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The Bob Bridgman Memorial 5k race is scheduled this year for its normal time at 8:30 am on May 29th (Memorial Day) at Mansfield University's Shaute Baseball Field. This is the 17th annual event, held in memory of Bob, who taught Mathematics at Mansfield for 30 years, beginning in 1963. He was an avid tennis player and used to run the Tennis Tournaments in the 1970's at MU, but when his knees could no longer take the back-and-forth motion, he switched to running and raced competitively for 25 years at hundreds of events, mostly in North Central Pennsylvania and New York State's Southern Tier. He qualified for the Boston Marathon a few times, though he was never comfortable in big cities and that wasn't his style. He loved the local running community, where he had many friends on the racing circuit and this was perhaps his favorite thing about the sport. He often said that he lived life "from one Saturday to the next."
Bob and his wife, Earlene, started the food pantry in Mansfield and were avid in both that and Habitat for Humanity. They loved animals and were regular contributors to the SPCA and various sanctuaries.
Bob had a impeccable memory. When his students attended class for the first time, he had them recite their names to him. When they came in for the next class, he knew them all by name without notes. He knew if they were sitting in a different chair that day, and called upon them by their full names, which always made a rather remarkable impression. But they especially remember him because he was such a kind man who always had time for his students. He loved to teach, which is why he selected Mansfield, where he could focus on teaching rather than publishing research.
Bob was also a big sports fan and went to all of the home football, basketball, and baseball games at MU. When he had a student in track, wrestling, swimming, field hockey, tennis or softball, he went to those meets as well. He felt that it was part of his responsibility to support his students both in and outside of the classroom.
This race is held in Bob's memory. Proceeds from the race gets divided equally between 5 charitable causes. These include the MU Cross Country team, the MHS Cross Country team, the Bob Bridgman Memorial Scholarship at MU, Second Chance Animal Sanctuary, and Mansfield Ambulance. Last year each organization received $800 for a total of $4,000 in total giving. The race is well liked and very well attended for a local event in rural Tioga County. In 2016 there were 166 finishers.
Age groups this year are as follows: 12 & under, 13-15, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70-79, and 80+. There is no duplication of awards. The 80+ age group is new this year. Some of Bob's friends who were in or around his age are still running and are faithful attendees. He would be 83 this year at race time if he was still with us and a request to include an 80 and over age group was warmly welcomed.
The 5k course is wheel measured, there are T-shirts to the first 100 registrants, timing is professionally done by Insta Results, and there is a water stop at approximately the half-way point. Pre-registration is $15 or registration on the day of the race is $20. There are special family rates (see the registration form). Participants are asked to bring, in addition, a can or bag of dry dog or cat food for donation to Second Chance Animal Sanctuary.
A kids "Fun Run" will also be held and will take place while the 5k race is in progress. No pre-registration necessary, just come prepared for a short run around the field.
For more information call Roger Learn at (570) 297-3271. The race is sponsored by the Bob Bridgman Memorial Race Committee and Friends of Bob, with many thanks to Mansfield University for the facilities and to many local, charitable donors.