Hundreds of runners gathered in Reading on Sunday, October 16, 2016 for the annual Reading Hospital Road Run, including the first ever Reading Hospital Half Marathon! Our runners aren’t just doing it for awards or their health. They’re doing it for everyone’s health, running for the health of our community, and that is indeed worth a medal.
Why are we Running?
The Reading Health System is a household name in Berks County. But, do you know ‘The Friends of the Reading Hospital?’ The Friends are a group of volunteers who offer outreach and programs to help improve the quality of healthcare in Berks County. The fundraisers they organize benefit programs such as:
- Partnership for a Healthier Berks County
- HeartSAFE Berks County
- NicView webcams for the NICU
- Support for the McGlinn Cancer Institute
- Patient comfort items
What is the Road Run?
The Road Run is one of the largest annual fundraisers held by ‘The Friends.’ It started in 1978 and was a very popular event among local runners for many years. Eventually, like all good things, it began to lose popularity and ‘The Friends’ opted to discontinue the Road Run. Then, in 2009, there was a perfect storm of increased popularity in running and volunteers and leaders who were passionate about the event. All ‘The Friends’ needed was a lead sponsor to make it happen, so they turned to their longtime partner, Diamond Credit Union. We were happy to bring this awesome event back to the community.
In 2009, the event was welcomed back by the community with open arms. Historically the event was held on the roads around the Reading Hospital, starting and ending outside of the Doctor’s Office Building. That’s where the tradition continued, until the event got a huge makeover in 2016!
The annual Reading Hospital Road Run got a makeover this year, and Diamond Credit Union was happy to assist as lead sponsor. This year the event expanded from a 5k and 1 mile fun run to include a half marathon. The new event required a change of location, and what would be better than the picturesque scenery of Mount Penn. Runners started their race at the William Penn Memorial Fire Tower, ran past the historic Pagoda, and ended in downtown Reading outside of the Double Tree Hotel and Santander Arena.
The larger event was sought out by runners from across the region, with cash prizes and a unique course. The event expanded into a full weekend affair, with a Health and Wellness Expo on the Saturday, before the event and amenities available at the Double Tree Hotel.
Diamond’s mascot, Chip, was there to offer high fives and good cheer to the runners. Chip brought his friend, the Magically Amazing Ryan to make balloon animals for the kids participating in the fun run too! They were both excited to meet the one and only Thor, who has showed up to offer support to the “humans” running the race for the past few years.
In addition to providing a Tower Sponsorship, Diamond CU volunteers were at the race to cheer on runners, hand out medals, and present awards. Because of this special placing, Diamond volunteers were able to be front and center for the most exciting moment of the day!
A few days before the race, the organizers were approached with a special request. Lynn Fuhrman just found out that she was pregnant and she wanted to make the announcement to her father in a special way. She and her father were already planning to run the half marathon at their own pace. But, instead of receiving the medals every participant was getting, Lynn made her father a medal that said, “Number One Grandpa. Est. 2017.”
It’s possible that the volunteers were more excited than Lynn as they were coming down the final stretch. At first her father was so full of adrenaline that he didn’t even notice his medal was different. When Lynn pointed out the difference, he questioned the sentiment for a second, and then gave his daughter a huge hug. Lynn’s husband and sister were close by to share in the celebration.
Thank you to all of the racers, volunteers, and cheerleaders that made this event a success. See you next year!
Shoot for CommYOUNITY at the Reading Royals on Saturdays this season!
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