Families turn out for Lititz Pretzel Twist Run and Walk


Three generations of the Edwards family line up at the start of the Pretzel Twist 5-mile Run. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

At only seven weeks old, little Eleanor Edwards may very well have been the youngest one in this year’s 37th Annual Pretzel Twist 5 Mile Run/3.5 Walk/Kids Fun Run.She was slumbering in a stroller as three generations of her family gathered near her at the starting line for the 37th running of the annual event that benefits programs at the Lititz recCenter.

“We’re new to Lititz,” said mom Erin Edwards, while nearby her husband J, her mother Michele, and father Randy Taylor stretched for the run. It would be the patriarch’s first five-mile race. Two- and-a-half-year old daughter Margaret sat in her stroller.

The Edwards were one of a growing number of families who participated in this year’s Pretzel Run. The race, which took place on September 20, was different in that way.


Katie Martin gets ready to run with daughter Adelyn and her mother, Carol. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

“I saw a lot of groups of families together,” said Deb Smith, marketing director of the recCenter, after the event. “The recCenter is a very family-oriented place.”

The Martin clan came out six members strong Saturday morning, with 22- year-old Katie pushing 6-month old Adelyn in a stroller, Martin mom Carol nearby, and siblings Kinsey, Mariya, and Colton comparing their training times.

“I’ve done a 5K before, so I thought we’d try this one,” said Colton, who reported running a previous four- and- a-half miles in 30 minutes.

Father Daughter at start of Pretzel Twist Run

Andrew Kerstetter and his 6-year-old daughter, Shelby, start out the race. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

Nearby Andrew Kerstetter was preparing to walk with his 6-year-old daughter, Shelby, on the 5K.

“It’s all she’s been talking about all week,” said Kerstetter of his daughter, a first grader at Bonfield Elementary. It would be Shelby’s first race.

Dressed in matching fluorescent yellow racing shirts, siblings Jenessa, Lance, and Bryant Hosler took part together in the race. Lance has cerebral palsy that affects his gross motor skills, so he was pushed in an old manual wheelchair that his brother took to a bike shop and had modified.

Lance, seated, Jenessa, and Bryant Hosler snapped a selfie at the starting line. Photo courtesy Lance Hosler.

Lance, seated, Jenessa, and Bryant Hosler snapped a selfie at the starting line. Photo courtesy Lance Hosler.

“At the bike shop a front wheel and a steering mechanism was custom made and added to the chair,” wrote Lance in an email after the race. “It works great!”

Lance’s brother Bryant shot video during the Pretzel Twist race on his GoPro, which you can view at the end of this article along with footage shot at the starting line and the finish line by LititzDailyNews.com.

Proceeds from the event go towards implementation of programs at the RecCenter, with runners who take part for a variety of reasons.

Runners and walkers course through Lititz at the start of the Pretzel Twist Run/Walk. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

Runners and walkers course through Lititz at the start of the Pretzel Twist Run/Walk. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

“For a lot of people it’s the history of the race,” said Smith. “A lot even go for the course.”

Clair Clawser has taken part in much of that Pretzel Twist history.  Clawser, 69, who claims to have completed 1,072 prior races, recalls taking part in “at least a dozen” of the recCenter races.

Clawser, a material handler for Lancaster Newspapers, enjoys walking since he stands in one position most of the day.

“After spending all day with my feet glued to the floor, then to go run or walk a race on Saturday morning, that is hard,” said Clawser.  “If I can get in a real good practice on Thursday, that sets me up for Saturday,” he said.

First Place finisher Daryl Weaver wins the Pretzel Twist 5-mile Run

Daryl Weaver crosses the finish line first in the Pretzel Twist 5-mile run. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

Both courses started at the recCenter, wound through Lititz, and ended just beyond where they began.

The finish line was crossed first by veteran runner Daryl Weaver, with a time of 25:23 Just over a minute later, Tim Getz tripped the timer with a 26:02 finish for second place. Right behind Getz was runner Stever Gergely, who came in third just five seconds later.

Brooke Magni crosses the finish line as the first-place female winner.

First-place female finisher Brooke Magni finished the 5-mile course in 30:54.

While some family members traveled the course together, others waited at the finish line to cheer for their loved ones.

