Ultrarunning is catching on in Bucks County. Its local popularity stems from the ruggedness of Bucks County’s local topography, a necessary component for participants. Wayne Fish caught up with a Yardley fan for the Bucks County Intelligencer.
Ultrarunning uses the high-elevation trails normally traversed by hikers. The difference is that ultrarunners navigate the sharp rises and falls at top speed over long distances.
Yardley resident Mike Acer, with the Bucks County Roadrunners Club, indulges every weekend. The group favors cross-river sites like New Jersey’s Baldplate Mountain and Washington Crossing State Park.
Acer says he is mindful of the hazards posed by a rustic mountain trail. But he nonetheless enjoys the challenge.
“Give me trails, give me single track trails, mountains and I’m happy,” he said. “I could be there all day.”
Successfully navigating a twisty trail requires both physical stamina and mental acuity. Hazards — loose stones, fallen branches, unsuspecting wildlife — crop up quickly. Runners need to think on their feet.
“Some of the descents I really enjoy because every step you’re recalculating your next two or three steps, based on where you’re putting your foot now,” Acer said. “And it’s a lot of fun once you get to the point where you can handle that. It’s total focus, you’re looking down or a few yards ahead trying to figure out what your next steps are going to be.
“To me, I love that: the challenge of the technical downhill.”
More on this high-altitude, high-speed sport is at the Bucks County Intelligencer.