It’s a 90-degree August afternoon, you’re in the midst of a long marathon training run on the west edge of Tyler State Park and there’s not a drop of water in sight.
But wait, what’s that up ahead, right in front of the Tyler Park Center for the Arts complex?
Why it’s a new water fountain. What a nice surprise. Looks like this run is going to finish well after all.
You can thank long-time runner Larry Waldman of Newtown for this welcome facility.
As far back as 15 years ago, Waldman dreamed of having access to drinking water for runners, hikers and bikers on the far end of the park.
Over the past couple years, he got more serious about his intentions and approached state park officials with a proposal.
Waldman donated more than $5,000 of his own money and raised more through the help of friends for the $12,000 project. Both the Bucks County Roadrunners and Tyler State Park each contributed more than $3,000.
Last month, the fountain finally became a reality. Nice, cold water, with one outlet for adults, one for children and even one for pets.
Knowing there’s water to be found at this location makes Tyler’s big, hilly five-mile loop seem a little less daunting.
“Over the past year and a half, the new park manager, Corey Snyder, was receptive to the idea,’’ Waldman said. “I want to thank him and his staff for getting it done.
“I know my running buddies have been using it. This is probably halfway from the dam (over Neshaminy Creek, considering the starting point for the 5.3-mile loop).’’
The fountain will be closing early next month for the winter but should resume operation sometime in late March/early April.
Suffice to say Waldman’s persistence was the key component to getting this fountain done. He says there was no moment of doubt throughout the process.
“I knew it was going to get done, I just didn’t think it would take as long,’’ he said. “I work for the state government in New Jersey (environmental protection) so I know how things work. . .slow.
“The bottom line was, it took a few months longer (than anticipated) – but I tried this 15 years ago, so what’s a couple months?” It’s up, it’s working and hopefully it’s getting some use.’’
The fountain still requires upkeep, so donations for the fountain are still being accepted. If you wish to make a donation, please mail a check made out to PPFF and sent to Tyler State Park, 101 Swamp Road, Newtown, Pa. 18940. Or you can drop it off at the Tyler office located just off the Newtown bypass. (Put “water fountain’’ on the memo line).
In a previous column, we wrote about how well received the fountain has been by current members of the Bucks County Roadrunners.
“This is good news and very generous of Larry,’’ said three-hour marathoner Pete Lederer. “I ran at Tyler on a Sunday morning and it was already hot and humid. I carried a water bottle but by the time I was in that area of the park I had run out of water.’’
So a quick fill-up was in order and Lederer was back on his way.
Next time you’re running in Tyler State Park on a hot day, you know who to thank.
Great job, Larry.
>Random thoughts on two marathon records
Thank goodness Kenya’s Brigid Kosgei broke the women’s marathon record in Chicago on Sunday.
I was all set to write something with slight disdain about the first sub-two-hour marathon (1:59) run by Kenya’s Eliud Kipchoge just a day before.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s great that the two-hour barrier was taken down long before the scientists and running experts believed it would.
But I would have preferred to see the mark fall in a natural race setting, the way Kosgei did in breaking Paula Radcliffe’s 2:15 mark with a 2:14.
Kosgei didn’t have the benefit of people on bicycles handing her water bottles so she didn’t have to slow down. She didn’t have technicians armed with lasers pointing out the shortest tangents to make the running distance as short as possible.
And she didn’t have bunches of pace setters to draft off of either.
Remember, there was magic in the air when Roger Bannister was the first to break the four-minute mile back in 1954, too.
Yet, like Kosgei, Bannister did it in a natural race setting. So, in my mind, that’s where the four-minute mile fell. And, in my opinion, the two-hour marathon mark is still in place until it is toppled without outside assistance.
>Beware of the autumn nuts
This is probably the best time of year for cycling. Most days, the air is crisp, but not too cold, and the fall foliage is spectacular.
However, there is hidden danger on these scenic back roads.
We’re talking about all the nuts on the roads (no, not the drivers). We mean acorns, walnuts, chestnuts, hickory nuts, Osage oranges (look that up online).
Often these little impediments are hidden under fallen leaves. And if you’re going downhill at a good clip, hitting one can cause a problem.
So please keep your eyes on the road ahead and make sure you play it safe. In a few more weeks, the roads should be clear again.
Josie Kerr-Gleave Memorial 5K, 8:30 a.m., Langhorne. Contact www.runsignup.com