At 10:20 p.m. on Oct. 31 it was a shivery 32 degrees, with a sky full of bright moonlight shining down on Lake Ondawa in Big Pond. That moonlight was from the full moon. But it wasn’t an ordinary full moon. It was a Blue Moon; the second full moon within the same month. And this Blue Moon fell on Halloween.
According to NASA, every Halloween full moon is also a blue moon because the cycle of lunar phases is 29.5 days long, plus or minus a few hours; a full moon on Oct. 1 or 2 must precede any full moon that occurs on Oct. 31. This happens approximately every 19 years.
According to the Farmer’s Almanac, this year’s full moon on Halloween is the first one that was visible in all time zones since 1944. The last full moon on Halloween was in 2001 but was only visible in the Central and Pacific Time zones.
And by the light of that Halloween Blue Moon, at the lake pavilion along North Lake Road, members of the Troy Rotary Club were getting things under control for the Big Pond Blue Moon Prediction Run, in spite of having a power out at their location.
“Things have not gone as planned,” said Matt Geer as he went over the rules to the 104 runners waiting to start. “The power went out. But hey, this is 2020!”
The object of the race was to cross the finish line after midnight, and the first person to do so was the winner.
The course opened at 10:20 p.m., and the runners started based on the time they predicted it would take them to complete the 6K (3.8 mile) course. Those walking the course started closer to 10:20 p.m. whereas those running started closer to 11:30 p.m. No watches, cell phones or any timing devices were allowed. As participants got close to the finish line, they had no idea if it was before midnight, or after midnight.
This is the type of run where the winner is not necessarily the fastest or best runner, but the person who has learned their pace.
The Troy Rotary Club’s motto is “Service above Self” as they provide many services to the Troy and Canton communities. The proceeds from this year’s race – $2,700 – is going to Kids Can’t Fight Cancer Alone, a non profit organization, meeting the needs of families facing pediatric cancer in Bradford, Sullivan, and Tioga Counties.
The Troy Rotary Club was grateful to all the participants, sponsors and help they had to make this year’s run the success that it was.
Sponsors included Building No. 9 Grille; First Citizens Community Bank; Bluestone Brewing Company; Brann, Williams, Caldwell & Blaney, Attorneys at Law; Carrie Geer Photography; Welch Insurance; Harvest Rock Advisors; Barefoot Pellet Company; Cummings Lumber; Krise’s Tire; and Leaps & Bounds Child Care Center.
Pumpkin pies were donated by Moose’s Munchies for prizes for the first five participants to finish after midnight. The Bluestone Brewing Company donated the post race beer. Troy Rotary Club member Pat Rogers made all the blue moon cookies for the participants. Bill Frye and Barry Morgan from Pivot Physical Therapy in Troy were there in case anyone cramped up. Carrie Geer donated her professional photos taken at the event.
Matt Geer went around the route neighborhood ahead of time to let residents know to expect runners going by late at night.
It was extra fun because some participants wore Halloween costumes and there were additional prizes for creative, scary and funny costumes. The costume prizes were treat baskets donated by the Tim Leonard Rod & Gun Club filled with Lake Ondawa mugs, packets of hot cocoa mix, and candy.
The night of the Halloween blue moon was also the night to turn back the clocks, marking the end of Daylight Savings Time. So, those who were up late to participate in the Big Pond Halloween Blue Moon Run at least got an extra hour of sleep the next morning.
“I thought it would be fun. It’s for a good cause,” said Brandon Schrader, who was dressed as Gandalf from the J. R. R. Tolkien novels. “I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit and I really wanted to wear a Gandalf costume.” He added that he was planning to walk the course because he didn’t want to trip on his long robe.
“We tend to do crazy things,” said Hilary Schilling, who was participating for the first time. “I saw it on Facebook and thought it would be fun.”
The first participant to cross the finish line after midnight was Nadine Furman, who was followed by Evan Osgood, Micky Cavanaugh, Piper Young, and Derek Simpson.
Costume winners were Ozzie Osgood as funniest, in a chicken costume; most creative were family and friends together dressed as glow-in-the-dark dominoes; and the scariest were the COVID prisoners dressed in black and white striped prison clothes.
There was at least one participant walking the race with a dog alongside.
“This year has been full of so many surprises,” said Ruth Lee when the race was over.
But it was Matt Geer who got the biggest surprise.
“When I send out my sponsor forms, I always shoot for the moon and I’ve included a Title Sponsorship as an option. For the first time ever, we have a Title Sponsor! So for 2020, please refer to this race as Building No. 9 Grille’s Big Pond Blue Moon,” explained Geer.
He added, “Wow! Thanks Charlie and Cody! You guys rock! As soon as they heard about Kids Can’t Fight Cancer Alone, they didn’t hesitate. Stop in to get a bite and let them know that we appreciate it.”