Although this has seemed like the endless winter it is time now to get some sun and movement. Here is a menu of fun, inexpensive, adventurous, challenging, and scenic local events. Our region has some of the best places in the country to get outside. The brain loves movement and light. So if you have been a bit cold and blue, the process of getting ready for an event is a healthy one. Make sure to do it pain free and with a smile.
These events are locally supported and organized and benefit great causes. An exciting development this spring is the Bank of Charles Town partnering with The Harpers Ferry Half Marathon as presenting sponsor. Runners and walkers welcome at all events and we have some great local offerings to help prepare you
April 5: This Race is for the Birds (www.raceforthebirds.org) 7mile, 4 mile, 2 mile, and kids run. National Conservation and Training Center (NCTC). Shepherdstown. Great family event with something for everyone! NCTC is not normally open to the general public, so this is a wonderful opportunity made possible by our partners at NCTC. Come enjoy the beautiful trails through forests and fields along the Potomac River which are not normally open to the public. Participants will see an active Bald Eagle's nest, beautiful spring wildflowers and the fantastic facility that the US Fish and Wildlife Service calls home. Race benefits Potomac Valley Audubon Society.
April 26 Sam Michael's 5K Obstacle Challenge. Sam Michaels Park. Obstacle returns to the Eastern Panhandle! Challenges adults and children of all abilities over not so death deifying obstacles and some mud. First time obstacle racer? No problem. Each heat is designated a skill level, and you choose which is best for you. Contact Jefferson County Parks and Recreation or Two Rivers Treads for more information and to sign up.
April 25-26: American Odyssey Relay (www.americanodysseyrelay.com) Gettysburg to DC. Not too late to gather 12 teammates for this epic adventure. Midway is Shepherdstown where midnight pancakes are served at the Bavarian Inn by local Boy Scouts.
May 10: Harpers Ferry Half Maraton, 5k, Kids Run presented by The Bank of Charles Town (www.harpersferryhalf.org) Harpers Ferry. 5k FREE for kids under 18! This is truly an event of historic proportions. The half marathon is a mix of road and trail and over 1000 feet of elevation gain. The 5k explores the more gentle rolling grass hills of Harpers Ferry National Park School House Ridge. The one mile kids run will be a trail run through the Adventure Park at host River Riders. Some of the major historical sites covered in the event include John Brown's Fort, The Armory of Virginius Island, Bolivar Heights, School House Ridge, and the pre-Civil War towns of Bolivar and Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. Live music and beer garden at the finish featuring craft beer. Race benefits The Outdoor Education Center of For Love of Children and Eastern Panhandle Indigo Children (EPIC), an autism awareness and advocacy non-profit located in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia.
May 31- Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon. The race starts and finishes at Doukenie Winery, where you will enjoy the post-race Wine & Music Festival. The course runs north of the winery on scenic and historic byways, passing vineyards, farms, ranches and estates along the way. Hiddencroft Vineyards serves as the midpoint in the course, complete with a water and wine stop and music.
June 1 35th Annual Run Through History 5k and 10k at Antietam National Battlefield. A fun event through the scenic roads of Antietam and benefits Head Start of Washington County.
Need help preparing for an event and to help kep you pain free? Two Rivers Treads brings back the Couch to 5k spring program. Beginners, walkers, and runners of all ages are welcome. Weekly training sessions start first week of April, call Two Rivers Treads 304-876-1100 for info.
We are also hosting two free running clinics next week. Our friend Laura Bergman will host a clinic at Capitol rehab in Charles Town on Tuesday April 1at 5:30-7pm. Laura is a Certified Athletic Trainer and US National Team member in Triathlon. You will learn a ton from Laura. I will host a clinic Friday April 4 at Berkeley Medical Center Wellness Center 4pm-6pm. Come join either or both of these sessions.
And finally for those wishing to start training for a larger goal, registration is open for the 6th Annual Freedom's Run on Oct. 4 (www.freedomsrun.org).
For a full list of events and clinics go to www.tworiverstreads.com and click "events and races" and "clinics and group runs".
In three weeks, I'll go back to Boston to run my 21st Boston Marathon. This year's run promises to be a celebration of the human spirit as a response to last year's tragic events.