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Susquehanna Life

Battle of the ‘Burgs is Born

Jun 03, 2015 07:55PM ● By Erica Shames

In 2011, Tara Michaels started Fit for Funds, LLC to provide fun, organized fitness events for the community. “After organizing the Lewisburg Sprint Triathlon, I realized how much I enjoyed organizing events for the community,” said Michaels. “I began to connect with groups who were looking to increase awareness and funds for their causes, and the two goals meshed naturally. I love the positive and lively atmosphere at races, and seeing the community come together for fun and fitness!”

Erica Shames, founder and publisher of Susquehanna Life magazine, met Michaels when she signed up to run the inaugural Lewisburg Half Marathon in 2014, which her company helped sponsor. As founder of the Michael P. Baker Community Impact Fund, Shames was in search of an event to raise funds and honor the spirit of the Lewisburg chiropractor who died in 2013 as a result of inoperable brain cancer.

“As a runner, I thought a 5K race would be a great way to raise funds for the Mike Baker Community Impact Fund,” said Shames. “Sue Baker [Mike’s wife] reminded me that Mike was assistant track coach at Bucknell for several years and a footrace would be a perfect way to honor his memory.”

A race is born

Not knowing how to stage a race, Shames contacted Michaels for assistance. 

“I had wanted to create a race on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail,” shares Michaels. “The trail is such a great connector for active people in the community. The idea to stage the Michael Baker race on the trail seemed a perfect fit.”

Michaels’ idea was to create a race that pitted two regions – east and west – against each other in a friendly competition that allows participants to start at either end of the trail. Shames and Michaels met to iron out the details, and the idea for the Battle of the ‘Burgs, taking place June 19 at 6:30 p.m. was born. The 3-mile race is open to walkers and runners. Participants can choose to start in Lewisburg or Mifflinburg and the end point is the middle of the rail trail, approximately at Ard’s Farm.

After the run

A post-race family-friendly celebration will take place at Ard’s, from 7 to 9:30 p.m, including an all-you-can-eat BBQ buffet, beer sampling from the new Mifflinburg microbrewery Rusty Nail and live music by Hirsute a compilation band headed up by Mark Cresswell and Jake Walter. Wine will be available for purchase from Shade Mountain Winery and Fero Vineyards.

Adding to the excitement is a designation of Most Spirited ‘Burger, and the side with the most race participants who arrive at Ard's in 42 minutes or less will get their ‘Burg’s name listed on the official Battle of the ‘Burgs plaque stationed at Ard’s, to be updated annually.

“This is an event for the community as well as a fundraiser for the Michael P. Baker Community Impact Fund,” explained Shames. “Proceeds, after expenses, will be given to the fund, to distribute to area families coping with catastrophic illness or events.”

“It really should be a fun night of fitness, competition, food, brew and comradery,” added Michaels. “The number of race participants is capped at 250, however there is no cap on the post-party. We hope entire families will join us, regardless of whether they race.”

Sponsors of the event include Ard’s Farm Market & Catering; Rusty Rail Brewing Co.; Fit for Funds, LLC; Associated Oral Surgeons; John D. Rinehart, DMD, Cosmetic and Family Dentistry; and Susquehanna Life magazine. 

Not a walker or runner and want to volunteer? Call Erica Shames at (570) 522-0149 to sign up!

If you go

Battle of the ‘Burgs is June 19, 2015, 6:30 p.m.

Who can participate: walkers and runners

Start locations: Lewisburg and Mifflinburg

Cost: $40 for race, BBQ buffet and brew sampling; designated driver: $35 for race and barbecue buffet; 10 years & under: $30 for race and barbecue buffet; race only: $20; party only: $25

Register today at

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