What is The Big Walk - NJ2NY50?
“The Big Walk”, or NJ2NY50, is a one-day distance walk along the East Coast Greenway route that starts in New Jersey and ends in New York City encouraging public participation. Our objective is to walk 50 miles through various communities and commercial areas that surround urban and suburban areas in our metropolitan region. This is a joint effort of individuals and pro-pedestrian organizations to build awareness of recreational resources, health and fitness, livable communities and alternative transportation options.
Can anyone walk the 50 miles?
Yes, the walk is open to any individual. Keep in mind that this is not a race and the main group of walkers expect to finish in 17 hours. This assumes being able to walk at a fairly brisk pace, with some rest stops along the way. That represents an average of about 3 mph. A fairly fast pace for an individual comfortable with walking is 4 mph, but very few people can maintain that pace for long. Advance groups may not wait for walkers that cannot stay with the pace.
To accommodate various skills and fitness levels, participating walkers can meet up with the walk at various designated points along the route. Cranford and Newark will be the two suggested intermediate spots where you might consider joining in or dropping off due to train stops. We will be posting a schedule of times where we anticipate the group will be passing various locations so you can plan ahead. You might want to consider setting a shorter walk objective of, say, 1 mile, 3 miles, 5 miles, 10 miles or 25 miles. It will be the responsibility of the walker to find transportation back to their home or starting point. The route is designed to promote the use of public transportation, such as NJ Transit trains, to assist you in getting to the event and back home.
Why are you doing this type of event?
The event provides a way for the general public to participate together in a large-scale form of exercise while visiting a variety of communities and unique areas from a closer vantage point. In opening up more areas to pedestrian traffic we are demonstrating an alternative vision that can help guide future urban/suburban planning projects.
Distance walking and pedestrianism is as old as mankind. It is as a result of our dependence on automobiles and other forms of transportation that our society has changed the look of its communities. In more recent times, commercial business and roads have marginalized our communities and caused us to limit the use of self-propelled travel. There are health and societal implications to our past policies. The walk follows a national movement to consider pedestrian traffic (walking and cycling) in all community and transportation projects.
Does it cost anything to participate in the walk?
No. This walking event is open to the general public and is supported by the ECGA and other organizations and volunteers for the sole purpose of providing a rewarding physical experience to the participants and to build awareness of pro-pedestrian issues. Walkers should be prepared by bringing their own food and supplies or be prepared to pay for them along the way.
Sign up now for our email list to stay on top of news about the event. You should register as a participant when online registration becomes available. Registered participants get the latest event information and will be able to set their own walking goals. After the walk, the results will be posted in detail for registered walkers and tallied with others for the total miles walked that day.
Isn’t walking in urban and marginalized industrial areas dangerous? How can I be sure that I’ll be safe if I walk?
The route that is planned for the walk is the current route of by the East Coast Greenway Alliance. The ECGA is a well-established organization with the ambitious objective of creating a 3,000-mile multi-use trail from Maine to Florida - with 23% currently complete as trail and the other 77% located on roads or sidewalks. We will be walking on many miles of the East Coast Greenway’s route. In addition, a portion of the walk comprises walkable paths and parks, as well as city sidewalks and commercial roads. Our route will take us through suburban nature paths, to the middle of cities, while traversing industrial areas on the city outskirts.
The area of our route should be safe provided walkers stay on the designated route obeying traffic laws. Some of the route will be clearly marked but walkers should rely on the maps that will be provided for guidance. Since even parts of the marked route will have areas not frequented by pedestrians, all walkers are advised to use caution. Walkers who take part in this event should not walk alone and walk with the lead walker, Paul Kiczek, meeting him at our specifically designated locations. A schedule of time and places will be posted. Walkers should always be consciously aware of their surroundings and visible to traffic.
How long does the walk take? Where do I start and finish?
The route will start from the Metropark train station in Iselin, NJ and finish at Penn Station in New York City and so will be conveniently located near NJ Transit transportation for assistance. While final details are not yet available, you can expect the first 50-mile walkers to begin before sunrise and finish after sunset in New York. We expect the lead group to finish in about 17 hours (assuming breaks along the way). If you would like to walk a shorter distance we will have various other opportunities to join in along the route as mentioned above.
What if I can’t make it all the way?
Walkers should plan in advance. They should know bus locations and train stations that are located along their route and also have a local taxi number available. We plan to have the support of the East Coast Greenway Alliance which provides some food, drink and shuttle service to those that cannot make it. But walkers should plan for a situation where no support available and have contingency plans for a friend or family member available by phone to assist them, just in case. Remember, that walking 50 miles is a difficult physical task that requires a great deal of stamina. If in doubt, you should consider one of our shorter distance goals and have a contingency plan.
What happens if it rains or we experience other bad weather conditions?
The event will be cancelled if the weather is bad. At this time of the year, heavy rains and lightening may cause a cancellation. Check back at the event website NJ2NY50.org for final details near the day of the event.
I’m not used to walking that long a distance. How can I train for the event?
While we expect many serious amateur athletes that already walk, run for recreation or even do marathons and triathlons, there are very few that have taken on this type of challenge. The main difference in a distance walk is the length of time and the number of repetitious steps. Most marathoners will complete a run in less than 5 hours. While walking is a much less intense form of exercise, this is nearly two times the distance, three times the length of time and many more times the footsteps. The most common reason to not complete the distance is exhaustion and/or blisters and foot problems. These can be avoided by proper hydration, nutrition and carefully considering the right shoes. Even so, walking this distance is a difficult task. An adult in good physical shape, perhaps as a recreational runner, should be able to complete at least 25 miles.
For a 50-mile walk, the best form of training is to practice walking by starting a planned program of walking near your home and slowly building, week by week, to at least a 30 mile loop. There is specific information on training for the event available on this website under "Tips" and look for more information in the weeks ahead. But, until then, why not start walking now?
Who do I contact to find out more and to keep up to date as the event progresses?
Visit this website http://NJ2NY50.org for the most current information about the walk specifically under the "Contact Us" Section
Be sure to sign up for the NJ2NY50 email newsletter on the home page. This will provide you with ongoing current information.
For general questions on the event email info@NJ2NY50.org. Contact Paul Kiczek at 973-214-1811 if you have specfic questins.
East Coast Greenway Alliance Contacts:
For specific questions about the route and the East Coast Greeenway:
Website - http://www.greenway.org
Andy Hamilton – Mid Atlantic Trail Coordinator, ECGA - firstname.lastname@example.org - 267-236-3407
Mike Kruimer - NJ Trail Coordinator. ECGA - email@example.com - 732-287-9447
Other supporting organizations have lots of useful information on walking, pedestrian issues, and existing trails which you can walk to practice for the event. See the "Links" section of this website for more information