Patrus runs for sentimental cause
Eagle Staff Writer
Written by:
July 16, 2014
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Road race relay team members Pamela Romeo, John Patrus, Art King, Marilyn LaRocca and Kristina LaRocca at the Harvest Valley Farm store Friday in Richland. The team will compete in the Where’s Our Water 10K on Saturday.

MIDDLESEX TWP — John Patrus enjoys running for a cause — particularly one close to his heart.

Now, he’s got plenty of company.

Patrus, 66, of Middlesex Township, has formed a running “team” through Harvest Valley Market that will compete in the Where’s Our Water 10K, 2 Mile and 1K Minnow run last Saturday.

The 10K begins at Glade Run Lake in Middlesex Township and will benefit the Glade Run Lake Conservancy. That organization is helping to restore the lake, which was drained in 2011.

“It’s very special to me,” Patrus said of Glade Run. “I remember sitting on a hill on my grandfather’s property when I was 8, watching that lake being built.

“It’s a valuable community resource and should be viewed that way.”

A recovering alcoholic who has been sober for 30 years, Patrus retired in 2012 after working 35 years as an addiction therapist. He has been a volunteer with the Glade Run Conservancy for the past year.

“I ran in this inaugural 10K last year and saw a lot of people I knew,” Patrus said. “I figured, why not organize and run together for a good cause?

“Not a lot of people my age run in these (road) races. Sometimes, I’m the only one in my age group. People need to stay active, get out and move.”

Members of the Harvest Valley Market race team — consisting of Patrus family members and friends — will be wearing designed white t-shirts at the 10K.

“We’ll start out together, but I imagine everyone will run at their own pace eventually,” said Becky Miller, a veterinarian and team member. “I’ve run all my life. I’m a board member of the Conservancy and first met John there. I’ve bumped into him at various running events since.

“It’s a wonderful idea, organizing a running team. More businesses should do it. It promotes camaraderie and wellness.”

Art King, 58, of Harvest Valley Farms said Patrus approached him with the idea “and we just went for it.”

“It’s all employees and friends bonding together,” he said.

Patrus works part-time on the King’s farm, delivering vegetables. At last count, Patrus’ race team had 10 members and was still growing.

His daughter, Jessica Hennen, son-in-law Shawn, grand-daughters Samantha, 10, and Abigail, 4, are all running.

“The Minnow Run enables all ages to participate,” Patrus said. “Emily (Hennen) is two and a half and she may make her debut.”

Jessica Hennen ran regularly about 10 years ago and has recently returned to the sport. Samantha is involved in the Girls on the Run program in school.

“That sort of drew us back into it,” Hennen said. “My husband and I ran the Pittsburgh Marathon as part of a relay and I did a race earlier this year.

“My dad’s retired and he’s combining his work on the farm with his love of running to help something really special here.

“We grew up going to that lake as kids. To bring it back and have my kids be able to enjoy it ... That would be great,” she added.