Category Archives: Half Marathon

Sign Up Early…Events are Selling Out!

There’s still time to register for the Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon and 5k. There is a hard cap on both events – 2,000 max for half marathon and 1,000 max for the 5k. Register online now at If you do not have internet access, please contact Paul Fisher 717-380-1109.

Be a part of the race, without leaving home!

If you live along the race route, runners greatlyappreciate cheering, encouraging posters, a misting hose, or a little entertainment. Show your community spirit and do something that suits you or if you’re short on ideas, contact Stanley Shrock 717-587-6284.


Wonderful Weather Arrives for Run, Ride & Soar


A tagline for Run, Ride & Soar is, “The joy of running in community.” After a five-inch rainfall on Thursday, September 10, there was no greater joy than celebrating a clear Friday evening with community, including both Bird-in-Hand neighbors and out-of-town visitors. Colorful hot air balloons launched, children excelled in the Kids Run, 5K runners crossed the finish line, and lots of pasta, pizza, pies and s’mores were served.

On Saturday, September 12 the rain held off for the Half Marathon that began at 7:30 am. The country roads along the course were lined with enthusiastic fans and local volunteers who staffed the water stations. There were hoses for cooling off and musicians to provide inspiration. And as always, the scenery in the beautiful farmlands was exhilarating and made the challenging run worthwhile.2015-12-01_15-05-22

This event is growing each year. There is a special community spirit here in Bird-in-Hand that draws people from 45 states plus Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, Belgium, Canada, Great Britain, Germany, Guyana, Ireland, Scotland and Sweden. We have a wonderful testimony of neighbors working side-by-side to benefit the local Fire Company. We have plenty of goodwill to go around. When the runners come to Bird-in-Hand, they really do experience the joy of running in commnity. Read their responses to the race.

  • Thank you for the warm welcome!
  • Great course, great weather, great folks!
  • This experience is worth the flight from Germany!!!
  • Fabulous race for a superb cause! I took a photo that captures everything: first responders, Amish pacer, runners and community!
  • This was definitely one of the best, prettiest, and friendliest races I’ve ever done.
  • Great job again BIH Half Marathon organizers. You sure do know how to do it right.
  • Beautiful scenery, great volunteers, good food, friendliest and most organized race!
  • Wonderfully organized, beautiful route and amazing people supporting the runners.
  • During the after-race, I had a chance to sit with an Amish family. I thanked them for welcoming us into their community and serving us!
  • Absolutely the most organized, family-friendly, scenic and downright “funnest” race I’ve ever run!
  • My neck hurts from wearing my awesome medal around!

Run, Ride & Soar Coordinator Jim Smucker said, “The Fire Company and the Bird-in-Hand community hit another grand slam this year! Although that is baseball terminology and not runners’ lingo, we definitely hit this event out of the ballpark!”


a. Off and running, Half Marathon runners begin their 13.1 mile journey.
b. Gordonville Ambulance personnel are ready to provide vital runner rehab services.
c. A happy couple displays their horseshoe medals and Road Apple Awards.
d. Community members gather along Church Rd. to cheer on runners who love our countryside.
e. Race founders John and Jim Smucker lend their support each year.
f. Lou Ann Hoerner serves shoofly and apple pie, traditional goodies that represent the hospitality of our area.
g. Local craftsmen spend significant time hand making all of the awards given at our races.
h. Local families provide a much-needed service of handing cups to runners at 10 different aid stations.
i. The end of a perfect evening is making s’mores over an open fire as locals and out-of-town guests mingle.

SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT: Bird-in-Hand Corporation and the Fire Company

img252There is a long-standing relationship between the Fire Company and the Bird-in-Hand Corporation, which is owned by members of the Smucker family. The Smuckers have been a part of the Bird-in-Hand community for over 100 years, since they bought their farm east of the village in 1911.

As the Smuckers farmed their land, they developed close ties with their neighbors and became involved in community life by joining the Fire Company. Eighty-five-yearold John I. Smucker remembers leaving the farm chores as a young man to drive the engine to the fires. These family members served as Fire Company chiefs: Paul Smucker in 1972-1977 and Jerry Smucker in 1978 and 1982-1986.

This multi-generational relationship between the Smucker family and the Fire Company still benefits the community today. Presently two of the largest fundraisers for the Fire Company have been developed in collaboration with the Smuckers.

In the late 2000s the Fire Company made a strategic shift in their approach to fundraising by seeking out a few large events instead of many small fundraisers. At the same time Bird-in-Hand Corporation wanted to use its land on the Smucker Homestead as an event venue. In June 2008 with the help of Jake King, Paul Stoltzfus and Elam Petersheim, they worked together to bring the Lancaster County Carriage and Antique Auction to the village. A successful partnership was formed with Bird-in-Hand, which provides the event site and also financial and technical assistance.

Many of the Smucker Family are avid runners, including Jim and John Smucker. In November 2010 Jim and John were instrumental in promoting and organizing the first Amish Country Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon. They also had the innovative idea to connect the race and the Fire Company. The event on the Homestead has evolved into the Run, Ride, and Soar weekend in early September, bringing thousands of people to the village. This has become a very profitable event for the Fire Company whose members serve as volunteers.

