Fourth annual Running on the Rails draws its biggest field yet

By on June 13, 2018
There were 170 runners in the starting pack for the fourth annual Running on the Rails race Saturday. Photo by Dick Wanner.

There were 170 runners in the starting pack for the fourth annual Running on the Rails race Saturday. Photo by Dick Wanner.

If you’ve ever dreamed of running a race with no hills, long stretches of shade with now-and-then patches of sunlight, a thermometer stuck in the 70s and humidity at just over 50 percent…well, then your dream race would have been the fourth annual Running on the Rails in Ephrata. The race was held Saturday morning, with the starting line just south of the Dick Winters Memorial on the Warwick to Ephrata rail trail.

The combination 5K-10K run attracted 170 runners this year, compared to the 36 entrants the first year it was held. Running the Rails has been a fundraiser for the Ephrata Public Library the past three years. This year, Running the Rails co-founders Jeremy and Denise Guldin hope to also make a contribution to the trail itself.

The Guldins are a husband-and-wife team who own Knead It Massage and Body Works on 21 Springhouse Road in Ephrata. They organized the first run as a way to both promote their business and to support the library. This year, combining entry fees with donations from a number of sponsors, they hope to raise about $5,000, which would let them continue to support the library while making some contributions to a rail trail fund.

The field of 170 took off at exactly 9 a.m. Most of the runners/walkers/parents- pushing strollers/puppy paraders were in it for the 5K (2.6-mile) portion of the race. They turned around when they reached Akron’s Colonial Park and headed back to the finish line. A few of the starters opted for the whole enchilada, 10 kilometers — 5.2 miles — which took them from the Winters statue, through Akron to a turnaround point just short of Millway Road.

The first runner back was Emma Rissinger, who conquered the 5K distance in well under 15 minutes. Darren Bowman was the second 5K finisher, just a few lengths behind Rissinger.

Jonathan Rehrer, who puts in about six road miles a day, was the first 10K runner to return to the Winters statue. He finished in just under 40 minutes.

The Guldins are planning a fifth race for next year, probably again on the second Saturday in June. They’re hoping to have electronic timing for next year — rather than the stopwatch they used this year — but are concerned about the cost eating into the size of their charitable contributions.

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