The scenic trails of Agape Valley once again hosted participants of the Gapper, a one kilometre and five kilometre run in Pelham.
Now in it’s sixth year, the event organized by three individuals – Steve Dube, Dave Trotter and Eli Banta – has grown into a popular hot spot for cross country runners.
“We know we had the land to do something like this, Dube said. “All the hills, bridges and foliage make this one of the most difficult cross country courses in the region.”
Proceeds from the event are also important. Everything raised during the day goes directly back into Agape Valley, where they host summer bible camp for children.
“Proceeds help keep the costs for the camp down so it’s cheaper for the children to attend, Dube said. “Registration for camp begins in March and is filled up no later than 30 days.”
With over 400 kids attending camp this year, the support is given back through volunteer efforts. Course guides, massage therapists, and others helped ease the transition for the race. Banta says the first couple years it took some effort with almost 20 hour to set up the course, but they’ve got that down pat as the race continues to get bigger.
“There are a lot of amazing untapped treasures for runners in the region. I feel this place is one of them,” Banta said.
Banta began running the trails as a form of exercise with his father-in-law. That’s when the idea of putting on a race began.
“It’s great to pair up and show the advantages of a healthy lifestyle. The same approach is taken by the camp too. Showing campers the true outdoors.”
For more information on the camp and race, visit www.agapevalley.com.