GAMBIER — The outdoor running season is getting ready to kick into high gear.
The annual Earth Day Challenge Marathon in Gambier is next month. Now is the time to prepare to take part in the beautiful run through the scenic and well-maintained Kokosing Gap Trail.
People have traveled to places like Berlin, Germany ,to find a flat course that will help them qualify for a major marathon. Knox County residents have one of the flattest USA Track & Field-certified courses around, and it’s right in their own backyard.
“It’s a terrific course,” said race organizer Chris Gillen. “The first four miles of the course are through Gambier. It includes one, fairly substantial hill and then, a few rolling hills. After the first four miles, the rest of the race is on the bike path and it is almost pool table flat. It is a fantastic thing to have here. We have people coming from real distances to run this race.”
The Earth Day Challenge, now in its fifth year, continues to hold true to its original ideals by encouraging beginners and families to become marathoners. The addition of a half-marathon last year, has allowed more people to become a part of this event.
“In previous years, we had a relay,” said Gillen. “Last year was the first year that we eliminated the relay and we just went with the half marathon. It simplified things. The marathon and half marathon start and finish on the outdoor track in front of the Kenyon College Athletic Center. It has made it easier on everyone.”
The challenge, along with the Earth Day celebration, continues to grow in popularity each year.