Nic DeCaire demonstrates how to use the push-up bar in Phillips Park.

Runners on the James F. Hall Trail now have an easy way to diversify their workouts.

The Newark Parks and Recreation Department recently installed three fitness stations along the 1.76-mile trail, which runs parallel to the Amtrak tracks from Bradford Lane to the Delaware Technology Park. A fourth station will be installed soon.

“We know this is just the beginning of an expanded program,” Parks and Recreation Director Charlie Emerson said, adding that the city has plans for more exercise stations in the future. “We wanted to add some additional activities. It’s all about getting people out and exercising.”

A recent study found that the Hall Trail is the most-used trail in the state, drawing 92,000 visitors a year.

“We get a lot of people out there, so it made sense to focus on the Hall Trail,” Emerson said.

The $8,000 cost of the equipment was funded by entry fees and sponsorships of the Mayor’s Masquerade Fun Run, a Halloween-themed race organized last year by Mayor Polly Sierer, Fusion Fitness and the University of Delaware College of Health Sciences.

Sierer, a lifelong athlete who plays tennis and basketball, said she always got her exercise through outdoor activity but started using exercise equipment last year when she joined Fusion Fitness as part of the Healthy Newark fitness challenge.

“It seemed natural to find a way to put the two together,” she said.

Sierer is planning a second Mayor’s Masquerade run Oct. 31 on the Hall Trail to raise money for a second batch of fitness stations.

“Residents and students in Newark, as well as the many visitors who come to our community, will be able to utilize the exercise equipment as they visit the trail and parks,” she said. “The equipment benefits bicyclists, walkers and runners who use the trail and parks.”

The equipment includes a pull-up station and a push-up bar in Phillips Park, a combo press-and-pull station in Lewis Park, and coming soon, a sit-up board in Kells Park. The equipment includes instructions, and crews are planning to install signs directing people to the stations.

Nic DeCaire, owner of Fusion Fitness, said the stations are an easy way for walkers and joggers to exercise additional muscles during their trek.

“Most people run, but never resistance exercise,” DeCaire said. “This gets them to do something they don’t normally do during their lunchtime walk.”

He said he finds more and more people are taking advantage of the Hall Trail, as well as the Pomeroy Trail, which connects to the Hall and heads north into White Clay Creek State Park.

“This is a hidden gem in Newark,” he said. “People who know about it use it, and it’s waiting to be discovered by others.

By Josh Shannon jshannon@chespub.com

[Click here for a workout plan that incorporates a walk or run on the James F. Hall Trail and use of the four new fitness stations along the trail.]

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