GOSHEN Now in its fifth year, the Maple City Walk has become an annual source of pride for the city.
As one of only two long-distance walks offered in Indiana, the event draws people of all ages and abilities. This year’s walk is set for Saturday, Sept. 21.
For the walk’s eldest participant Lawrence Scholl, the Maple City Walk is simply a continuation of years of marathons and half-marathons.
Scholl, 81, has been running since 1975. He said he’s competed in about 25 half-marathons, 32 full marathons and even an ultra-marathon (31 miles).
But even at 81 years old, Scholl continues to complete half-marathons and uses the Maple City Walk as a bookend, along with the Sunburst race in South Bend, to complete the running season.
What sets the Maple City Walk apart, however, is the ability Scholl has to help raise awareness of the Pumpkinvine Trail.
“The Pumpkinvine is a valuable piece of the parks system,” Scholl said. “This is an opportunity to do what I could to make the city of Goshen better.”
Scholl, who will be walking in his fourth Maple City Walk, said he also simply enjoys participating because of the scenery provided by the trail as he winds his way through his 13.1 miles.
The Maple City Walk draws its share of hardcore walkers and exercisers, to be sure, but it also attracts many who may not have thought much about undertaking such an endeavor before.
Vivian Schmucker, another Goshen resident, 56, began walking about 10 years ago, but had never done anything like a half or full marathon walk before.
She began walking to improve her health and had seen some benefits. “I just found it a good way to unwind,” she added.
Then, five years ago, when the first Maple City Walk was being organized, Schmucker was approached by one of the walk’s organizers, Julila Gautsche, and agreed to participate.
Schmucker participated in the half-marathon in the walk’s first two years. For the third year, she decided to do a full marathon the third year, even though it wasn’t technically offered.
The health benefits she’d felt incrementally just walking recreationally were increased dramatically by training for the Maple City Walk.
“I really felt a change when I did the marathon for the first time,” she explained. Schmucker said the walking has helped her to lose weight, lower her “bad” cholesterol and increase her “good” cholesterol.
Now an experienced walker, Schmucker will once again be completing the full 26.2 miles, hoping to beat her goal of seven hours.
The Maple City Walk is a non-competitive, but timed, event. The walk begins and ends at the Powerhouse Park, near the Goshen Farmers Market, at 212 W. Washington St.
The route for the 2013 Maple City Walk will once again include the Maple City Greenway and feature the Pumpkinvine Nature Trail.
Three different lengths will be offered for the walk, with the 13.1-mile and 26.2-mile routes as well as, for the first time, a 6.5-mile route.
Each participant will receive a Maple City Walk medal and be entered into a drawing for a pair of free walking shoes.
Registration can be completed online, and special rates are available until Sept. 14.
For more information on this year’s Maple City Walk, or to register for the walk, visit cityonthego.org.