This year, the Wissahickon Trail Classic celebrates its 12th anniversary. Up until the inception of the Trail Classic in 2006, the general perception was that trail races had to be held out in the country because that is where woods are. The initial trail classic held in 2006 was created to dispel this notion and to show that some of the best long distance running trails existed not just in the country, but within the boundaries of the City of Philadelphia!
The response from runners in the Delaware Valley was immediate. Despite truly torrential rains on race day, the inaugural run attracted more than 300 runners, which is a very large turnout for a new race, and the field of runners has grown ever since.
The Wissahickon Trail Classic was founded by Nancy Khan, director then of the Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers, and Alyson Harris, director of AccessSports, as a means to raise money for the two organizations and to promote recreation in the Wissahickon. They enlisted runner and environmentalist Phil Ranly to set the course and direct the race. All that was needed was a group of volunteers to staff the race. For this, Phil called on his fellow members of the local Wissahickon Wanderers running club.
The Wissahickon Trail Classic is a natural fit because it allows trail runners to raise money for the restoration of park land that they run through and many train in during the week. It sends out a message that trail runners look out for the land they run through.
In the ensuing years, the USA Track and Field organization included the trail classic as one of the eight races in its exclusive Mid-Atlantic trail series. The East River Bank became an indispensable supporter of the event helping to underwrite the expenses for putting on the event. Ron Horn of Pretzel City Sports, a promoter and manager of local trail races, was a key player in the development of the Wissahickon Trail Classic.
A nature walk has now been added to the schedule for non-runners. The 10k race itself has grown to the point where it now attracts 500 to 600 runners of all abilities. With its many hills, the trail classic course is demanding, but the runners keep coming back for more. Your participation in this race and your support of the Wissahickon Restoration Volunteers is greatly appreciated.
Past Trail Classic Race Reports & Photos