Two Hours on the Delaware Canal Towpath – South

“The more you clean, the more brilliant your writing will be.” – Billy CollinsCanal South

Last week I was stuck, brain freeze, writer’s block, or in runner’s vernacular, I hit the wall. And then I hit the trail, the Delaware Canal Tow Path, and ran north from Lumberville, PA through Point Pleasant. It worked, and I came home and wrote 10,000 Maniacs. So I went back to the towpath this week and ran South, an hour out and an hour back.

Canal South fI picked up the alternative method for marathon training by accident many years ago. I was running a 25K along West River Drive on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia when a runner came up next to me. We began talking, and I realized he wasn’t even in the race. He was training for the Philly marathon. I asked him how far he was going and said three hours. It was the first time I’d ever gotten a response in time rather than distance, so I asked him about it. He told me his alternative to the conventional twenty-mile training run theory was to take a three-hour training run. Made sense to me and his method became my method.

Of course, all runners run a different pace and will cover different distances, but for me it works. Some years I’ll do the twenty-miler, but most years I just find a trail and go for three hours. The appealing feature of the timed run is that all you need is a scenic trail and some type of clock. Try it. Find a beautiful trail and walk, jog or run for a half hour, an hour, or three. I guarantee you will return a different person.

Canal South lThe scenic route this week was the towpath from Lumberville to New Hope. I hadn’t planned to run to New Hope, but it was a great day and I couldn’t stop. When I got to town and turned around I looked across the street and saw where I proposed to my wife thirty-five years ago outside the Bucks County Playhouse, and further down the street was the club where I used to misbehave with my buddies when I was single. A little further along the canal I passed the Bed & Breakfast our kids bought us a gift certificate to when we got snowed-in with about two feet of the white stuff. On the way back up to Lumberville I passed another Bed & Breakfast my wife and I escaped to the first time we went away overnight after we began our family. And then, finally, before I got back to my Jeep I passed one of our favorite fishing holes where I’d go with my kids when they were young.

Damn, I love that canal! To see more pictures of the Delaware Canal Tow Path South to New Hope click here.Canal Sout

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About Jim Brennan

Jim is a Philadelphia-based writer, author, poet and editor for the Schuylkill Valley Journal.
This entry was posted in Health, Marathon, Running and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Two Hours on the Delaware Canal Towpath – South

  1. Sophie33 says:

    Beautiful scenery & views you have there! I would instantly walk & cycle over here! And then do a picnic later on!

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  2. gellipower says:

    Oh – wanted to ask, have you read ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Running’?

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      Actually, it is one of my top three favorite running books, and it’s the only book I ever wrote a magazine review for in Impact Magazine. I’m more of a cerebral runner and like to keep things simple, so “What I Talk About…” is up there with “Running and Being” by the great running guru George Sheehan, and “Born to Run” by Christopher McDougall, which is kind of a counter-culture running book about trail running. If you have a moment, I reviewed the three on a blog titled “Books that Speak to the Heart of a Runner.” https://rite2run.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/thought-provoking-books-for-endurance-runners/ Thanks for stopping by. jim

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  3. gellipower says:

    Hey Jim. LOVE the quote on this. I’m taking it literally today as I’ve got to spring clean the whole house for visitors. I’m enjoying reading your blog. Well done on 10,000. I know you said it’s pedestrian, but you are clearly a runner. And 10,000 is A LOT of people, however long it takes you to get there. Thanks for your comments too. Keeping me motivated.

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      Thanks, Gelli. If you ever get a chance, read Billy Collins. I’m not a poet and admit I don’t get a lot of it, but his work will blow you away. Try “Sailing Alone Around the Room.” It will make your head spin.

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  4. LB says:

    Wonderful post … I will definitely need to plan a trip to check this place out. I might even be able to manage a little jog 🙂 I’m headed to the 10,000 maniacs link and then to mapquest to see what the trip from my neck of the woods to the Delaware Towpath might be like!

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    • Jim Brennan says:

      It’s a wonderfully scenic area. Runners, cyclists, fishermen (and women), and outdoor enthusiasts share the beauty. The towpath is sixty miles long, some parts are a little torn up from flooding, but a good start would be from New Hope either north or south on the trail for miles and miles of smooth, sound surface.

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  5. Pretty sure I haven’t told you this in awhile but I really like your writing style. The tone really works for me. I feel like I’m right there on the trail with you. Always a good read.

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