Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Mount Washington to host Run for Roch

Another run for the running mates. The notice of this event came to me from a Mt. Washington friend, Tracy.
Mount Washington to host Run for Roch
Race to remember well-known runner who drowned last July...

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Mount Washington to host Run for Roch
Race to remember well-known runner who drowned last July
Thursday, June 23, 2005

By Pohla Smith, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Almost a year ago, on July 31, well-known Mount Washington runner Roch "Rocky" Furguiele Jr. jumped off a bridge while swimming with friends in the Cheat River near Masontown, W.Va. He never surfaced.

His body was recovered five days later less than 100 yards downstream.

The streets of Mount Washington have seemed a lot emptier since then -- so empty, in fact, that local businesses and the Mount Washington Community Development Center suggested a commemorative race to his family. Coaches at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania, where he ran track and cross country as an undergraduate, and at the University of Pittsburgh, where he was a volunteer coach, came up with the same idea.

It took some negotiating with the city of Pittsburgh's special events committee to get approval, but the Run for Roch, a 5K run and 1-mile walk atop the city's most famous hilltop, will take place July 30, beginning at 8:45 a.m., his mother, Donna DiRenna, announced yesterday. Proceeds will fund a scholarship in Furguiele's name for students to go to Slippery Rock.

July 30 also has been designated Mount Washington Community Day, and after the races, Shiloh Street will be dotted with a disc jockey, bands, sidewalk sales, food vendors and children's activities.

"He was such a great person," DiRenna said of her son. "Everybody loved him. This is something they wanted to do in his memory. And it will help Pittsburgh public schools. He was one of them. He went to three of them."

A Carrick High School graduate, Furguiele won two 3,200-meter City League championships and one at 1,600 meters. He qualified for the NCAA nationals while running for Slippery Rock, his mother said.

The race route starts on Grandview Avenue at the Monongahela Incline, runs all the way to the end of Grandview at Republic Street, reverses to take the runners back on Grandview to McArdle Road, then 0.2 miles down and then back up McArdle to Grandview and on home to the incline.

The walk starts on Grandview at the Mon Incline and goes to St. Mary of the Mount Church and back.

Registration by mail, due July 22, is $16; race-day registration is $18. The registration forms can be picked up at DiFiore's Ice Cream Delite, 120 Shiloh St., or obtained by calling race director Alaina Spanoudakis, 412-381-2479. The fees and forms should be sent to Run for Roch, P.O. Box 6073, Pittsburgh 15211.

(Pohla Smith can be reached at or 412 263-1228.)