It launched softly, almost silently, like the inaudible patter that Carl Sandburg called the fog that comes in on little cat feet.
The Morning Call's "Walk This Way!" campaign, sponsored by Highmark, began more than two months ago as a way to introduce every-day lifestyle fitness to people from and visiting the Lehigh Valley.
The program is the brainchild of The Morning Call advertising and marketing departments and features a weekly trail highlighted in the Thursday Go Guide. The weekly campaign features 52 walks/hikes that are people and pet friendly.
As part of the campaign to help give people places to go to do things like walking, hiking, running and biking – all of which can be done casually or for increased fitness – The Morning Call has published a full-color booklet guide that can be placed in your walking shorts or in the back pocket of a cycling jersey.
The book, along with the weekly full page ad in the Go Guide, features a QR code (quick response) that can be scanned by a smart phone or tablet using a QR reader. The QR code takes you directly to the initiative website at http://www.themorningcall.com/walk.
If you're using your mobile device, you can get GPS coordinates for the starting point and Google+ can give you the directions to get there from where you are.
The 52 featured walks are available on the website with quick links to trailhead starting points for each. Each segment of Walk This Way! features trail statistics and information like nearest towns, skill level to negotiate the trail, its length, elevation rating, type of surface, and if it's sneaker and bicycle friendly. Each trail also receives a Point of Interest mention, and there's a Tip of The Day included each week on how to increase your fitness level or keep your motivation level in gear.
On the website home page, you will find the featured trail for the week, which changes every Thursday.
There are also links across the top of the page. Under Events, you can find a list of events sponsored by the Morning Call where you can take part and also receive a free copy of the Walk this Way! guide book, winner of an International Association of Advertising Managers award for innovation, which was designed by Tina Ward for The Morning Call Media Group.
You can upload your photos of the various area trails activity under the Photo heading, and you can see the entire list of walks under Trails.
We're hoping that with a little help from our readers, we can populate the photo section with thousands of pictures of people enjoying the trails by foot, bike and even cross country skis and snowshoes in the winter. We're even looking into adding a video component.
Most of all, we're hoping our readers take advantage of this wonderful collection of trails to maintain and improve their personal health. These routes are a true quality of life resource here in the Lehigh Valley, and we want you to get out there and enjoy them.
Trail Running Clinic on Saturday: One of the trails/facilities already covered in Walk This Way! was the Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center, 835 Jacobsburg Road, Wind Gap.
As the final part of its May Outdoor Recreation Fitness Series, Jacobsburg is hosting a Trail Running Clinic 9 a.m. Saturday from the Henry's Woods parking lot.
Jeff Dengate, a senior editor and the Show Guru at Runner's World magazine, will ead the clinic offering basics and benefits of trail running. He'll also lead the group on a run through Jacobsburg's picturesque wooded hillsides, shaded creek bottoms and wildflower fields.
The clinic costs $20 and is limited to 20 people. You must preregister by calling Rob at 610-746-2805.
Freedom to Liberty 4-miler: The annual Freedom to Liberty run in Bethlehem will take place 9 a.m. Saturday, June 1. Registrations costs $20 before May 24, and changes to $25 after May 24.
Entry forms are available online at http://www-fhs.beth.k12.pa.us, or you can register online directly by going to https://www.active.com/register/index.cfm?EVENT_ID=2095093&CHECKSSO=0 . Contact Diane Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Morning Call walk: The Morning Call's 15th annual 5K Walk/Run to benefit the United Way will take place 10 a.m. Sunday, June 9 from near the Lehigh Valley Road Runners house in Allentown's Lehigh Parkway.
Register by May 23 to receive a T-shirt. Registration deadline is May 31 and costs $15, with children 12 and under $5 and those over age 50 just $10. To register, call Sharon at 610-820-6718 or Mary at 610-820-6731.