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With D&L Heritage Half Marathon less than a month away, we wanted to share this message from our long-time Race Director, Ed Eppler, who works at Discover Lehigh Valley as the Vice President of Finance & Operations.
“I’ve had the honor and privilege to be the race director of the D&L Half for eight years. This has included seven live events and one virtual event due to COVID-19. Prior to directing the event I participated in the half marathon three times and volunteered one year in what may have been the most blustery day in the history of the event! I’ve been involved in all 12 events!
I couldn’t think of another organization that I would want to volunteer so much of my time to. The D&L Trail is an amazing resource that is nearly connected to my own backyard. I can hit the trail and grind out 100-mile bike rides and barely hit any pavement or see any vehicular traffic throughout a five-county area. The Trail is my “happy place”, the place where I exercise a lot, the place where I clear my mind, the place where I’ve met new friends, the place where I want to be when I have spare time. It’s been amazing to watch all the work by the folks at the Delaware & Lehigh National Heritage Corridor come to fruition over the last several years. There are so many new trail connections and trail gaps being completed. This only means that the communities that the trails serve will have so many more opportunities for outdoor activity. I plan to explore them all!
My favorite part of being a race director is the race weekend. I love chatting with the runners and walkers at the packet pickup, letting them know that we designed a course that they are going to love, that our race committee has covered every detail, that we have enthusiastic volunteers, and that they will be treated to an awesome finish line celebration.
Race day takes my adrenaline to a whole new level! The early morning excitement as runners and walkers make their final nervous preparations, the DJ cranking up the music, the singing of the National Anthem, and the sound of the conch shell horn for the mass start all make the event come to life. I’m at my peak when the first runner crosses the finish line, at that point I know that our team and our host of volunteers have done everything to perfection and the post-race party will soon be in full swing! The positive feedback that we receive makes all the work so worth it! I’m so proud to be part of an event that has grown so much over the years.
I no longer run. My only regret is that I would have loved to run the new course that we designed in year five and feel the excitement on the course. 42 years of running is behind me and I’m now a cyclist, cranking out miles with the same zest that I did as a runner for so many years. The D&L Trail Challenge feeds my competitive desire. For the month of October, I have the license to ride as much as I want. The past two Challenges I have biked over 1,000 miles each year. This year I plan on making it three years in a row with 1,000 plus miles! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for trail lovers!”
This will be Ed’s last year as Race Director for the D&L Heritage Half Marathon. In honor of this, Ed is running a fundraiser for the D&L Trail Challenge, a new component added this year, and challenging himself to cycle 1,000 miles! He’s halfway there – let’s cheer him on and help him meet his goal as he cycles through those miles. Donate to his fundraiser here!
It’s only with your generosity that we can keep bringing the region’s important history and stories to life.