All proceeds from the race benefit the Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company

The weather and conditions couldn’t have been better this past weekend for one of Wayne County’s fastest growing athletic events.

More than 100 runners and walkers of all ages and abilities gathered on the shores of Lake Ariel Saturday morning for the Sixth Annual Penny House 5K.

This year’s edition of the event got underway at 9 a.m. and kicked off a full day of activities and entertainment. The race was followed by a chicken barbecue and then a parade.

All proceeds go to help support the Lake Ariel Volunteer Fire Company.

“We has an amazing turnout here today,” said race organizer Suzanne DeLorenzo. “I think pre-registration was a little slow because of all the rain we’ve had. But things really picked up this morning and I couldn’t be happier.”

David Haines of Madison Township was the overall race winner, while Wayne County’s own Dr. Marcie Blaskiewicz earned top female honors.

Both runners stated that they were impressed with the course and happy to support a local volunteer fire company. That sentiment was echoed by DeLorenzo.

“I don’t think a lot of people really understand how important this is,” Suzanne said. “My husband is a fire fighter, so I know firsthand all the sacrifices they make. I just want to try and make sure they have everything they need to do the job.”

On the Course

Saturday’s race began at nine a.m. sharp as runners surged off the starting line and out onto Rte. 191.

Haines wasted no time taking the lead and never looked back. A graduate of North Pocono High School, David earned all star accolades in cross country and track during his four-year varsity career.

Haines moved on to Marywood University where he continues his academic and athletic pursuits. He’s now a junior and has already attained All-League, All-Region and All-American recognition.

On this particular day, David blistered a 5K course that’s been described as “flat and fast.” He crossed the line first overall, posting a time of 18:16, good for an eight second cushion on his closest pursuer.

“It’s a nice course,” he said just moments after finishing. “There are a couple of rolling hills that made it interesting, but it’s a pretty fast course.”

This is the first time David had competed at the Penny House 5K. He did so at the urging of several family members.

“One of my brothers, my sister and some of my cousins run here so I thought it might be fun to come and try it,” he said.

Haines was chased home by current North Pocono distance standout Aiden Horne. The fleet-footed 14-year-old earned runner-up honors with a time of 18:24.

Rounding out the men’s top five were: Tim Nowakowski (18:52), Pat Blaskiewicz (19:47) and Adam Haines (19:54).

Meanwhile on the women’s side of the ledger, Dr. Blaskiewicz was celebrating a much-anticipated return to competitive running.

A 2007 graduate of Hazleton Area, Marcie went on to enjoy success in both cross country and track at Misericordia.

This was her first race in quite some time following the birth of her now 14-month-old son, Bennett.

“It was defiantly exciting to get back out there,” she said with a big smile. “My only real goal today was just to finish, so I’m very happy with how I did.”

Blaskiewicz stopped the clock at 21:37, a time encouraging enough to make her consider other upcoming events.

“My husband and I are talking about maybe running in the Perkins Race,” she said, referring to next weekend’s second leg of the Wayne County 5K Challenge. “We’ll have to wait and see how I feel tomorrow!”

Madison Kammer was the women’s runner-up, cruising home in a time of 23:11.

Rounding out the top five were: Lisa Bell (23:26), Jillian Evarts (23:57) and Patty Hagan (25:11).

Looking Ahead

The summer season is now in full swing and there are many more local races on the horizon.

The marquee events comprise the 2019 Wayne County 5K Challenge, which is open to all runners and walkers.

As mentioned above, the second leg of this year’s Challenge is the Perkins Memorial 5K. This race is one of the oldest in the area, now entering its 34th year. It will be held Saturday, July 20 at the Wayne County Fairgrounds in Dyberry Township.

Also on the card are the Habitat for Humanity “Run for the Roses” (August 24), the Wayne County YMCA 5K (September 14) and the Hawley Public Library “Run to Read” (October 5).

For more information or to sign up, please visit the Wayne County 5K Challenge website or Facebook page.