Setting the Stage: The D&R Canal Towpath Run to Remember, Honor, and Share In the Time of the Covid-19 Pandemic

When did all this begin????

It started almost overnight as the week after I ran the Caumsett 50k in Long Island and then started back to work, Covid-19 would begin to grapple the world and forever change us.  First it was the beginning of cases in Washington and California, which soon became cases in New York and the East Coast. My wife and father who both work at Princeton University were sent back to working from home.

By March 22nd, all businesses in New Jersey had to shutter their doors indefinitely. I was now soon to join them from working from home and later to join the millions of Americans on that have been furloughed as things began to tighten.

Cases continued to surge, and PPE was in hot demand. People were fighting over toilet paper and baking goods of all things. Our medical professionals and essential workers faced the maelstrom of this virus head-on.  Deaths and cases continued to surge to making places like New York City and the surrounding areas (NJ) the hotzones of this pandemic outbreak.

You know the rest of the story…record unemployment, media and government paranoia and disorganization; take every scary word out of the dictionary and use it all in one sentence and it would only sum-up a fraction of what we are all living through.

As now we progress into May, the topics of discussion are about how we re-open our country safely and responsibly as our very economic system and way of life are fleeting and hang in the balance by a thin thread.

Now you have a re-fresher of the back story.

My Realization:

During this quarantine, I have come realize and appreciate the things we often take for granted so much more than I ever had in my entire life. With how this virus has crippled us momentarily, I wanted to do something in my ability to share with the world, how truly strong we are. We will get through this and be even stronger than before.

The Run

On May 16th, I will be running a tribute run for those in my home state of New Jersey, but also for us all. The purpose of this run will be to Remember the lives lost and most affected by this pandemic, honor those that have fought to save us, and share with you the natural beauty that New Jersey has to offer. We are called the “Garden State” after-all!

The image above shows the starting line near Milford, NJ for my run on May 16th.

The Delaware -Raritan Canal Towpath is a very long foot-trail (70+ miles long) and is just longer than the Appalachian trail portion in NJ making it the longest footrail in the state. It is a beautiful path that has been my refuge and sanctuary for thousands of my own running miles throughout my entire life.

Here is more info about the trail and park:

It is a beautiful and accessible trail as it passes through numerous counties and links our communities in NJ together. On a nice typical Saturday afternoon, you will see people running, families riding bikes, people fishing and spending key time together outside. It is one of the most-popular trails because it truly is something special and gives you just the right amount of nature without added dangers or risks. It is everyone’s park really.

It is a trail with tons of rich history. Completed in 1832, the D&R canal system was an integral means of transportation of goods from industry centers like Trenton to New York and Philadelphia. The primary good of transport was coal.

From the Canal Society of NJ Website: “One of the most interesting aspects of the Delaware & Raritan Canal was the large variety of boats that passed through it. Theses included mule-towed canal boats and sailboats, steam tugs towing barges, freight boats, luxury yachts, and naval vessels. Canal boats from most of the canals on the East Coast traversed the D&R.” (Canal Society NJ).

The canal ceased operation in 1932 as the railroad and trucking soon became the new frontier of transporting goods and then was established as a state park recreation trail in 1974. Throughout history, the trail has stayed relatively the same in design and is a symbol of our state’s history and its opportunity for us all now.

Read more about the history of the D&R Canal Towpath here:

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So May 16th, I will take you all on this Great Big Journey through one of the special trails here in New Jersey! Every mile I run, I will be remembering the loss of a loved one from this pandemic with their initials written on my arm and a sheet of their full names that will be in my hydration pack going on the whole 70+ mile journey with me.

You can follow me on Instagram: @colecrosby41 as well as on

Here is the course link:

I am planning on making   mini-film to share with you the whole journey further.

If you would like to help out NJ, take a look at my Gofundme here and if you can, donate. Your donation will help NJ recover from the pandemic!

Thank you!


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