CHESTERFIELD, N.H. -- The second Saturday of every month is the regular trail maintenance day for the Friends of Pisgah, Inc. And, this month, it happens to land on April 12.
But Friends of Pisgah President Gary Montgomery has a special purpose for this maintenance day. He told the Reformer that instead of working on the trails they typically do, volunteers will ready the ones that will be used for the first-ever Friends of Pisgah running/walking races scheduled for May 24.
The organization has planned both a 5-kilometer and a 10-kilometer race in an effort to generate funds needed to overhaul the dozens of miles of trails and roads within the state park. The money, Montgomery said, could also be used to finance different projects, such as repairing bridges, fixing roads, improving signage and cleaning out culverts. According to the Friends of Pisgah, severe weather over the past few years and a harsh winter this year have damaged miles of surfaces and pathways in the 13,000-acre state park. All proceeds from the race day are going to benefit Pisgah.
Both races will begin at 10 a.m. at the Horseshoe Road Trailhead on the northernmost boundary of the park, about two miles southeast of Chesterfield Elementary School. The races will end at the same spot. Race day registration will begin an hour before the start of the races and continue until race time.
Montgomery said anyone who pays an entry fee will become a Friend of Pisgah until the end of the year.
"We need to have a fundraiser so we can do some projects in the park. So I thought, 'A race is a good way to raise some money and get more interest in the park,'" he said, adding that he hopes many participants will want to join the Friends of Pisgah permanently. "If it's a success, we plan on doing it every year."
Montgomery got experience organizing footraces by putting them together for Brattleboro's Red Clover Rover Running Club, to benefit the Special Olympics. He has been the brains behind that race, which also goes through Pisgah, for at least the past 13 years and said it has been held for 26. He said the 5K and 10K races will weave through sections of Pisgah the participants potentially have never seen.
"I think it will give people a different perspective of parts of the park that they don't normally see. I want to introduce them to some other parts of the park," he said. "I think they'll enjoy it."
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.