AUTHOR: WINGMAN KAREN NITKIN
Joe is a serious runner who often places in his age group. But with ASA, he doesn’t worry about speed or distance. He’s learned to slow down and enjoy ASA’s mantra that nobody gets left behind. The real reward, he says, isn’t a spot on the podium, but getting to know people and having a fun time out there.
Still, Joe is competitive and he says pushing the Athletes in their joggers up Pennsylvania’s steep hills has helped with his leg strength.
Joe learned about ASA in 2014, when he ran a local 7K called HARRC After Dark, put on by the Harrisburg Area Road Runners Club. “I saw this big group of WingMen,” he recalls. “I remember them going down this steep hill and thinking it was crazy. They had to brake a lot, but they did it.” After the race, Joe approached the group and met the Athletes, WingMen and Community Coordinator, Christina Beaverson. “The Athlete’s father recognized me,” says Joe, a respiratory therapist. Joe was smitten, and signed up right away. Within a year, he was a WingMan Captain.
Joe runs between six and nine races a year with ASA, including the Hershey Half Marathon, which is one of his favorites. The October race goes through Hersheypark and the campus of the Milton Hershey School. “The energy is always really high,” he says. He also likes the Harrisburg Mile because even runners who aren’t used to long distances can do it. “We really need people of any pace, who can run long distances or short distances,” he says.