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Volunteers offer support for runners

November 19, 2006|by PEPPER BALLARD

In a tight space near the 44th JFK 50 Mile finish line on Saturday, a group of Citigroup volunteers whistled, cheered and offered helping hands to the exhausted runners.

"There's a whole bunch coming, we better get ready," Joanne Berdine told her daughters, who were lining their tiny arms with medals to pass out to the runners.

Berdine arranged the silver medals on a folding table, and looped their red, white and blue ribbons around her arms.

Her daughters, Emily Berdine, 7, and Kassidy Berdine, 5, followed suit. The two girls were dwarfed among the runners who passed into a bottleneck between a parked camper and a curb, but were not timid about giving the competitors their rewards.

Bob Udovich whistled and clapped as the runners approached the finish line.

Udovich said Citigroup employees, participating in Global Community Day, got a team together to volunteer at the race, which ended at Springfield Middle School in Williamsport.

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"Most people are smiling as they come across the finish line," said one of the volunteers, Chad Warren, 27, of Chambersburg, Pa. "They should be exhausted."

Six miles from the Citigroup group of volunteers, Williamsport High School freshmen and indoor track team members Amanda Cordelli and Samantha Ebersole cheered on runners and supplied them with drinks.

The 14-year-old girls said they were impressed when they saw the first-place winner, Pete Breckinridge, a 36-year-old resident of Norfolk, Va., run past them.

"He was kind of older, and it was kind of shocking," Amanda said.

Amanda said she has run three miles for cross country, but can't imagine running 50.

The girls said they were surprised at the beverage requests made by the runners, but they handed out mostly water, Pepsi and Gatorade.

"We got asked for Mountain Dew," Amanda said.

"We got asked for beer, too," Samantha said.

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