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‘New York Tony’ brings excitement to Susque-View 5K run/walk

PHOTOS LANA MUTHLER/THE EXPRESS Tony Amatudo handed out medals to the top three males and top three females crossing the finish line, and then posed with them for a photo. From left, front, are Gina Blase, Tony, Camry McCann; back, Emily Hendricks, Luke Robinson, Jason Eyer and Kenny Kuntz.

LOCK HAVEN — It’s about raising money for residents of local nursing home.

It’s about getting some exercise while having a little fun.

It’s about competing for a gold, silver or bronze medal.

And it’s about meeting a former New York City Marathon runner.

It’s Susque-View’s third annual “Run for Residents,” a 5K walk/run, held last Saturday, and it was as exciting and fulfilling as it was billed to be.

Runners take off as the race begins.

Fifty-seven men, women and children were at the starting line on a cold chilly morning, coaxed from the warm building to the Rocky theme — “Gonna Fly Now’ — and the guest of honor, Tony Amatudo, an 83-year-old nursing home resident who ran in two New York City Marathons in 1986 and 1987. It was that song that Tony listened to as he practiced for those marathons… fists jabbing like Rocky himself.

New York Tony, as he likes to be called, has been a resident of Susque-View for four months and the inspiration behind this year’s 5K, helping with preparations and encouraging participants.

As the time for the race to begin came, Tony gave a pep talk.

“I’ve heard a lot of workers here say they were going to come, but they can’t run. Well, just walk… crawl if you have to. I never won the marathon. I didn’t run the whole thing. I walked, I sat down, I stopped five times. No matter what you have to do, finish the race,” Tony said.

And then they were off, running down the hill from Susque-View and taking the course that winded through Lock Haven University and back to the same place where they started.

The entire Robinson family from Avis completed the race, each in their own time. From left are Seth, Luke, Heather, Pat, Paul and Joel, with Shawn in front. Luke was the first runner to cross the finish line.

It was 25.32 minutes later that the first runner, 17-year-old Luke Robinson of Avis, crossed the finish line. He took first place in the male division. Second place in the male division went to Jason Eyer of Lamar and Kenny Kuntz of Linden was the third place man.

For the females, 10-year-old Camry McCann wowwed the crowd with her first-place finish, followed by Gina Blase, second and Emily Hendricks, third.

Also getting a loud round of applause was Teagan, a beautiful Irish Setter, who completed the race with owner Audrey Flick.

Among the participants was the Robinson family from Avis. Heather and Pat Robinson and their five sons completed the race. Pat is chief financial officr at Susque-View, and as expected he and his wife were last of the family to reach the finish line. Son Seth was the first male to finish and the rest of the boys– Seth, Paul, Joel and Shawn — finished in between.

And one of the finishers took Tony’s advise as she neared the finish line. Looking over at Tony, she got down on her hands and knees and crawled across the line. He smiled broadly as she walked over to shake his hand.

Tony announces the winners with Susque-View nurse Sue Packer at his side.

During the medal ceremony, Tony was there to place the gold, silver and bronze medallions around the necks of the winners.

A fitting ending for this event and for this former marathon runner who still gets excited when he tells stories about his life in New York City and the races he competed in as a younger man.

If he’d had it his way on this day, he would have started this race, too, said Susan Packer, one of his nurses.

“I was gonna give it a try,” he said with a smile, wearing a warm New York Marathon knitted cap that’s among his souvenirs from his racing days.

Special guests at the 5K were Tony’s brother and sister from New York, Ann Marie Cillis of Queens and Mike Amatrudo of Long Island, at left. Also pictured are Sue Packer, a nurse at Susque-View and her sister, Cindy, who Tony calls his angels.

Tony places the gold medal around Luke Robinson’s neck. Luke, 17, was the first to cross the finish line in 25:32 minutes.

Audrey Flick and her Irish Setter, Teagan, were among those who crossed the finish line.

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