When first-place female finisher Brooke Magni finished the 5-mile course in 30:54, she was greeted with hugs and high-fives.

Isaac and Daugter after the race

Isaac Kramer carried 21-month old daughter Alexa Dowhower after finishing the race. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

After finishing seventh in the 5-mile, Lebanon runner Isaac Kramer carried 21-month old daughter Alexa Dowhower on his shoulders.

“It was a good race day for me,” said Kramer. “I ran harder than almost any race.”

The Edwards clan celebrated everyone’s finish.

Edwards cross the finish line.

Three generations of Edwards cross the finish line within seconds of each other. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

“I was so proud of my dad for doing his first race,” said Erin Edwards. “It was awesome to see him cross the finish line, she said, adding proudly that her husband, J, had his personal best time at the race. He clocked in at 39:46, landing him in the top 100 finishers at the event. The family celebrated with some “great omelets.”

Colton Finish

Colton Martin runs for the finish line. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

The Martin family had a great time running in the Pretzel Twist and turned in some impressive times.

“We all really enjoyed the race,” said Carol Martin, noting that it was the first 5-miler for at three of the runners. “We were all glad to finish.”

Not only did they finish, but four of the Martins finished in the top three of their respective age groups, with Katie, Kinsey, and Colton placing first.

Katie Martin finished first in her age group among female runners.

Katie Martin after crossing the finish line first in her age group among female runners, with daughter Adelyn in the stroller.

Katie Martin came in at the front of the race among females aged 20-25 with a 43:30 time, even while pushing daughter Adelyn in a stroller.

Kinsey Martin placed first among the 15-19 year old females with a 37:26 and

Mariya Martin was third in the females aged 14 and under.

“It was really hard, but I was really glad that I did it,” said Mariya. “it was great having people cheering you on,” she added, noting that it made her run faster.

Kinsey Martin crosses the finish line

Kinsey Martin as she finished the race first in her age group. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

Colton Martin won first place among the 15-19 males, turning in a 34:28 time.

“It was difficult but fun,” said Colton Martin after the race. Though he was sore from running, he and his hungry siblings headed straight to the omelet bar after they finished.

For Carol Martin, winning wasn’t what mattered most.

“I was just happy that I finished and that I did it without walking,” she said. “The middle of the race was really hard, but it was so thrilling to get close to the finish line and hear your family yelling ‘Go, Mom!’ It was so worth it.”


Mariya Martin received recognition for her third-place finish in her age group.

The Martins enjoy running together as a family because it’s a sport that they can participate in together and improve at their own pace.

“I thought it was great fun running a race with other family members,” Kinsey said. “It was fun having a whole bunch of us running.”

Shelby Kerstetter shows off her medal from the Kids Fun Run.

Shelby Kerstetter shows off her medal from the Kids Fun Run. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

Shelby Kerstetter crossed the finish line of her first 5K with a grin on her face, striding next to her father. She later took part in the Kids Fun Run, where she received a medal.

“I wanted to be able to see if she could handle it,” said her father, Andrew. “She was kinda jogging to keep up to me.” He hopes to run a 10K with Shelby by his side.

The Hoslers were surrounded by family at the finish line, cheering for them and congratulating them on their success.

“This is the first time we did the Pretzel Run,” said Lance, adding that they were looking for more runs to do after completing a 10-mile run in Philadelphia in May.

Clair Clawser finished the 5K walk as the third-place male overall, turning in a time of 40:59 behind first-place finisher Neil Beatty and second-place walker David Dagen who finished only two seconds apart.Omelet line

Moebius after the race

Heide Moebius, who came in first in the 70+ age group. Photo by Lynn Rebuck

“I’m a little bit slower,” said Clawser afterwards, “but I’m 69 and I’m a 2-year cancer survivor.” His thoughts, like those of other racers in the Pretzel Twist, were already turning to the next race.

“This was a nice little warm up for me,” said Heide Moebius, 75, who took first place in the women’s 70 and over category with a 42:32. For her, the event was a chance to prepare for an upcoming half marathon. “And the omelets weren’t too bad either,” she said.



Lynn Rebuck covers special events for LititzDailyNews.com. She welcomes your comments and questions to editor@LititzDaily.com. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter @LititzDaily