Passavant Resident Supports Friends in Need at Grandparents Run

Published: Wednesday, September 07, 2016

At 84 years old, after walking in the 5K in the Grandparents Run at Passavant Community, resident Nellie Smyth is hanging up her running shoes.

The annual race raises funds for Passavant Community benevolent care, which supports residents who have outlived their financial resources.

Smyth raised $200 through donations she solicited from family and friends. More than $12,800 was raised by the 202 runners who participated.

“It makes me feel grand to be helping others,” she said. “There are so many amazing people living here, and some of them can use a helping hand. It's my pleasure."

Smyth was born and raised in Boston and recalls attending the Boston Marathon with her family every year.

But she said she did not catch the running bug herself until later in life. She ran her first race at the age of 54.

“Every kid from Boston runs at some time, don’t they?” she joked. “I just started a little later than others.”

Smyth (center) raised $200 for benevolent care.

She has competed in several races since – always to benefit various charities – and has the trophies to prove it.

Her training consists of two miles on the elliptical machine and one mile on the treadmill at Passavant’s fitness center several times a week.

“But this race was my last hurrah,” she said, although she still plans to remain as active as possible.

“I have run from age 54 to 84 – that’s long enough, I think.”

The Grandparents Run is organized by Joella Baker, founder and president of Get Fit Families, LLC in memory of her grandmother Rose Mudicka and her grandmother’s friend Francies Yingling, both former Passavant Community residents. “I believe there is an athlete in all of us,” Baker says on her website. “I teach my athletes that the wisdom of the body is smarter than the self-perceived, limited barriers of the mind. Listen to your body and you will always win.”

Jenn McIntire, director, community services, Lutheran SeniorLife Foundation, expressed her gratitude on behalf of those who will benefit from the race.

“We want to thank our many sponsors including spotlight sponsor Northwest Bank and shirt sponsor Dave’s Tri-State Truck Service, LLC. We also want to express our great appreciation to Dave and Ann Richard, Scott and Joella Baker, Larry and Janet Huggins, the Merriman family, and Get Fit Families, LLC for their continued help and support for the past 12 years of this event,” McIntire said.

For additional race photos, please visit our Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/LutheranSeniorLifePA/photos/?tab=album&album_id=652180804944330.

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