Crawford County is home to many recreational and competitive runners. From those who are looking to get fit (or find a balance between indulging in that *insert favorite unhealthy meal* and fitting into your favorite clothes) to “junkies” who crave the post-run “runner’s high,” running can be beneficial to almost everyone. It can improve your mood, strengthen your bones and joints, protect against age-related mental decline and even add a few years to your life.
Thankfully for local runners, walkers, and bikers, Crawford County has many locations and resources available to encourage residents to get moving. Some of the most popular resources include local running and biking trails. In Pittsburg alone, residents will find 10 miles of trail including the Watco, East-West Connector, Pitsco Sunflower, and South Rouse Trails.
For residents looking to get outside the city limits, Crawford State Park is home to 4 hiking and biking trails. Additional trails can be found at the Mined Land Wildlife Area. Many hikers prefer these locations to the city; surrounded by the unique environment of Crawford County, one can enjoy the remnants of mined land and local birds and plants.
Another convenient running/walking location is the Robert W. Plaster Center at Pittsburg State University. The Plaster Center’s 300-meter track is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M.
Taking advantage of many of these resources, several competitive runners from Crawford County recently participated in the Boston Marathon, the third largest marathon (according to number of finishers) in the United States. Along with 26,000 fellow runners, local teachers Caroline Capehart and Scott Cichon competed in the marathon. Cichon finished 196th out of all runners with a time of 2 hours, 40 minutes, and 33 seconds over the 26.2 mile course.
The outlook for additional resources and support for local runners is bright. Recently, the cities of Pittsburg and Girard completed bicycle-pedestrian master plans to assess existing biking and walking infrastructures, such as sidewalks and bike lanes, and prioritize improvements.
Both plans were created in association with Live Well Crawford County, an organization actively promoting and developing health and wellbeing programs in the area. Also of interest to many runners, Live Well Crawford County also oversees programs to help the local area eat well, work well, age well, and breathe well.