On August 12th, fast feet sprinted atop pine cones, twigs, and mossy underbrush as attendees dashed to the finish line of the 17th Annual Landis Perennial Forest 5K. A total of 187 runners, the highest turnout ever, made their way through grassy meadows and forests featuring trees and shrubs from all around the world.
Michael Hamilton of Oneonta was the first across the line with a time of 19:21.46. Dahlia Sheehan-Yassin of Cobleskill secured the spot for best female time at 25:58.82.
Fred Breglia, the Arboretum’s Executive Director, appreciates that the event attracts new admirers to the grounds, helping Landis accomplish its mission of getting people closer to nature. “With excellent views and vistas, it has to be the most scenic 5K,” he said.
David Roy, who has organized the race for many years, notes that the Forest 5K is a trail run everyone can enjoy, especially nature lovers. “There’s open meadows, softwoods, hardwoods and a downhill section,” David said. He is thankful for Chandra Burkhart’s original artwork on the t‑shirts and medals that give a really unique “Landis” vibe to the race. Chandra reflected on her design, “I was fascinated with images I found of a ‘Green Man’ — a mythological being that is a nature spirit. The oak leaves on his face tie in with Landis’ oak trees.”
Anna Lowry, of Delanson, NY, ran the 5K for the second time. The fourteen-year-old runs track and cross-country for Duanesburg and remarked that the course is “hard in a fun way. Trail races are pretty unique because you run through the woods.”
Stephen Cushing, of Albany, NY, has turned the Forest 5K into a family tradition. His nieces and nephews from Westerly, RI, have visited for the past seven years and run the race together. “It’s challenging and it tests you — and it’s fun to be outside,” Stephen said.
Deb Virkler, 63, of West Winfield, NY, is a life-long runner who exercises daily and competes in the event as a way to manage her COPD. “Momma always said ‘just keep getting up and doing it Deb. There’s people who can’t even get off the couch.’”
This event was the first time the Cogan family ran a 5K. Jo and Nick Cogan, along with their four children, split their time between living in Brooklyn and Esperance. They discovered Landis last year when buying plants for their new summer home at the annual sale. Jo said she loves everything about the Arb. “It’s so low key, with beautiful trails and you can just stop and enjoy and look at your surroundings,” she said. Her daughter, Charlotte, loves the Book Store and looks forward to coming back to the Landis Arboretum every summer.
There are many more narratives, each unique – as unique as our now perennial 5 K.
Click here to view race results and photographs from the 2023 5K.