By Jesse Mast

It may not be for the fainthearted. It may not exactly be a walk in the park. But for those who simply love the sport of running and welcome a bit of a challenge, the Annual Allegany Adventure Run is a great way to start the year.

The Allegany Adventure Run is set to take place Saturday, May 4. The event is organized by Heart Rate Up and will be held in Allegany State Park’s Red House area.  Gary Quattrone, Red House Area manager, noted the success of the annual event.

“It’s been a great working relationship with (Heart Rate Up) for many, many years,” said Quattrone.

Event organizer Mark Lawrence said that Allegany State Park is an ideal location for the races due to its natural beauty, as the races will take place at the Summit Ski Area.

“It’s all off-road, 100 percent trail,” said Lawrence. For that matter, weather is not even an issue, and Lawrence said that the races will go on “rain or shine.”

For Allegany State Park, the Adventure Run is a chance to show off some of the best natural beauty Western New York has to offer.

“It’s always turned out to be a popular and well-attended event,” said Quattrone. “It’s really kind of a neat, healthy activity we offer here at the park … It’s one of the prettiest runs you could take.”

Quattrone said that the event is a good way for visitors to get to exposed to the state park for the first time. Indeed, the Adventure Run draws hundreds of runners from distant places.

“We’re probably looking at around three or four hundred,” said Lawrence. “It grows a little every year.”

He said that in the past runners have traveled from throughout New York, Pennsylvania and even Canada to participate.

Yet another reason to participate, Quattrone said, is that “it’s for a great cause.”  Proceeds from the event will help support HEART Animal Replacement Services and the Allegany Nordic Ski Patrol.

In addition to the hundreds of runners, the event requires the involvement of many more taking on lots of responsibilities, including medical personnel, staff and volunteers in various roles.  Lawrence noted that a lot of work goes into preparing for the event.

“We’re there days prior,” he said.

The day will include other activities as well. These include a moonwalk race — a brief sprint à la Michael Jackson — demos from event sponsors and a cookout lunch to top it all off.

Three races over three different distances will take place. The event starts off with the 22K race, beginning at 9:30 a.m. The next race will be the 13K at 9:45 a.m., followed by the 6K at 10 a.m. Awards will be given to winners of each distance in different categories, including male, female and age categories.

Preregistration forms and additional information are available online at Registration fees are as follows: $20 for the 6K, $25 for the 13K and $30 for the 22K.

A $5 fee will be added after April 27. However, this should not deter anyone from participating, since runners may still register the day of the event.

“No one will be turned away,” said Lawrence.

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