"On the way back it was rough." "Looking at the last downhill you think 'It can't be.'" "The grass was wet on the one corner." But the most important comment about the trail were "It was wonderful, a beautiful course."
The first of what is expected to be an annual event was held Oct. 8 beginning on the Delaware and Lehigh Heritage Trail and then into the trails of the Lehigh Gap Nature Center.
It was organized by experienced runner Dr. Michael F. Martinez, M.D. There were 12 runners in the two-mile scamper and 80 in the trail run.
"I'm pleased. That's what you expect for the first time," Martinez said. "People came from as far away as Buffalo. They heard about it on the Internet." He credited his wife Melissa with being a big help.
In the Great Room people were doing stretching exercises while the Scamper was being run.
The Scamper and run started near the pond at a Boy Scout Eagle Project marker.
Two men were wearing five-toed shoes: Ramon Hernandez and Joseph Christopher. The latter usually runs barefoot but used shoes because of the rocky trails. He said he was really excited because the center is a "beautiful, beautiful place. My feet are looking forward to this." He was from Audubon near Philadelphia.
Madison Martinez was first female in the Scamper with a time of 24.31 and Joren Husic was the first male to finish with a time of 17.58.
The presenting sponsor was First Niagara Bank and the volunteer sponsor was Dedicated Fitness. Martinez ran the course with his dog Ruby the Friday before the event and had a time of 49.06 Anyone that beat that was a winner in the Race Director's Challenge and was invited to dinner with him at the Palmerton Hotel.
He warned the runners to be careful on the final downhill because of loose rocks and thanked them for coming out and trying the course.
"When I created it, it was consistent with the mission of the nature center by minimizing stuff we give out," said Martinez. Rather than water stops each participant was given a wrist water bottle.
Pete Papay of Penn Big Bed Slate Company give them a discounted price on the slate used for the prizes - medallions for first, second and third place in each category and plaques for overall male and female winners.
The first male on the trail run was Michael Mengel, an elementary teacher at Northern Lehigh with a time of 45.08. The first female was Leah Heffelfinger with a time of 59.43.
The actual official distances were 2,29 miles for the Scamper and 6.38 miles for the trail run.