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Schwartz 3K runners, walkers ignore inclement weather

HAVERFORD, Pa. – Not even predicted rains that were to fall on an already 'weathered' course kept fans away from the 3rd Annual Joe Schwartz '83 Memorial 3-kilometer Run/Walk Sunday afternoon on the campus of Haverford College as 179 runners and walkers ignored the less than inviting conditions to participate in a fundraising event for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

Nearly equalling the combined total of participants from the first two years (184), the 2010 event raised over $4,000, a figure that totals more than half of what was cumulatively raised during the first two events.

The 3K race was won by Phil Ceonia, competing in the 18-22 year-old age group, in a time of 9 minutes, 59 seconds which was one second off the men's race record.

Haverford field hockey and women's tennis player Sharon Warner (18-22) was the top female Sunday afternoon setting a new record for the women with a time of 12:49.

As the annual event has grown, so has the list of local companies and teams that have supported the fundraising event. The 2010 race received prizes from local companies like Bryn Mawr Running Company, Original Natural Resources, Ardmore Style Pizza and Summit Sports Training Center in West Chester.

Other local supporters of the event were the Eastern Mountain Sports store, Bruegger's Bagel Bakery, Trader Joe's Ardmore, Saxby's Coffee (Worldwide), and most of the city of Philadelphia's major sports teams – the Phillies (MLB), Eagles (NFL), Flyers (NHL), 76ers (NBA) and Union (MLS).

Joe Schwartz graduated in 1983 and was a committed member who excelled for the cross country and track teams over the years he attended Haverford. He encouraged those who won Middle Atlantic Conference championships as well as students who participated in the sport to be part of something bigger than themselves, to be part of what has become a proud tradition of athletic excellence at Haverford. In 1995, Joe contracted ALS at the age of 34. He first noticed the symptoms when he was training for road races. He courageously endured the hardships imposed by this cruel disease for thirteen years until his unfortunate death on March 2, 2008. Joe leaves behind two young sons, both of whom are avid runners themselves.

“Joe was the epitome of what a coach wishes for in a student-athlete,” said head cross country and track & field head coach Tom Donnelly. “He was enthusiastic, supported his teammates and loved his sport and school. Someone like Joe comes along once in a lifetime.”

The Joe Schwartz ’83 Memorial 3K Run/Walk is designed to attract the running superstar and the walking novice because that is exactly how Joe would want it. He simply loved people lacing up their shoes and enjoying the freedom to run and walk, a freedom that was deprived from Joe by ALS.

Proceeds from the Run/Walk will be donated to The ALS Association and directed towards ALS research. The ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization dedicated solely to the fight against ALS. The cause, cure and means of control of ALS are unknown. Symptoms of ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, include the wasting and paralysis of the muscles of the limbs and trunk as well as those that control vital functions such as speech, swallowing and respiration.

Founders Green on a warm spring day.

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