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Muhlenberg College

Friday, May 21, 2010

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Women’s lacrosse honor

Mule football coach runs for charity

As a former football offensive lineman and basketball forward at Division I Canisius, Muhlenberg offensive coordinator Tom Perkovich did his fair share of running in college.

But none of it could have prepared him for what he’s about to face next Sunday: the first marathon of his life, which he will run in Buffalo, N.Y., not far from his hometown of Tonawanda.

Tom Perkovich “In football and basketball you train for the short burst stuff,” he said, “and most of it is stop and go. This is just pure distance running for a long period of time.”

Throw in the fact that Perkovich is 6-5 and 250 pounds – not exactly the typical runner’s build – and he’s faced quite a few skeptics during his training.

“A lot of people think I’m crazy for doing it, partly because of my size,” he said. “There will definitely be people there saying, ‘Wow, that’s a big guy.’ But I got into running a couple of years ago and really wanted to do it, and a couple of my friends and my fiancée are doing it, too.”

Tom Perkovich Having friends and family running with him and cheering him on will certainly help Perkovich, and he believes the time he has spent first as college athlete and now as a college coach will help him along the way as well.

“Seeing as it’s my first marathon, I’m going to hit the wall,” he said. “You’re not going to finish if you’re not mentally tough enough, so being a former athlete and a coach will help in overcoming the mental aspect of it.”

But much more is at stake for Perkovich than simply doing his best in the race. After signing up for it, he decided to use his running to help a good cause. He has been seeking sponsors to pledge $1 per mile, with all of the donations going to Lauren’s First And Goal Foundation, a charitable organization started in 2004 in honor of Lauren Loose, a 13-year-old pediatric brain tumor survivor. Lauren is the daughter of Lafayette defensive coordinator John Loose, a close friend of the entire Muhlenberg coaching staff.

“John is a hell of a football coach and will do anything for you,” said Perkovich, who has volunteered at Loose’s summer football camps for the last few years. “It’s important for us as a football program and as an athletic department to support things like this. Everyone knows someone who has been affected by cancer, and when it’s a child it hits home even more.”

LFG has raised more than $800,000 for brain tumor research and cancer services since its inception, and Perkovich is hoping to add at least a little more to that number.

Of course, considering all the hard work he’s put into running his first marathon, he’s also hoping for one other thing.

“My goal is to finish,” he said with a smile. “I’d like to come in around four hours, but the goal is just to finish. It’s a long way to run.”

To make a pledge, write a check for $26 to Lauren’s First And Goal Foundation and send it to Tom Perkovich at 2400 Chew Street, Allentown, PA 18104. For more information on Lauren’s First And Goal Foundation, please visit www.laurensfirstandgoal.org.

Muhlenberg® Collegeempty2400 Chew St.emptyAllentown, PA 18104-5586empty484.664.3100empty484.664.3623  (TTY)