Marilla Reservoir Trail
By Josh Preston
Marilla Trail Race Organizer
Growing up, I was never much of a runner. When my high school gym class was timed on completing the mile, I just walked.
It wasn’t until after I graduated college, got married, and was expecting my first child that running started to become more interesting. Looking to shed a few pounds but not having a lot of extra time, running seemed like the perfect solution for me. It wasn’t long until a friend introduced me to trail running, and I became addicted almost instantly. Running on the road was fine, but I would always rather be running on a trail. There was something organic and primal about trail running that road running just couldn’t touch.
Always on the hunt for good trails around my hometown of Bradford, I quickly stumbled on Marilla Reservoir and the Tuna Valley Trail Association’s system of trails. Although the trails were originally conceived with hikers in mind, they were perfect for trail running. I was amazed and a little embarrassed I had never heard of them before.
The more I ran at Marilla, the more I felt responsible to expose this hidden gem to the trail running community at large. Out of that obligation, the Marilla Trail Race was born; 2017 will be the event’s fourth year. It has brought hundreds of runners from across the country to Bradford and given us the opportunity to showcase some of western Pennsylvania’s world-class wilderness.
With a 14 and 7-mile race, along with a 4-mile hike, the event is a perfect first step for new trail runners, but the challenging terrain and natural beauty keeps even seasoned trail runners coming back year after year.
Growing up, it was easy to complain about not having anything to do, but as I grow older, I’m amazed by the variety of opportunities, if you know where to look. It’s impossible not to appreciate the beauty that is all around us in Pennsylvania.