At 67, New Jersey resident Diane Hardes figures she was the oldest participant in Saturday’s fifth annual Stateline Woods 5K run.
A lifetime runner, Hardes was even looking forward to hitting the course despite last night’s heavy rainfall.
“Great for a trail run! Nice and muddy,” she said. “We always like finding new trail runs, and this is a good one.”
Sue Simmons, a race walker from Newark, Del., didn’t seem to mind the muck and mud either.
“That’s why we have washing machines,” she said.
And both ladies were familiar with the bigger causes at stake, as the event serves as a fund raiser for the nonprofit Land Conservancy of Southern Chester County.
“If it’s for the environment, I’m there,” Hardes said.
Conservancy executive director Gwen Lacy said that while the proceeds from the event are certainly needed – they go exclusively to the organization’s operational costs – she kept a closer eye on the number of participants than she did the dollar amount brought in.
“We seem to be around 225 or so,” Lacy said. “Which is great, for this kind of day, when it rains.”
Lacy watched the start of the race from the top of Cross Point Hill, a rise near the center of the 82-acre preserve that bears the name of the subdivision that would have otherwise been built right where the race was taking place.
“They wanted to build a road right through here, an extra road, in order to have an entrance,” she said, gesturing to the slope that winds its way to the top of the hill. “And we found out that was the original name of the farm – Cross Field Farm.
Lacy said the course takes a somewhat different path this year with the addition of the Marshal Bridge preserve nearby.
“We used to run more through the state of Delaware, but now we’re staying on out preserve,” she said.
The run started five years ago when the preserve officially opened and kicked off with an Eco Festival, Lacy said; since then it’s attracted hundreds, if not thousands of runners from throughout the region.
“It keeps getting better every year,” she said. “We’re very pleased.”
The event also he;lps spread the word about the Conservancy’s efforts to preserve land throughout the Southern Chester County region – although it seemed like many of the participants were already well aware.
“We have to conserve our resources and protect what can’t be replaced,” said Simmons.
For more information on the Conservancy, visit www.tlcforscc.org.