Jackson Bodner runs during practice Wednesday for Nittany Track and Field Youth cross country. Bodner is part of an eight-man team that will run in Sunday’s Tussey Mountainback 50-mile relay race. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com
Jackson Bodner runs during practice Wednesday for Nittany Track and Field Youth cross country. Bodner is part of an eight-man team that will run in Sunday’s Tussey Mountainback 50-mile relay race. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

Good Life

Kids and dads team up to take on Tussey Mountainback

By Frank Ready

fready@centredaily.com

October 05, 2017 09:10 AM

One is the loneliest number that you ever will see — throw in a 50-mile run on top of that and who needs it?

By comparison, eight seems like a much friendlier digit, which might be why a group of fathers and their children have teamed up to make Sunday’s Tussey Mountainback relay and ultramarathon appear a slightly less daunting prospect.

“It will be a lot of good conversation and the kids telling us the music we’re playing is not very good,” said Tom Cali, the group’s organizer.

Cali, who runs the Tussey Mountain relay almost every year, is perpetually in between marathons. He averages 6-miles a day — sometimes doubling that on weekends — and doesn’t seem to be too concerned about his chances on Sunday.

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It will be a lot of good conversation and the kids telling us the music we’re playing is not very good.

Tom Cali

The same can be said for Andrew Maguire, another experienced runner and a representative from the team’s adult population.

Maguire has been running practically all his life and helps coach his 11-year-old son, Neal, with the Nittany Track and Field Youth Club.

“He’s about a year away from being faster than me,” Maguire said.

They’ve participated in family-oriented races before, and Maguire is looking forward to enjoying fall in Centre County from a mountain vantage point.

Some quality time with the kid doesn’t hurt either.

“It’s a fun bonding experience for the two of us,” Maguire said.

Neal wasn’t hard to convince, even if he does have an unfortunate habit of tossing his cookies at the end of a long race.

It’s just a lot of determination. You have to believe in yourself.

Jackson Bodner

Speaking of cookies, somebody will hopefully have some snacks nearby.

“I hope there’s doughnuts. I like doughnuts,” Neal said.

Marlee Kwasnica, another member of the Nittany Track and Field Youth Club, joined the Tussey Mountain crew with her father, Tony.

She’s looking forward to the team element of the competition. While one person is running their leg of the relay, the rest of the team will be following close behind in a car, shouting out words of encouragement.

“If you’re just running by yourself, it’s kind of boring,” Marlee said.

Jackson Bodner, who will be running the race with his father Steven, is no stranger to long distances.

“It’s just a lot of determination. You have to believe in yourself,” Jackson said.

Frank Ready: 814-231-4620, @fjready