You don't have to do the New York Marathon to feel like an athlete in New York City. Try this instead if running isn't your thing: The Great Saunter, an endurance event that has been bringing tourists and athletes together for a 32-mile shoreline walk around Manhattan for 32 years. This was our first year participating in the event and we're glad to report no injuries - just great fun plus a new perspective on one of the most exciting cities in the world.
Guidelines for getting ready for a 32-mile walk exist - they include training for months by doing progressively longer walks to condition your body for the demands of pounding pavement for 10-12 hours. We skipped all of that. We just relied on a good fitness level (the result of consistent workouts and 4-mile walks year-round), the nutritional knowledge provided by plant-based endurance athlete, Rich Roll, in his inspiring book, Finding Ultra, and on the footwear and gear advice offered to us by our neighbors here at Trading Post - The Running Company of Haddonfield. With that kind of preparation the walk was as close to a breeze as a 32-mile walk can be.
Yes, at a certain point soreness got serious and the walk became a genuine hike (especially when we entered the hilly, forested trails of Northern Manhattan) but the sights - water views all day long as we walked 13 neighborhoods, a forest, beautiful parks, a historic lighthouse, so many bridges and enjoyed the sheer variety of architecture throughout the island - plus conversations along the way with people who travel from around the world to do this amazing shoreline adventure, made The Great Saunter an incredible experience!
Feel like giving the event a go? We highly recommend it! There were people of all ages and fitness levels tackling this event (the pace is an easygoing 3 miles per hour) and everyone seemed to be doing it in their own way - from Eagle Scouts walking all 32-miles in heavy hiking boots and a father-son team finishing it in walking shoes worn with knee-high argyle socks to a young marathon racer who astonished everyone by speed walking the whole thing in a pair of Teva sandals.
This autumn we'll be leading a Trading Post walk along much of the same territory covered in The Great Saunter. It will be a day of fresh air and open skies - two things you may not always associate with Manhattan. You'll get an abbreviated idea of what The Great Saunter is like then hopefully join us to do the full event next year - The Great Saunter is scheduled to be held on May 5th, 2018. Let's get walking!