A Generous Spirit: Tanglewood: New York

I spent most of November writing about one of my favorite places, Tanglewood Nature Center, here on the blog. The motivation to write about this place was generated by the fact that they were holding a fundraiser and I wanted to try to play a small part in helping them with that if I could. I wanted to try to draw some attention to the place I enjoy so much and help give them any publicity I could. I wanted to try to raise awareness about why I love Tanglewood and their current fundraiser.
The fundraiser Tanglewood was having involved something that I love, running. Not just any running, but trail running. Specifically running my favorite trail at Tanglewood. Anyone wanting to be involved in this fundraiser could participate in a virtual race format where they would run the Red Trail at Tanglewood and submit their times along with the race entry fee. People who wanted to participate in the fundraiser but who didn’t want to run could contribute directly to Tanglewood and Ben Amsler, board member and fellow trail runner put his legs on the line. Ben offered to run for an increasing number of miles the more people were willing to donate.
That really inspired me to try to get word out about it.

Tanglewood Fundraiser

November has come and gone. The Run For The Hills! virtual challenge is over. Ben has completed his long run. But the outpouring of generosity from this community will put to good use in the time to come.
I don’t know how many people participated in the Run For The Hills! challenge but it was pretty cool that three of my friends finished with the top three times. They all knocked it out of the park on just a couple efforts while I spent the while month trying to perfect the run.

Ben on the Red Trail.

The community generously contributed $7,000 to the fundraiser. That meant Ben would have to run 42 miles on the Red Trail at Tanglewood. I love the Red Trail but it is not an easy route. I don’t think I have ever run more than two laps around the loop. Ben had to run 14 laps around the loop.

Ben’s Long Run

Ben was planning to start his run at 7 AM and hoping to be done by 7 PM. I originally wanted to go and photograph Ben while he was on the trail running and try to run a few laps myself while I was there. Unfortunately that morning I was not feeling up to the run. But I did still want to get there for some photography. I thought that I would be there to see him start at 7 AM. Alas it was still dark at 7 AM and not the best conditions for photography. I am apparently still not used to the late rising sun this time of year.
The weather was not great for running or for photography. It was dark, cloudy, and cold. It was finally light enough to be decent for photography around 9 AM so that is when I arrived on site. Shortly after I arrived Ben emerged from the woods climbing the half mile ascent from the depths below. He was already on his 4th lap.

Ben finishing up his 4th lap as I shortly after I arrived.

I decided to hike around the loop in the opposite direction that Ben was going. The hope was that going the opposite direction would allow us to cross paths more often as he completed his laps and I slowly hiked the route. I was able to see Ben three times for photos while I was out there. In the time I hiked one loop of the Red Trail Ben had done three loops and was on lap number 7 by the time I left.
While I was out on the trail I also took some time to photograph the scenery around the trail I love. Something I don’t spend enough time doing on a lot of the trails I love so much.
The weather remained less than ideal. Cloudy, dark, cold, windy, snow, and sleet in just the time I was there. Not particularly conducive to my style of photography.

Ben on lap number 7 before I left for the day.

Best Laid Plans

I wanted to show up at Tanglewood to photograph Ben’s run multiple times throughout the day. My plan after that was to head home, warm up, get fed, and maybe get in a short workout before I went back to Tanglewood. However, the weather had other plans. It only got worse. Darker clouds throughout the day. More snow and precipitation. And then I also realized along with the late rising sun is the early sunset. Sometimes the obvious doesn’t occur to me.
The weather and the short daylight hours conspired against me to keep me from getting back to Tanglewood, but I was able to capture some excellent images.

A few obstacles along the trail.

I checked in with Ben later to see how his run turned out.

Ben Reports In

Ben reported that the rest of his run after I left went well.  He had two friends that joined him and ran a few laps with him to break it up and keep him engaged. Friends showed up with snacks and drinks that helped get him to the finish. His wife and kids also stopped by Tanglewood to cheer him on a few different times. He noted that his wife is super supportive and said he really appreciated her help and support throughout the day.

I had mentioned that the weather was less than ideal for a long day of running and Ben agreed that the weather was not the best but said that he was happy that the temps stays in the 30’s because everything gets harder when it is 20 degrees or below.

Ben said he felt great through the entire run with only one knee starting to bother him towards the end. It was the same knee that had given him trouble in previous ultras. Ben enjoyed sharing videos and posting on social media which he had not previously done. He really appreciate the engagement from people on Facebook and was happy to see all the people that are aware of Tanglewood.

When I arrived there was a small herd of deer. Ben said they were so close he could almost touch him as he ran by earlier. Gesturing to show me how close they were.

A Tough Year But Staying Positive

Ben noted, “2020 has been a tough year for all businesses and non-profits.  I am glad we were able to raise a few dollars to help a great organization continue to support the community.”

Ben said he loved seeing this comment from a fellow runner that participated in the Run For The Hills! challenge, “Tangelwood is one of Elmira/Corning’s greatest treasures”.

The more people that become aware of this awesome place the better the organization will be able to support them! 

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