For years, Crossroads at Big Creek has hosted lectures on sustainability. The lectures were excellent, but the people who attended the lectures were, for the most part, already committed to sustainability. There had to be a better way to introduce learners of all ages the concepts of “green living.” There was. And that was why Running Green for Crossroads, Door County’s first and only trail run, came into being.
Start time for this year’s Running Green is 8:00 am, Saturday, June 22. The run promotes cross-generational recreation and increases awareness of “green living.” Proceeds from the event support the general fund at Crossroads.
Participants of all ages can choose from a 2K fun run/walk, and a 5K or 10k run with chip timing. The trails pass through coniferous woods, over wooden bridges crossing Big Creek, weaving through meadows, old orchards, through the Astronomy Campus and beyond. Trails includes single and double track, with wood chip, gravel and dirt foundations.
Our major sponsors make it possible for all walkers and runners to receive sustainable items. All finishers receive potted evergreen tree (provided by Evergreen Nursery.) Pre-registered participants will receive a USA-made performance Atayne shirt made from 100% recycled fabric, a re-usable water bottle (donated by Ministry Door County Medical Center) and thanks to Sturgeon Bay Utilities, a market bag containing an eco-light bulb and safety flasher.
Because “buying local” is a sustainable practice, all awards were created by local artists and post-race refreshments will be locally-produced ice cream topped with Door County Cherries and granola. A listing of the prizes, local artists and producers along with course and registration information can be found at http://www.crossroadsrun.org/
Running Green does introduce people to sustainability, but the benefits go far beyond that. In training for and completing a trail run, participants are involved in “Green Exercise.”, Green Exercise, a movement which began at University of Essex in Great Britain, is defined as any activity that takes place in a natural environment and is designed to increase the amount of physical activity taken by individuals. Obviously, exercise increases physical fitness, but it also fosters an array of mental health benefits.
A growing body of research suggests that exercising outdoors in nature increase happiness, decreases fatigue and anger, reduces stress, improves sleep, enhances self-esteem, creates a lasting energy boost, enhances cognitive function, improves sensory and motor skills in both children and adults, and reduces symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.
You don’t have to run in Running Green to get these benefits. Any play, gardening, or physical activities done in nature (and for some reason, this is most effective near water) will be boost one’s feelings of well-being.
To encourage outdoor activities and learning, Crossroads offers free family programs Monday-Thursday at 1:30 (rain or shine) throughout the summer. While these activities are designed for young people, learners of all ages are welcome.