On June 6th, my alarm loudly announced the arrival of National Trails Day. This year I decided to celebrate in style. I was registered for the Raritan Valley Road Runners (RVRR) 17th Annual “Train”ing Run. Affectionately referred to as…“Crazy Train”.
The train-ing run is a non-competitive event in which runners pick their starting station and make the long (or short) trek back to Johnson Park in Piscataway, New Jersey. Available distances vary greatly along the D&R canal towpath.
The farthest station is located in Trenton at 34.6 miles and the closest approximately 2.8 miles from the finish. Buses pick runners up at the park and shuttle them to their selected starting point. At each station runners stop for a bit to hydrate, stretch and refuel. During this time, new passengers arrive to jump aboard this crazy train and the group heads out together for the next stop.
Due to its staggered start, this highly coordinated event brings close to 200 runners of varying speed and ability to the finish line at precisely 11AM. Just in time for a picnic feast.
Once all participants report their finishing miles, RVRR calculates the total distance covered and then donates $0.50 per mile to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey.
As always, it’s the volunteers that make such an event happen. The RVRR volunteers at each train station were wonderfully helpful and encouraging. The non-competitive atmosphere held true, it was seen in the friendly chatting and inclusiveness all along the trail.
I was one of six passengers who started this event out in Trenton, 34.6 miles of trail. For anyone considering that distance keep in mind your train will leave the station very early in the morning and there will be no support for the first 14 miles (and no daylight for about the first seven), but at the end runners who completed the entire length are presented with a small token of congratulations.
This annual event had a wonderful vibe to it and was for a very good cause. A perfect way to celebrate National Trails Day!!
(Featured Image Credit: Associated Press)