Bird-in-Hand and the Fire Company are committed to grow this event and make it more efficient. The emphasis is on friendly hospitality that creates an unforgettable experience in our picturesque community for the runners and other Guests.

John Smucker of the Bird-in-Hand Corporation explains the relationship, “We call on the Fire Company for protection and support and in return want to provide support and resources to them. As our business has experienced development and growth, the Fire Company has also developed into a professional organization. We appreciate that they are able to minimize damage when responding to a call for a company of our size. They reach for the appropriate techniques and tools. It is a sign of their level of training, sophisticated equipment, and their innovations and commitment.”

John also comments, “Our business is particularly interested in how the Fire Company is planning for its future in order to stay sustainable. Together we both share a strong vision for our community. And together we can accomplish our goals and make our community a good place to live and work.”


Bird-in-Hand Corporation provides the infrastructure for events. Darryl Hassler, Restaurant Operations Manager, consults with Fire Company Vice-President Paul Fisher. Together they offer the Friday evening Pasta Dinner on the Run, Ride, and Soar weekend under the big tent on the Smucker Homestead.

The Year 2012 in Review

  • Answered exactly 100 calls 50% structure fires 50% rescue, automatic fire alarms, vehicle fires, or EMS assist calls
  • Participated in 33 firefighter trainings for a total of 1,115.5 hours. There were four cooperative trainings with other companies plus training with Gordonville ambulance for vehicle rescues.
  • Installed new UHF radios in the trucks for the new county radio system. The new system provides more range and improved building penetration for the radio signals.
  • Finalized details for our new tank truck, which is expected to be in service in 2013.
  • img83 Sold 180 carriages, valuable antiques, lots of food, and more merchandise than ever to 1,200 bidders at the Carriage and Antique Auction on June 29. A hearty thank you to all of the volunteers!
  • At our Memorial Day weekend chicken barbecue we sold 2400 halves and on Labor Day weekend 2200 halves. The February 25 Pot Pie Dinner totals were 1,113 meals and 1,081 take-out quarts.
  • img87Hosted 1,900 runners in the Half Marathon, 5K, and Kid’s Fun Run on September 6 & 7. We served a spaghetti and Amish pizza supper on Friday evening and held our Fire Company Picnic under the big tent on Saturday afternoon until the rains came.img85
  • Prepared for Superstorm Sandy on October 27 by rounding up pumps, sandbags, hoses, vacs, chainsaws, and chains. We brushed up on firefighting tactics for wind-driven fires and prepped our backup dispatch base. Crews were at our station 24/7 during the storm.


Help Needed for Bird-in-Hand Half Marathon Events

Time Commitment: A few hours on September 7 or 8

Details: Because of a feature article in the April edition of Runner’s World, the response to the Bird-in- Hand Half Marathon, 5K, and Kids’ Fun Run on September 7 & 8 has been fantastic.

We are asking for many volunteers to help with the pre-race spaghetti dinner and the running events throughout the weekend. Tasks vary from parking cars to serving food to handing out water along the course.

Take your place on the organizational wheel! It will be an enjoyable weekend for our community as we volunteer together.

Interested? Contact Jim Smucker at 717.471.6733 or to inquire about this volunteer role.

The Year 2011 in Review

This was a unique year because many of the Fire Company responses were rescue oriented due to hurricanes, tropical storms, and flooding, rather than fires and vehicle accidents. Overall there were fewer incidents totaling 105 calls. Highlights of the year were…

  • SNAG-0004Installation of an additional overhead door allowed our Squad Truck to respond more quickly.
  • Chiefs were able to talk to our 9-1-1 dispatcher with handheld portable radios at the scene thanks to an upgraded radio system.
  • The Fire Company started the research phase of a three-year process to replace the 22-year-old tank truck.
  • (photo a & b) Guests got more than just chicken pot pie on February 26. In a 3-minute skit, BIHFC Safety Team members demonstrated the do’s and don’ts of kitchen safety. Volunteers served 790 people in the dining room, 1,328 takeout quarts, and 580 delivered meals.
  • (c) On April 2 the Fire Company honored one of its own and carried Paul Smucker, former President and Chief, through Bird-in-Hand to his final resting place at the Weavertown cemetery.
  • (d) 1,125 bidders, 290 consignors, 300 volunteers, and a few thousand additional visitors generated $13,000 for the Fire Company at the 12th Annual Lancaster County Carriage & Antique Auction on June 24th. This is Hand-in-Hand Fire Company’s version of a Mud Sale!
  • In the three days following Tropical Storm Lee in September, BIHFC volunteers assisted Elizabethtown, Manheim, and East Petersburg in water rescues and pumping basements.
  • (e) And…they’re off! The Amish Country Half Marathon, 5K, and Kid’s Fun Run attracted over 625 runners to downtown Bird-in-Hand on September 9 and 10. Proceeds benefitted the Fire Company.
  • (f) October 14th brought both sunshine and stormy weather, along with 300 energetic students and 50 parents to Student Safety Day. Over 30 volunteers from BIHFC, County Dispatch, Penn State Extension, and Lancaster General Health presented hands-on sessions for grades K-2 and 3-8.
Firefighters train extensively for emergencies. New firefighters must pass Essentials, over 166 hours of classroom & hands-on training. Experienced firefighters of Hand-in-Hand Fire Company average 60 hours per year in training.