More than 600 run and walk Kutztown Optimist Club Fool's Run

Patriot photo by Jake Austin 2 mile walk start at the Kutztown Fool's Run on March 29.
Patriot photo by Jake Austin 10 mile start of the Kutztown Fool's Run on March 29.

Some wore shorts, some wore spandex and some even wore cowboy hats. Regardless of what they wore, runners of all skill levels were in full force for the 24th annual Kutztown Fools’ Run.

The races, which have been managed by the Kutztown Optimist Club since 2006, benefit the Donald Peters Memorial Scholarship Fund. The fund was created to honor the memory of late club member, Donald Peters and provides Kutztown University college scholarships to students of the Kutztown, Fleetwood and Brandywine Heights area school districts.

This year, the event attracted more than 600 participants, a large jump from last year’s total of around 500.

“We have a very good turnout this year,” said race chairman and Optimist Club secretary, Don Sechler. “We attribute that to everyone just wanting to get back outside already.”

Main events included a 10-mile race and a 5k race. This year, a 2-mile walk was introduced as an additional option for participants.

“We decided to add [the 2-mile walk] as an alternative to the longer races,” said Sechler. “We saw it as another avenue to expand.”

Matthew Lutcza of Collegeville was the first male overall in the 10-mile race with a time of 55:31. Laura Kline of New Paltz was the first female runner overall with a time of 1:05:13.

On the 5k side, Matt Gillette of Orefield took the overall men’s title in 14:49. Madison Oneil of Kutztown won the women’s race with a time of 20:29.

The Optimist Club currently doesn’t have plans to add more new races in the future. However, arrangements are being made to celebrate the races’ 25th anniversary next year.

“[The event] has its 25th anniversary coming up next year, so we will definitely be doing something for that,” said Sechler. “We will take time over the summer to plan something.”

Race results can be found at http://www.kutztownfoolsrun.com/

To learn more about Optimist International, call (314) 371-6000 or visit the organization’s website at www.optimist.org.