For the past 15-years, Ray Petit, in conjunction with the Raritan Valley Road Runners Club, organizes the Towpath ‘Train’ing Run, a unique non-competitive group run that’s now one of the club’s favorite annual events. It’s scheduled to take place on Saturday June 7, National Trails Day.
Last year, the ‘Train’ing Run raised over $1,500, which it donated to the Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey in support of cancer research, patient care, and community outreach. (For every mile participants run or walk together on the scenic Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath, 50 Cents is donated).
“We are honored to play even a small role to assist the people at Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey to do what they do. We all know someone who has been impacted by cancer and together we can find a cure,” said Petit.
The event is not a race of any kind; rather, it’s a non-competitive group run, where runners and walkers start at different entry points or “stations” along the beautiful, 34.6 mile, Delaware and Raritan Canal towpath/trail. Throughout the morning, runners and walkers link up with other “trains” before everyone finishes in one large “train” (group) together, in Johnson Park, where a family-style picnic (now catered) takes place. It winds up being quite a celebration (awards are presented as well), and many will share their adventures or accomplishments from the morning out on the trail.
New for this year, Petit has formally added support for walkers; two additional pace groups will be introduced (12 minute and 15 minute). Encouraging more walkers to take part this year, Petit says, “It isn’t just for runners anymore; it’s a group effort where every participant wins.”
He said he cannot make the day a success without the outstanding help of others. He acknowledged a crew of great volunteers and especially, longtime club member, Janice Reid, who, with clipboard in hand, sees that every runner gets on the right bus. “As I’m out on the towpath overseeing the entire event and making certain that volunteers are in place to offer food and drinks to the runners and walkers, longtime club member, Janice Reid, remains in Johnson Park making certain that all runners get on the correct bus and that the bus gets the athletes out to the towpath on time for their journey back to grove 4 (the finish area). At 11 am, I join Reid and other volunteers in Johnson Park to greet, feed and congratulate the runners and walkers,” Petit said.
Innovative Literature for the ‘Train’ing Run, designed by Petit, includes a registration form and nifty boarding schedule for reference. The boarding schedule is used to decide how much mileage you’ll set out to cover (there is always a ride back to the picnic, in Johnson Park, should you need it) and what bus to catch for a ride to where you’ll start the day’s fun. Above the boarding schedule is a description of how the adventure shapes up:
Run part, or all, of the 34.6 mile D&R towpath together in a group! Groups of runners (called ‘trains’) will run (travel) at pre‐determined paces to Johnson Park in New Brunswick (the destination station). Starting in Trenton, with small groups of runners who are challenging themselves to go the entire distance, the ‘trains’ will add additional runners (passengers) who join (board their ‘train’) at the speed they want to travel. By the end, one massive group of runners and walkers will be moving in a continual train along the Towpath. Commuter, Local and Freight trains will have an official pacer (conductor) to keep these trains on schedule. Trains stop at each ‘station’ along the way, and from Alexander Road to the end, there is fuel (water and/or snacks) available. All trains are scheduled to reach the destination at 11 a.m. to rest, feast and celebrate a day of running camaraderie. Join us for the best running day of your life!
“We can all celebrate our trails and raise money for cancer research as we do something that we love,” said Petit, proudly.
“One of our goals is to leave the trails and Johnson Park cleaner than we found it.”