During this damp spring even a muddy terrain did not deter more than 230 runners from participating in the Watershed Institute’s fourth annual Trail Run and Festival.
The 10k and 5k run on May 19 were designed to tour portions of the 950-acre Watershed Reserve in Pennington.
“The event began with one of our board members who happened to be a runner. He came up with the idea for the trail run and we thought it was a great way to get new people out to the Watershed, who would not typically come,” said Jenny-Ann Kershner, Development Director at the Watershed Institute.
She explained that the run is also a fundraiser and a great way for the organization to use their existing trail system.
“In in the first year we raised $20,000 and this past year close about $30,000. This race is doing well. The spring time though is very muddy,” Kershner reported. “Some of our runners love the mud and others are not that fond of it.”
There were 231 runners total who ran in both races, 87 runners in the 10k race and 144 runners in the 5K race.
“The 231 runners show that there are a lot of runner out there that like trail running, but more importantly I think people do support our clean water mission. We have gotten feedback from our runners that they support what we do, “Kershner said.
She said the Watershed Institute is thinking about offering a trail run and an option for a road experience in next year run.
“During the run we also had children make signs, noise makers and other fun activities to be cheering squad for the runners. They did the arts and crafts in some of our classrooms,” Kershner said.
The fastest female and male runners in the 10K race were Nilofar Ismail, 52, of Pennington and Will Ratner, 18, of Princeton.
Winners of the 5K race were Erin Panzarella, 38, of Lambertville, and Brian Koch, 37, of Hamilton, according to Watershed Institute officials.
Certificates and insulated Watershed Institute stainless steel water bottles were given to winners of various age categories for the men’s and women’s divisions.
“We’re pleased by the success of our fourth annual Trail Run that furthers the Watershed’s vital work of protecting and restoring our waterways,” said the Watershed’s Executive Director Jim Waltman. “We’re grateful for all of our participants, volunteers and sponsors.”
Music was preformed by The Dadz and food was ample at the race, according to officials.
“The race raises critical funds for the organization and gets the community involved in the organization by having them come to the trail run. We would not be here if it was not for our community and we thank the people who participated and supported our run,” Kershner said.
For more information about the Watershed Institute, visit www.thewatershed.org.