Saturday, April 15th, the Lycoming County SPCA and title sponsors, Deb Schneider of Wells Fargo Advisors and Wolf Run Veterinary Clinic, held their annual Paws Run at the South Williamsport Park. The pet-friendly event featured a 2.5 and 5-mile run and walk, as well as most-inspiring Pet Comeback Story. Nearly 400 people participated with over 150 dogs, raising money to help homeless and abused animals for the privately- funded shelter.
The event featured a new course that looped through Little League International. Both the 2.5 and the 5-mile groups started together in the South Williamsport Park before running across East Central Avenue for a challenging loop through the Little League complex and back into South Williamsport Park. The 2.5-mile group then finished near the race start, while the 5-mile group continued onto the Riverwalk Bike Path. The event concluded with pet and people-friendly prizes, photos on the “Top Dog” podium, a raffle, and post-event recovery treats.
The top finishers in each category were:
- James Satteson, New Columbia in 30:34 – overall male first place finisher
- Jody Nash, Williamsport in 36:38 – overall female first place finisher
5-mile pet/human run:
- David Brungard, Watsontown in 31:54 – overall male human/pet first place finisher
- Amy Kratzer, Beavertown in 37:43 – overall female human/pet first place finisher
- Kevin Kilgus, Watsontown in 16:56 – overall male first place finisher
- Alana Castle in 21:05 – overall female first place finisher
2.5-mile pet/human run:
- Whitney Heydenreich in 17:05 – overall female first place finisher
- Anthony Mazla in 22:37 – overall male first place finisher
- Steve Fedder in 28:57 – overall male first place finisher
- Corey Gstalder, Montoursville in 30:01 – overall female first place finisher
One of the highlights of the event was the selection of Lucas Sully Ohl, (Luke) as the most inspiring Pet Comeback Story. Luke was found last year in Texas, emaciated, infected with hookworm and suffering from a gunshot wound to the right side of his face. With the help of a rescue organization, the retriever-mix made his way to a veterinary hospital in New Jersey where he was treated for his injuries and illnesses. After four weeks of treatment Luke was stabilized and discharged on October 28, 2016 to foster parents Diane and Carey Ohl. Little did the Ohls know – the dog’s recovery was not over. Despite oral and topical antibiotics, daily wound care and exploratory surgery to treat the 22 pieces of gunshot still embedded in Luke’s face, the injury was not healing. By February, Luke was not acting like himself and was yelping when he opened his mouth. An emergency surgery found a 4-cm piece of dead bone in Luke’s jawbone which was the source of the non-healing wound. Once removed and treated, Luke recovered beautifully! Through it all, the Ohls say Luke has been a loving dog who seems to attract the attention and affection of dog-lovers and non-dog lovers alike.
Since moving to Lock Haven, Pennsylvania, Luke has gained 11 pounds and is fit and trim. He has learned to sit and stay; well, “stay” is really hard, and he has overcome his fear of car rides. Luke felt so well that he not only entered the Paws Run Pet Comeback Contest but he participated in the event where he, of course, enjoyed giving and receiving lots of love with other participants.
Luke’s journey personifies the spirit surrounding the Paws Run event. 5-mile participant Brian Barckley said, “I would definitely run in the event again. It was very well-managed and the money raised supports a good cause.” Barckley has been running since August, 2016 when he was diagnosed with type two diabetes. Since he started running he has lost 45 pounds and his diabetes is in remission. He said he enjoys the encouragement and camaraderie of the event and the new friends he trains with from the Williamsport Area Running Club. As a person who lives with a dog from the Lycoming County SPCA and two cats, he said he has an affinity for the animal shelter, like many at the event.
Paws Run and fundraising events like it support the Lycoming County SPCA’s mission to protect domestic animals across the county, as well as to educate the community about animal safety related issues for residents of all ages. The shelter also helps to match homeless animals with people who will be a good fit for each animal’s unique situation.
The media sponsors for the event included iHeartMEDIA and Lamar Outdoor. The Title Sponsors were Deb Schneider – Wells Fargo Advisors and Wolf Run Veterinary Clinic.
Event Sponsors included C&E Containers, Independent Fire Department, Mitchell Gallagher Attorneys at Law, Eric Fetherston, Tim Mallery, Kriger Fence, Bicycle Recycle Williamsport, Schemery & Zicolello, Mystic Garden Floral Studio, Team Ferrous Reynolds, Roy and Lorrie Tuller, Robyn Hannan, Chris Ditzler, Albarano Construction, Mayer Sport Training, Clyde Peeling’s Reptiland, Divine Doorway, LLC – Coleen Fritz, Equinox, Fitness Factory, In Balance Pilates and Massage, Loyalsock Animal Hospital, Mazzullo’s Premier Auto Spa, Smith Burch Insurance Agency LLC and Wright’s Auto Sales and Service.
In-Kind Sponsors included Dunkin Donuts, Pennsylvania College of Technology, Highland Photography, Kellogg’s, Liberty Mountain, Elite Feet, Graphic Hive, Pepsi Bottling Company, Jeff Cook, Avu Goldsmiths, ShopVac, Kevin Moll, Rick Mahonski, Greg Welteroth Advertising, Gail Bower, Wegmans and the World of Little League Museum who donated products or services to the event.
The event would also not have been possible without the support of Community Partners from Little League International, South Williamsport Borough and the South Williamsport Fire Department.
Finally, thank you to the Paws Run Race Committee who consist of Jaime Binkley, Steve Blaker, Jeff Cook, Tammie Cristini, Chris Ditzler, Eric Fetherston, Robyn Hannon, Chase Kelch, Mindee Lyon, Tim Mallery, Andrea Sapiente, Kelli Smith and Phyllis Sieber.
Thank you to all the race day volunteers and participants who showed up to support the event.