The Media 5 Mile Race: 40 Years and Going Strong!

Some say the Media 5 Mile Race is harder than the 10 Mile Broad Street Run. Most would agree that the Media 5 Mile is challenging, full of hills (some expected and some that gradually sneak up on you) and mentally taxing – but it’s one of the greatest community events in Media and it turned 40 years old this past June 21st as 1800 runners competed for top prizes or just raced for the fun of it.

The course is a USATF certified 2.5 mile course that loops twice through the residential and business areas of Media. The Media 5 Mile Race is the highlight of the summer as thousands of runners race through Media while thousands more cheer them on with sprays from hoses, free water, boisterous watch parties and even some live music!

Forty years ago the race came together with the help of the former Media Town Fair Committee and a few eager and energetic runners. On a very hot day on July 18th, 1980, some five hundred runners ran the first race and began what is now an annual town celebration. Since 1980, much of the evolution and ongoing success of the Media 5 Mile Race has been through the efforts of fantastic board and committee members. The original race director was Ken Daws who directed the race for the first 15 years. Ken was assisted by his wife, Joanne, and a team of volunteers recruited by Mike Gretz of Delco Beverage, a main sponsor of the race. Ken fondly remembers the support of Kurt Emmons of the legendary Bill Battey’s Sporting Goods and the tremendous help from the Delco Road Runners Club in organizing the first race. Watching Ken and his crew compile the race results as quick as possible in the back of his old VW van still brings a smile to those of us who remember road racing in the 80’s.

Frank and Michele Daly were also instrumental in the creation of the first Media 5 Mile Race. In 1979, as a member of the Town Fair Committee, Frank thought a five mile race would be a great fundraiser for the annual Media Town Fair. Both Frank and Michele, long time residents of Media, participated in the first race in 1980. However, Frank’s favorite memory of the Media 5 Mile Race was running with Michele when she ran a personal best that was under 40 minutes the day before her 40th birthday in 1999. As members of the current Media 5 Mile Race Committee, both are involved in organizing the race.

Another founding and current race committee member is Media Borough resident, Frank Deady. Along with Ken Daws and the Delco Road Runners Club, Frank helped with organizing the first race. Frank Deady has a long history with the Media 5 Mile Race and has run the race 39 times! For many like Frank, the race has become a family affair and this year, Frank’s grandson, Nick, proudly joined him in this year’s race.

Race veteran and Media Borough resident, Deborah Krull, believes that the race is successful because of the crowd energy, the unique and challenging course and the feeling that Media truly is “everybody’s home”. Rita Jordan-Keller, a borough resident, had served as director for ten years from 1995 until 2004 and was asked to help with the race again this year. One of Rita’s most memorable race experiences is of the 2004 monsoon that left runners on race day battling through a constant downpour and waves of ankle high water. The Media Police and the Media Fire Company kept everyone safe and remarkably, able to compete and finish! Without the police, the fire company and the Media Public Works crew, the Media 5 Mile Race would not be possible. In the late 1990s and into the new millennium, the Media 5 Mile Race had grown in size and renown under the combined efforts of the Media Borough Council and the Delco Road Runners Club. The DRRC introduced the innovative technique of chip timing in the late 1990’s. The Media 5 Mile Race was one of the first races in the tri-state area to use it. The introduction of such timing brought the race to an entirely different level for runners and the M5M became even more popular and competitive with runners no longer waiting a long time for results in the heat or soaking rain.

Currently, the Media 5 Mile Race Committee consists of experienced volunteers who worked hard to make this year’s race the best ever. As a commemorative gift, all finishers received a finisher’s medal uniquely designed for the 40th Annual Run of this year’s race.

Over the last forty years, the Media 5 Mile Race has established itself as one of the most exciting and competitive races in our area. Proceeds from the race contribute to 23 Media based charities and organizations including the Media-Upper Providence Library and also pledging $25,000 towards the Media Playground Project. Credit belongs also to the many sponsors who have throughout the years demonstrated their support for the race. The Media Business Authority continues to help build the Media 5 Mile Race become THE premier race throughout our area.