FOOT NOTES: Have a little help for your friends


There are so many things that can bring joy to a runner.

We go nuts when we run a PR, and we’re in awe when we take in the scenery from the top of a mountain. There are some of us who chase that mythical “runner’s high,” while others just want to justify an extra cheeseburger once in a while. 

But I think for me, the greatest feeling in this sport is when my mindset and actions have a positive influence on another person. Even though I’m not the fastest guy on the race course, I feel so much value as a runner when someone trusts me enough to seek me out and consult my knowledge. 

I have a friend from college, who now lives just blocks away, who came to me after a concerning blood pressure screening. He told me he was up to 285 pounds. 

The first thing I did was take him outside to go for an easy walk and talk about what’s going on. Over the course of our 1.5 miles, we discussed eating habits and making time to move around, even when we’re basically chained to a computer for work. 

We talked about establishing consistency with exercise, to the point where it becomes a normal and expected part of the day. He pledged to do more than just “pay the fat tax” for his gym membership. 

After catching his breath from our walk, my friend went home and made a plan. I texted him every day to make sure he was sticking with it. And after a week, he returned to me nine pounds lighter by committing to a gym and cardio routine.

I’m proud of him, but he knows as well as I do there’s still a long way to go. We all hit setbacks and plateaus on our respective fitness journeys. I’m advising him to look at the three-month picture instead of going day to day expecting immediate results, a trap that I’m admittedly susceptible to.

I’d be thrilled to see my gentle push take my friend to a place he’s never been before. Of course, I can’t be the hero in this story. It has to be him. He’s the one doing the work, he’s the one who is sweating and bleeding for a better life.

To see my friend reach his goals would probably bring me more happiness than even I can imagine. Until that day comes, I plan on keeping him on track and hyping him up every step of the way. 

Keep working hard, Joe, you’ve got this!


When you’re the president of an organization, like Bill Dann is with the Chambersburg Road Runners Club, it’s part of the job description to set a good example for those around you.

In back-to-back weeks Dann has done just that, directing a successful race at the Chambersburg Half Marathon before hitting the road himself to run a monster time at the Love Run Philadelphia Half Marathon.

With Dann calling the shots at the Chambersburg Half, the race drew 139 runners, including Waynesboro’s Chad Vaughn, who was the top Local.News finisher in 1:29:27. Vaughn was chased by Chambersburg’s Amanda Balzer (1:31:10), Laurie Dymond (1:34:40), Tyler Seibert (1:37:06), Alecie Rotz (1:38:46), Michael Larusso (1:38:57), Jonathan Rotz (1:39:51), and Sarah Boward (1:40:58), Greencastle’s Matthew Smith (1:34:29), and Fayetteville’s Clarita Vazquez (1:56:30).

One week later, it was Dann’s turn to shine as a runner, and the 54-year-old traveled to Philadelphia to throw down a time that would make most 25-year-olds jealous. Dann blazed through the race at a 6:57/mile pace to finish in 1:30:54 and lead a group of Chambersburg runners that included Derek Kling (1:43:46) and Christine Metcalfe (2:10:25).

In Hagerstown, Md., the St. Patrick’s Day Run Fest drew dozens of runners from the Local.News area with its 5K and 8K races. We’ll start with the 5K, which saw Smithsburg’s Michael Wynkoop (18:32) and Sean Allen (19:36) lead area runners with Top 10 finishes. Smithsburg’s Corey Centofonti was the runner-up in 28:40 in the 8K race, while Mont Alto’s Ryan Kelley completed the race in 34:39.

Speaking of the aforementioned Kelley, the Mont Alto runner put on a nice showing at the St. Patty’s 5K in Shippensburg, finishing as the race runner-up in 21:01. Fayetteville’s Wing Lam Cheung was the second female in 24:37, while Chambersburg’s Daniel Mulewich (26:08) and Craig Leisher (26:31) also posted top times.

From Shippensburg to Fort Loudon, the scenic Friends of Cowans Gap 5K pulled in 162 runners and saw Chambersburg runners sweep the top spots, with Cole Lehman taking the overall win in 20:08 and Alecia Rotz finishing as top female in 21:34. Chambersburg’s Jonathan Rotz (21:17) and Noah Mulewich (22:01) both cracked into the Top 10, while Jeffrey Hein was Waynesboro’s top finisher in 27:10.

A number of others were involved in races across the region, including Chambersburg’s Katie Overcash (42:11 at Lucky Charm 4 Miler), Chris Brooks (55:50 at Townebank 8K), Olivia Colli (3:29:37 at Yuengling Shamrock Marathon), Amy Colli (1:55:35 at Yuengling Shamrock Half Marathon), Leila Reese (1:42:38 at NYC Half), Jim Tabler (2:41:30 at Rosaryville Half), Shawn Coldsmith (51:49 at Garden Spot 10K), and Andrew Coldsmith (1:41:23 at Garden Spot Half), and Smithsburg’s Madison Ashbaugh (2:00:09 at B&A Trail Half).

Finally, a shoutout to Waynesboro trail ace Michelle Benshoff, who battled the Fire on the Rocks 10K in Lock Haven and finished as the second female in 1:06:44.

And now, a look ahead:

Martins Mill Covered Bridge 5 Miler: Saturday, 8 a.m., in Greencastle. Check out this beautiful and historic course in Antrim Township. Learn more about this race on

Capital 10 Miler: Saturday, 9 a.m., in Harrisburg. Look for hundreds to turn out for this popular scenic race, which starts and ends on City Island. Learn more on

Buck Ridge Burn Half Marathon: Sunday, 9 a.m., in Gardners. There are no spots remaining in this rugged race, which pushes even the toughest trail runners to their limits. Check out the race on

Also: Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K (Saturday, in Pottsville); Bolt for Bolts 5K (Saturday, in Littlestown); Cook Forest Half Marathon (Saturday, in Cookstown); Hot Chocolate Run (Saturday, in Philadelphia); Medal Madness Bunny 5K/10K (Saturday, in New Cumberland); Conewago Dater 5K (Sunday, in Elizabethtown); Hearts for the Homeless 24 Hour Challenge (Friday, April 7, in Bellefonte); Eagleton Trail Challenge 50K (Saturday, April 8, in Lock Haven); Heralds of Hope 5K (Saturday, April 8, in Shippensburg); Lebanon Cedars Spring Fling 5K (Saturday, April 8, in Lebanon); Medal Madness Bunny Marathon (Saturday, April 8, in York); Warrior Run 5 Miler (Saturday, April 8, in Lancaster).

Foot Notes is a self-syndicated column by Central Pa. sportswriter Andy Sandrik that has been “running” since 2016. Andy always follows back on Strava and can be reached by email at [email protected].

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