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April 27, 2003
The Daily Item

Race For Women?s Health
Hurley, Popalis take first in annual event
By Kate Andrews
For The Daily Item

LEWISBURG - Bucknell freshman Colin Hurley and Bloomsburg resident Renee Popalis snared first place in the fourth annual Race for Women?s Health on Saturday.

Hurley, the overall male winner, turned in a time of 17:42, and, as the overall female winner, Popalis finished at a personal-best 20:12.

Despite the rainy weather, 89 runners and approximately 20 walkers turned out for the race, which benefited Family Planning Plus.

"It?s good cross-country weather. That?s what runners look forward to. People see the rain and say ?Ugh? but the real runners stand out and just attack whatever the conditions are," Hurley said.

Family Planning Plus "provides health care services to women in five counties, particularly women who might not be able to get access to them," Sue Mathias, organizer of the event, said. Besides registration fees, the organization received $1 per mile run from the Degenstein Foundation.

A runner during his high school days at Otto Eldred High School near the New York state line, the 19-year-old Hurley decided to run the race because he missed competition.

"Basically, I just wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to do it because I miss running," he said.

As a chemical engineering major, Hurley has been unable to run competitively for Bucknell. However, he has continued to run recreationally in his spare time, hitting the road at least every other day.

He said he opted for the town race rather than a Bucknell 5K later in the day because he thought the competition would be better.

"I was looking at the times last year and there was a 16 (minute finish) and I was like ?Oh, no.? But different years, different people, and I got lucky I guess," he said.

Popalis, 28, said she chose to run this race because it benefited a good cause and also because it?s a tune-up for a half-marathon she will be running next weekend in Allentown.

She added that the well-organized course helped her to turn in her best time.

"It was pretty flat, which is nice if you?re aiming for a good time," she said.

This race finished up a strict eight-week program in preparation for next week?s 13.1 half-marathon for Popalis.

"It?s the first time I followed a stringent, eight-week program, telling me what to do, when to do it and how fast," she said. "I?ve never done that before. I usually go out on my own and do what I feel like doing. We?ll see how it goes."

The course began behind Lewisburg High School, looping through town and detouring down River Road.

Previously, the race was held at Hufnagle Park, but was moved due to arts weekend.

"I think it?s better. It takes advantage of more of the town and doesn?t go out as far on River Road," said Joel Heasley, who helped lay out the course.

The lobby of the high school was used for registration, awards and refreshments.

Mathias said, "It?s really worked out, especially on a rainy day, to have an indoor space."

In addition, massage, yoga stretching, a lecture on racing etiquette and body fat calibrations were offered to the runners.

Popalis said of her massage, "That was a nice added benefit."

The date and time of the race were also changed.

Normally, the race is held Memorial Day weekend, but it was moved to coincide with arts weekend and to take advantage of the help of the Bucknell sororities. The time was pushed back to get the race out of the way before people began arriving for arts weekend.

"It?s a nice event though. They put a lot of work into it and got a nice turnout," Popalis said.

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