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Landy Fun Run Has Become a Conference Tradition


by Clif Boutelle, SIOP Public Relations

Twenty-five years ago at the SIOP Conference in Montreal, Frank Landy helped organize a 5K race for members who wanted to join him in a morning run, something he noticed that many attendees liked to do.

Encouraged by the response, he and others created the SIOP 5K Fun Run, which has become a conference tradition.

On Saturday, April 16, on a beautiful morning in Anaheim, 125 runners continued that tradition, now known as the Frank Landy Fun Run, honoring its founder who passed away in 2010. Paul and Pat Sackett have been involved in the race for all 24 years, including directing the event the last 14 years.

“Frank was a runner, and he thought it would be a good idea to make the Fun Run a regular part of the conference, and obviously he was right,” Sackett said. “He directed the first several events and others took over. We’ve had as many as 140 runners and as few as 75 or 80.”

(Julia Brandon celebrates her first place finish, photo at left.)

This year Dylan Sorman of San Mateo, CA, an HR analyst at Gilead Sciences, was the first male to cross the finish line (17:22).  Julia Brandon of Durham, NC and who works at GlaxoSmithKline, finished in 21:31 topping the field of female runners.

Though the Fun Run was begun 25 years ago, this was the 24th race. “There was a year we could not obtain the necessary permits and had to cancel,” Sackett recalled.

The Fun Runs require a great deal of organization, something in which the Sacketts have gained considerable experience throughout the years.

“Anaheim was fairly easy because the course was set up to start in front of the Hilton. There have been several years where we have had to bus the runners to the course,” he said.

Paul starts getting prepared for the Landy Fun Run by going online to find a local running store to get recommendations from people who have had experience in directing races. He is already thinking about next year’s event in Orlando.

“They lay out the courses, do the timing and recording of results, obtain the necessary permits from the city, line up off duty police officers for course safety when required and everything else needed to run an efficient race for our members,” Sackett said.

Water stations are staffed by a crew provided by the race director and SIOP student volunteers. There have been a few times when Sackett was unable to identify a race organizer and he and Pat functioned as race timers and recorders.

“Doing that prevented me from running, but I have been involved in all of the Fun Runs, either as a runner or director,” Sackett said.

Signing up for the Landy Fun Run is an option for anyone registering for the annual conference.

In keeping with the intent of a Fun Run, there are no prizes. Rather, runners get the satisfaction of having completed a 5K run with many of their friends and acquaintances.

Paul Sackett and Peter Scontrino

(Paul Sackett (left) and Peter Scontrino have participated in every SIOP Fun Run since they were begun in 1991 in Montreal, photo at left.)

The only person who has run in every race is Peter Scontrino of Sammamish, WA, with the consulting firm Scontrino-Powell.

“That first run in Montreal was bitterly cold. The run was two times around the same course. We all froze, especially the slow runners like me,” he recalled.

“We’ve encountered all sorts of weather,” Sackett added. “In addition to Montreal our race in Chicago in 2011 was quite difficult…cold, rainy and windy. Not good conditions for a run, but we have some pretty hardy people in SIOP.” 

For Scontrino, running is a way of life.

“I travel a fair amount and take my running with me,” he said. “I have run in about 45 different countries with no unpleasant experiences.  To date, I have slowly run over 27,000 miles--around the world and then some—including two marathons.  I truly enjoy running as a personal, reflective, and calorie burning event. This year my business partner and I ran together, step for step for the entire race. We crossed the finish line within nanoseconds of each other. That was a team building experience.”