The 25th Installment of the Lenape Survival Challenge

The Lenape Survival Challenge is not an event for the weak of mind. When my boyfriend asked me to do this race with him, I thought he was slightly crazy. He had done the race for several years, so he clearly loved it. I, however, felt that this race would become more of a barometer of how much we actually liked each other once we completed the event. That’s if we didn’t try to hurt one another in the process (I’m kidding, he’s great).

Photo Credit: Samantha Story

I went into the race knowing it would be tough. I was told the hill would be rough, to say the least. I have trained for countless 5k’s, 10-milers, half marathons and trail-runs, but even having prepared for what was to come, this was quite the challenge. Yet, I found this was, by far, one of the most enjoyable races I have ever done!

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The Lenape Survival Challenge is hosted by the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy.  The Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy’s Conservation Goal is to develop a watershed-wide campaign to help residents and businesses take meaningful actions to protect and enhance land and water resources in the Perkiomen Creek Watershed.

The conservancy’s mission is mirrored within this race; a unique two-person race celebrating the connection between land and water.  Besides, you are going to need someone there with you to haul you up the monster hill that awaits, not even four miles into your run.

For the race’s 25th installment, the course included a 5-mile run that weaved each runner through beautiful trails and fields.  The Perkiomen Trail, which is a 20-mile trail that follows the route of the Perkiomen Creek from Oaks, PA to Green Lane Borough, was a part of this scenic route.  The race route ultimately led to the most talked about portion, which was the beast of a hill, Spring Mountain, in Schwenksville, PA. Through panting and wheezing, we scrambled up the hill, our pace being barely faster than a swift crawl.  By the time we reached the summit of this hill, a few questions were running through my mind, like “Why the heck did I say ‘yes’ to this race?!”.

Just when you thought you had enough, you approach the Perkiomen Creek, where you then have a 2-mile canoe ride down to the finish line. We weaved in and out of the shallow areas that were cluttered with rock beds and dodged quite a few boats stranded on the rocks. We had our own moments of being wedged within the rocks of Perkiomen’s shallow waters, so, as you can see below, the only way to free ourselves was by sheer force with our oars and getting our feet wet to push the canoe.

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I felt accomplished, as we hauled our canoe up a muddy hill, from the creek to the finish line.  Tired, sweaty, muddy and just a plain mess, it was all worth it once we realized we had placed third in our co-ed age group.  After that race, everyone earned a well-deserved beer!
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For this event, Appalachian Brewing Company worked with the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy to offer a new beer to celebrate conservation efforts.  The result was the Perkiomen Porter, a brew with a cause.  Every fifty cents of each porter that is sold will benefit the Perkiomen watershed.
Traversing trail, mountain, and river, the Lenape Survival Challenge proved to be both difficult and rewarding.  It was unlike any race I had competed in before and was an event worth experiencing for yourself.

For more information on the Perkiomen Watershed Conservancy and how you can help, visit .

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