If you rely on a snow base ample enough for cross-country skiing or snowshoeing to provide opportunities for outdoor exercise in wintertime, you may be feeling rather less than perfectly fit at the moment. But as the weather warms and the days get longer, there are no more excuses to stay in couch-potato mode. The lovely trails of the Gunks are beckoning, and the Mohonk Preserve is offering a couple of incentives in April to get out there and start moving those muscles.
The first comes on Saturday, April 9 in the form of the fifth annual “Bridge 2 Bridge” five-mile run, organized by the Shawangunk Runners and sponsored by Rock and Snow as a benefit event for the Mohonk Preserve. The race starts at 9 a.m. at the Preserve’s Spring Farm Trailhead on Upper 27 Knolls Road (off Mohonk Road) in High Falls, and finishes at the same location. The route traverses five miles of gently rolling carriage roads, clearly marked and with water stops (and presumably with a couple of bridges involved as well).
Preregistration is required; there will be no race day registration, and the race is limited to 300 runners. So registering as soon as possible would be a wise move. You can do that online by visiting www.zippyreg.com/online_reg/registration.php?eventID=71. The entry fee is $30 for the general public, $25 for Mohonk Preserve members. The price includes refreshments and a commemorative tee-shirt, and all proceeds will benefit the Mohonk Preserve. As a bonus, this year’s Bridge 2 Bridge finishers will receive free entry into the 4.25-mile Lou’s Run – also setting out from Spring Farm – on July 18 as part of the Shawangunk Runners’ Summer Series.
Prizes will be awarded to the overall winners and to the winners in each ten-year age group. The event goes on rain or shine. For more info, or to see race results and photos from previous years’ Bridge 2 Bridge runs, visit www.shawangunkrunners.com.
Healthy Ulster Spring Week
Do you find the idea of competing in a five-mile race intimidating? You could do it at a strolling pace if you wanted; as long as you finish, it counts. Or you could choose your own favorite days to run, jog or walk your pick of the Preserve’s trails for a whole month – from mid-April to mid-May – for free! It’s all part of the spring 2016 edition of the Healthy Ulster campaign, a pet project of county executive Mike Hein that aims to make Ulster the healthiest county in New York (it was number 33 out of 62 counties in 2010; now it’s up to number 16).
Healthy Ulster Spring Week takes place annually in May, but the Mohonk Preserve is getting a jump on the festivities by offering free one-month memberships to Ulster County residents. Just show up with proof of county residency at the Preserve Visitor Center, located on Route 44/55 in Gardiner, between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, April 14 to 17; or at the Spring Farm Entry between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Saturday or Sunday, April 16 and 17. Passes must be picked up in person (with the exception of minors, whose parent or guardian may pick up a pass on their behalf), and will remain valid through May 15.
This marks the fifth year that the Preserve has participated in the Healthy Ulster program. The Preserve has distributed over 10,000 free one-month passes to Ulster County residents during the organization’s annual Healthy Ulster Spring and Autumn events. Healthy Ulster Spring 2016 is sponsored by Ulster Savings Bank, MVP Healthcare and CDPHP.
So whether your preference is to walk or to run, there’s no place better to shake winter’s kinks out of your muscles and cabin fever out of your brain than on the spectacularly scenic trails of the Shawangunks. And you get to check out the many signs of spring’s arrival while you’re at it, so there’s no better time, either. All those migrating frogs and salamanders can’t be wrong. For more information about the Bridge 2 Bridge run, the free one-month pass offer and other special events coming up at the Mohonk Preserve, call (845) 255-0919.