Off the Beaten Path Trail Runs to Add to Your Calendar

by Benita Zahn

In my last article for The Pace Setter, I looked at the issue of the challenge to attract runners. The plethora of races, the rising entry fee costs and changing attitudes about racing seem to be key factors. As I learned from talking with race directors, runners in the 20-39 age group are more likely to sign up for a race if it's linked with a fundraiser. In short, running for a cause has a greater appeal than simply running for a “time.” To that end, two new entries should become big hits in the coming years.

I had the good fortune to be asked to MC the GET YOUR REAR IN GEAR inaugural 5k in Glens Falls on September 9th. This is an event of the Colon Cancer Coalition, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting prevention and early detection of colon cancer and providing support to those affected. It was held at the Glens Falls YMCA and run on a sweet but challenging trail course adjacent to the Y building. Although you could hear traffic from the Northway in spots and it cut across a right of way for power lines, you felt secluded. Because the ground was a bit soft due to rain earlier in the week when I hit THE WALL, a section of trail marked as such, I had to walk. Clearly my hill training needs work! Other than that, it was a lovely rolling, well-marked course that I highly encourage you to run next year. More than 60 runners took part this year. Snacks: good. T-shirt: fine and dandy. As for the organizers, they couldn't be any nicer.

The other "must run" is the race sponsored by Building on Love. BOL provides grants to help with housing and transportation for families who have a critically ill child. The race wraps up a field day at the Pitney Meadows Community Farm in Saratoga Springs. But you can simply sign up to run. The course, which starts at twilight loops around the farm. I felt as if I was in a scene from the movie “FIELD OF DREAMS.” 127 runners and walkers toed the line on September 20th just as the sky was transitioning from day to evening. Smartly placed solar lights were on the ground illuminating the turns. No hills or 'WALL' on this flat course, but it was both enchanting and far from boring. Following the race there was a bonfire and fixings for s'mores. Just don't look for “place prizes,” as race director and Fleet Feet owner Charles Woodruff says, “It’s not that kind of race.” This is about running for the joy of the sport and helping families stay afloat as they help their child stay alive. I'd say that's a pretty good reason to join the pack next year.

BenitaLogo.pngAbout Dr. Benita Zahn

Benita is a certified Health and Wellness Coach working with clients at Capital Cardiology Associates. 

Benita spent more than 40 years as a health reporter and news anchor at WNYT in Albany, NY. She covered issues such as wellness, treatment breakthroughs, aging, nutrition, and the latest health care trends. Benita’s work has taken her around the world and across the USA.  Benita is a contributor to the weekly “Live Smart” page in the Times Union, the HMRRC Pace Setter and the new magazine 55+LIVING. Benita also created and co-hosts the podcast EVERYTHING THEATER.  

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