts, the 7.5 km aid station that was supposed to be located at a key turn was inadvertently moved by the assigned ranger, causing a number of 10k runners to pass up that turn. I apologize if you were affected by this and will make sure it doesn't happen next year.

I hope you will continue to give your support by sharing your thoughts with us in the survey below. We need your valuable feedback on your event experience, to make next year even better. Survey respondents receive $5 off next year’s early registration fees: .

Happy Trails and see you next year!

Spencer Clark
Race Director


2016 Logos used on Medals and Race shirt were designed by Melanie Tan of Duo Designs, Malaysia

(A few more photos on the next couple of pages)

Follow us to receive updates and photos, including Jason Harrell’s 100s of race pics:
Event booklet:; Event website at:

Master of Ceremonies the one and only Mike Zewe, and Jan Clark, head judge for Costume Contest; chick & lamb at the autumn harvest photo booth; Beau, Brock & Ben Edwards at the haunted photo booth. Photos by John Clark, Jessica Frank and Taylor Edwards

Below: A dozen vendors and sponsors booths, including Dr Emily Paskorz from Health Pyramid Vitality and Longevity Center and Dr John Kuruc from Elevate Sport and Spine. Photo by Jason Harrell. Vendor list at:

Serving up some of the best post-race food in this neck of the woods. Jack-o-Lantern clementines and creepy bananas creatively stenciled by Girl Scout leader Jennifer Stewart and family; part of the dessert selections; Witches finger cookies made by Denise Blackburn & Mike Brown. Hungry runners went through 150 portions of Grace’s wok-fried rice, 150 portions of Kathy’s famous vegan chili, 80 slices of Jamie’s yummy cold veggie pizza, 64 slices of J&S pizza, 200 chocolate zucchini and banana muffins, 100 portions of fresh fruit salad, 40 slices of homemade pies (apple pies by Kathy Brooke and Reba Blackburn, pumpkin pies by Theresa Walker). Menu list at:

PITT Make-a-Difference-Day student volunteers helped spruce up the Environmental Learning Center and Outdoor Classroom for the event

Val Williams of Songs for Young Whippersnappers got the crowd moving, and kicked off the race with a performance of the Star Spangled Banner. Photo by Mike McNeil. 
 The Bradley family has been with us since the inaugural race in 2014. Photo by Mike McNeil.

Race participants are rewarded with a spectacular view of the Allegheny River and three surrounding counties, along the ridge line. Photo by Dennis Bauman.

Event Souvenir Booklet

A beautifully designed keepsake of your favourite Halloween Race, generously sponsored by Creighton Printing and the Brooke Family.

Event Souvenir Booklet (pdf download)

and below in photos:


Tuesday, November 1, 2016

New 10K Record Holder Matt Lipsey

Here's what the new 10K course record holder (39.37), Matt Lipsey, had to say about the run. Good work Matt, and thanks for the mention!
Spencer K. Clark puts on a great trail 5k / 10k event in Butler, Pa. The proceeds from Harrison Hills Halloween Trail Run 5K / 10K go to fund Boy Scout improvement projects in the park. As if you needed another reason to love it, I've never seen another form of recreation that gives back as much as running does. 
The trails are zinging fast, with just the right amount of mud. Two lengthy climbs and a nasty headwall on the 10k course along the ridge provided some truly beautiful views of Butler and its riverside community (including one hell of a mansion).
Harrison Hills has a way cool environmental education center and an impressive 15 miles of multipurpose singletrack touring the small community park. Can't believe I never checked it out while I was at Slippery Rock.

📷Mike McNeil