On April 18th I spent a few hours with some of the HST Conservancy volunteers working on a trail reroute near Geigertown. This section of trail should be familiar to many of you since it was one of the big climbs on the former Charlie Horse course. The old section is the .8 mile long 350 foot climb from Furnace Rd (Aid Station 2) to the top of the hill. The new section is 1.3 miles long with the same altitude gain.
A few years ago the so-called Terada Tract of land was acquired by the state of PA and given to the William Penn State Forest to manage. When possible, the HST Conservancy tries to route the trail on to public/state land. When the trail crosses private property, there is alway the risk of a landowner rescinding permission for trail use or the property is sold and new owners don’t want the trail on their property. So it was pretty obvious that this was a good opportunity to move the trail off from private property to protect more of the trail. The HST Conservancy worked with the state to place the trail on the tract and this year finally got approval from the Bureau of Forestry to proceed.
So on the 18th the HST Conservancy formed a work team and the new trail was cut. Most of the new trail follows old abandoned fire roads, so there were only a few spots that required heavy rock work. A majority of the work entailed removing undergrowth and bench cutting a tread.
I think most runners will enjoy the new section. The hill is much more runnable (maybe that’s not a good thing).
Do you miss lining up on the starting line at major city races?
Fleet Feet West Reading is hosting a FREE Facebook Live Event on Tuesday, May 11 @ 6:30pm to share some mental tools and actions to navigate the fatigue that we are all experiencing surrounding virtual races.
Prior to the pandemic changing everything running-related, Dale Wiest presented at a Pacers’ meeting the concept of our members volunteering to use adaptive joggers to allow athletes from the IMABLE Foundation to participate in local running races. The combination of the relaxation of social distancing rules, the Shiver by the River race going live, and a recent Pagoda Pacers monetary donation to IMABLE allowed Dale’s vision to become a reality. On April 11, 2021, Dale, Evan Falk, and Michael Whalen joined super athlete Brantlee Phillips at the starting line for a wet and cold 5K adventure. Brantlee enjoyed the speedbumps and puddles as he passed cheering road marshals, other athletes, and fans for a commendable 14th place finish. The three Pagoda Pacers Race Mates all agreed that this was an extraordinary experience. The first place overall female runner presented Brantlee with her large trophy! Brantlee proudly wore his finisher’s medal to school the next day and was very proud of his accomplishment. It is reported that Brantlee has the “race bug” and is looking to compete again.
The Race Mates program is in its infancy and we are hopeful to grow the program rapidly. IMABLE has purchased additional adaptive joggers and we are scheduled to assist four athletes on May 2, 2021. The goal of the program is to eliminate the barriers that prevent athletes from participating in running events. Currently the only races that will be considered are 5K or less, paved, or smooth rail-to-trail. There are many safety factors that need to be considered for this program. All Pagoda Pacers are eligible to participate as a race guide or in other volunteer roles in the Race Mates program. Please contact Dale Wiest, Kristen Jacoby, or Michael Whalen if you are interested.
April ended with a HOT night at Blue Marsh. Is it summer already? Get your sunscreen and bug spray out; bring an extra water bottle, and come run with us on Wednesday!
Reminder: We need everyone to sign in (and sign a waiver) before EACH Wednesday Night Run. This is necessary for our insurance and for contact tracing (if necessary). Make sure you familiarize yourself with the GROUP RUN GUIDELINES AND WAIVER before attending.