And They're Off ...

Oct 12, 2019

Over 100 runners and walkers took their marks on Oct. 12 at the inaugural Vulcan Fest 5K. The event was part of Saturday's festivities for Vulcan Fest Homecoming Weekend.

  • - Overall women's winner Ally Wilson.

  • - Frank S. Ptak, Class of 1959.

  • - Overall men's winner Matthew Jenkins.

Cooler temperatures and even rain couldn’t dampen the fun at the inaugural Vulcan Fest 5K. 

Over 100 runners and walkers took their marks at 8 a.m. Oct. 12 for the race, which was part of Vulcan Fest Homecoming Weekend. 

The overall men’s and women’s winners were Cal U seniors Matthew Jenkins and Ally Wilson. 

Jenkins, who is majoring in geography with a concentration in tourism, hospitality and event studies, used the race as a tune-up for a marathon at Ohiopyle (Pa.) State Park on Oct. 13. 

“I saw the announcements about the Vulcan Fest 5K and thought it would be a great little tune-up,” Jenkins said. “When I was warming up, my stretches felt great, and I thought, ‘I’m going to win this!’ I averaged a 6:30 mile, so I’m pretty happy with that.” 

Wilson, a criminal justice major, runs 6 to 10 miles a day and will be in Hershey, Pa., next weekend for a half marathon. 

“I liked the course,” she said of the route that took participants around and through campus, beginning and ending at the Convocation Center. “The bottom half was good, and I’m a good hill-runner, so it was fine. 

“I’ll do this every year, if I’m able. I would definitely come back as an alumna for it.” 

Although he didn’t win a medal, Frank S. Ptak, age 83 and Class of 1959, had a wonderful morning. 

“I’ve been doing 5Ks and 10Ks since I was in my 30s,” he said. “I’ve been race-walking the last few years. This is my 11th race this year. I wanted to do an October race, and I picked this one because it was my alma mater. I pointed at the buildings as I went by. Dixon 318: That’s where I used to live!” 

Ptak planned to stick around for the Homecoming game, Cal U vs. Clarion, to see his granddaughter, Whitney Ptak ’19, last year’s Homecoming Queen, crown her successor. 

“I’m enjoying life,” said Ptak, who retired in 1993 as a teacher in the Brownsville Area School District. “You meet a lot of people at these races and do a lot of socializing. It’s fun!”