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Sunday, March 18, 2001 -- Pittsburgh, PA
St. Paddy's Day Run (iPO Event Id#: 2657)
Story and photos by Don Parks, with additional photos contributed by Richard Hickey

[Details] [Coverage] [Overall Results] [Pic Set 1] [Pic Set 2]

Larry Winschel
"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty, to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded."
    -- Ralph Waldo Emerson
(Yes, I know, this quote may be miscredited, but it's still a great quote.)

The Greater Pittsburgh Road Runners (GPRRC) held their annual St. Paddy's Day Run on a beautiful Sunday morning. While the crowd of participants was modest, they all brought the usual big smiles backed with plenty of enthusiasm. As Bruce McGlothin, GPRRC President, says, "We encourage high-spirited fun running for people of all ages. Our goal is to have fun whether finishing first or last. We love to run!"

My first contact with the GPRRC was at their St. Valentine's Day Run held just four weeks ago. It was here that I met 49 year-old Larry Winschel from Mt. Lebanon, an avid runner and regular at many of the club events.

After that race, Larry gladly filled me in on the large contingent of runners clad in unmistakable "Pankreas Racing" pink t-shirts (and helped me round them up for a photo). He told me with delight how his son Jason came up with the idea and that it was really just a group of "fun loving runners, walkers, whatever." The pink color was just so they'd stand out in a crowd and make it easy to find one another.

On this day Larry was running the two-mile event that started just after 10am. As I waited at the finish, it would be Larry who first rounded the final turn toward the finish line. His time of 16:48 was plenty to take top honors in the two-mile race.

Richard Hickey, who was helping out with the timing, and I quickly reminded him that now he'd need to get ready for the winner's post-race interview. A small reward for victory at this low-key club event.

Quickly it was back to business as I returned to taking photos of runners and Richard went to get some stickers to hand out to the finishers. Larry joined him to get a drink of water at a make shift water stop setup on Richard's car. It was here that Larry collapsed.

Medics were quickly on the scene and they frantically worked to revive him. He was soon whisked off to St. Francis Hospital by ambulance. But, as we later learned, this was to have been his last run.

Our hearts and prayers go out to Larry Winschel and the large and loving circle of friends and family that he leaves behind. Given the terms set out by Ralph Waldo Emerson, we can all be assured that in the art of living, Larry succeeded.