Local Business Owners Participate in Oil Creek 100

Dr. Scott KennedyIs there anything more challenging than being a small business owner? Well, maybe running through the woods for over 7 hours, on trails covered by wet leaves, rocks and roots, climbing over 5400 feet. Two Venango Chamber member business owners completed such runs recently, and neither for the first time.  Dr. Scott Kennedy, Optometrist, and Jason Woolcock, co-owner of Witherup Fabrication, both participated in the Oil Creek 100 Trail Run, described as “Unforgiving, Historic and Gnarly.”

Each October, for the past nine years, over 400 athletes descend on Oil Creek State Park to attempt a race of 50k, 100k or 100 miles.  The 50k (32 miles) attracts over 150 racers.  In addition to racers (who chose to run, hike or both), families and support teams join them, most as visitors to our region.  The races that began this year on the morning of October 14 at 7 a.m., 6, a.m. and 5 a.m. respectively, lasted throughout Saturday and Sunday, with the cutoff for 100 mile completion at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.

Scott Kennedy didn’t start running until just 5 years ago, at age 59.  “Once my sons left home for college, my daughters challenged me to spend more time with them.  Resisting the invitation to golf with dad, they suggested instead that I run with them.”

Those runs soon led to a few 5k races, a 10k (Scott described as a bad idea) and eventually, at the suggestion of a friend, an attempt at trail running. The convenience of local trails made this especially appealing and in 2016 Scott ran his first Oil Creek 100, completing 50k in just over 8 ½ hours.  This year he took on the 100K, running for more than 22 hours.  Finishing just after 4 in the morning, Scott describes the experience: “Running  at night was just surreal, with the noises, flying squirrels, porcupines, and your eyes playing tricks with the shadows from the headlamps.  My overall experience is difficult to sum up, except that it was an exhaustive feeling of accomplishment. ”

Jason Woolcock could be described as a serial Oil Creek 100 runner, having completed the race 5 times, including four 50k races and one 100k.  This year, Jason finished the 50k in just over 7 hours. Jason, too, was inspired by a friend, the late Jim Benson, who ran well into his 70’s.  Jason remarks: “We are fortunate to have this race and these trails in our region, available to us year round. This race is supported by local volunteers, Oil Creek State Park, the Titusville School District and race Director Tom Jennings. I enjoy the opportunity to spend the weekend of the Oil Creek 100 with the many friends I have made throughout the years.”
Jason Woolcock
The race, which sells out within minutes of the registration opening, infuses money into the local economy.  Local hotels often sell out and restaurants are busy with runners and their crews before and after the race. The majority of the participants are not from the Oil Region and, in fact, many are not from Pennsylvania.  They are visitors to our area and are generous in their compliments about the beauty of our area and the wonderful hospitality they find here.

 

You can learn more about the Oil Creek 100 Race at www.oilcreek100.org.

 

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