STATE COLLEGE, Pa (WTAJ)– Nearly 400 runners were greeted with cheers and excitement from friends and volunteers when they crossed the finish line at the Nittany Valley Half Marathon Sunday.

This 13.1-mile course went around Penn State’s University Park Campus, finishing at the old visitor center across from Beaver Stadium.

The 37-year staple run returned in-person for the first time since 2019. Race Director Katrina D’Anca said that many runners were excited to have the running event and donate for the cause.

Proceeds from the run will go towards the Centre Volunteers in Medicine, which provides free healthcare to uninsured people. They’ve been working with the marathon for the past eight years. Executive Director of CVIM Cheryl White said that healthcare is more crucial than before because of the many effects from the pandemic.

“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen an increase in the demand for our services,” White said. “With people losing their employment and losing their insurance. We try to get the word out there to continue your healthcare.”

“I think everyone understands what CVIM did for us, and they want to come out and run a great race and give to our community,” D’Anca said.

The fundraising goal this year was for $30,000. D’Anca said that the team is close to reaching its goal. This year’s title sponsor is the Cali, Wagner, Millward team at RE/MAX Centre Realty. They pledged to continue their 15-year partnership, and also fund $30,000 for the next three years.

First-timers to the race are the Iacobelli family. The four family members have each done running of some sort in the past. While each member finished at different times, they cheered one another on, right to the finish line.

“It’s definitely a great way to raise awareness, so whatever we can do to help, and we’ll get a good race out of it too,” Owen Iacobelli said.

Mother of the family Sharon checked off one thing from her bucket list.

“My birthday was yesterday, no, two days ago, and I said to the kids for my birthday I want to run a half with you,” Sharon Iacobelli said.

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