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Trek through Shady Side Academy benefits Cooper-Siegel Community Library in Fox Chapel

Tawnya Panizzi
| Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
Jill McConnell, along with Kermit the Frog, hope to spread the word of an upcoming 5K as a way of fundraising for the Cooper-Siegel Library in Fox Chapel.
Jan Pakler | for The Herald
Jill McConnell, along with Kermit the Frog, hope to spread the word of an upcoming 5K as a way of fundraising for the Cooper-Siegel Library in Fox Chapel.

Instead of racing through a good book, leaders of the Cooper-Siegel Community Library want people to lace up and hit the road for real.

It's all to raise money for the library in its first annual 5K run/walk, at 8 a.m. Oct. 6. The all-terrain course will wind through the Shady Side Academy campus along Fox Chapel Road.

“We have a lot of people who love to run around here,” said library manager and race organizer Jill McConnell. “And there aren't too many races right in this area.

“We thought it would attract people.”

The cost to participate is $25 in advance or $30 on race day. Proceeds will benefit the library's operating fund.

“It helps us continue our mission to cultivate a community of lifelong readers,” said library executive director Stephanie Flom.

Serving the communities that make up the Fox Chapel Area School District, the library along Fox Chapel Road is stocked with more than 80,000 books, movies and reference materials.

Since the move to the $6- million facility in 2011, programs for children, teens and adults have grown, Flom said.

There are rooms dedicated to homework help, story times, art, computers and more.

“We are thrilled to offer a new event that brings the community together and provides much-needed funds for the library's operations,” Flom said. “We wanted to do a fun event that can bring out whole families, whether to run or to cheer on.”

McConnell, a running enthusiast, said she often had thought it would be fun to host a 5K fundraiser for the library, which is in Fox Chapel. When a patron suggested it as well, she thought, “Now's the time.”

There is no online registration; it is limited to paper this year. Forms are available at Vigor Fitness in Indiana Township, bFit Studio and Boyd Community Center in O'Hara, and Nota Bene in Aspinwall. They also are available to download on the library website at

Runners and walkers will kick off the three-mile loop at the front gates of Shady Side Academy and follow campus streets to the school trail and athletic fields before finishing near the center of campus.

“The course is a little bit of challenging terrain,” McConnell said. “There's road, grass, track,” she said. “Because of that, there are no strollers or dogs allowed.”

The race will conclude with a festival-type setting with music, food and awards. McConnell said she hopes to draw at least 200 participants this year.

“After people hear about it, we hope to keep growing,” she said

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2, or

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