Weekend 10K to commemorate Friends of the Wissahickon’s 90th anniversary

 Runners set out in a 10K commemorating the Friends of the Wissahickon's 85th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of FOW/Bérénice Linck)

Runners set out in a 10K commemorating the Friends of the Wissahickon's 85th anniversary. (Photo courtesy of FOW/Bérénice Linck)

Three hundred runners will line up along Forbidden Drive for Sunday’s Forbidden 10K race in Wissahickon Valley Park. The event commemorates the Friends of the Wissahickon’s (FOW) 90th anniversary.

“It’s a more a celebration of a legacy of stewardship,” said Ruffian Tittman, FOW’s director of development and operations. “It’s more about the community than FOW. We just thought that it’s an accessible way to celebrate FOW and our goal and still get out and have some fun at the same time.”

Takes a village

Founded in 1924, FOW’s membership jumped from 50 to 500 within six years. Its members raised $9,000 — which would be substantially more today with inflation factored in — and planted 14,000 trees and shrubs.

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That FOW has existed for nine decades represents “a long legacy of community investment in a public asset,” said Tittman.

The last time FOW hosted a Wissahickon race was 2009, when it was celebrating its 85th anniversary. A woman who ran with a baby stroller was one of two winners that day.

The race and upcoming events

The Forbidden 10K is one of three events being held to celebrate the 90th anniversary.

On July 12, FOW will host a family picnic at Pachella Field.

Then, in late October, they’ll host a gala with dancing and a dinner menu designed by a celebrity Philadelphia restaurateur at the Valley Green Inn.

At 9 a.m. Sunday, the runners will take off from the starting line near Northwestern Avenue and Forbidden Drive and pass points of historical interest including the Thomas Mill Covered Bridge and the Tedyuscung Statue.

When runners reach the Valley Green Inn, they’ll turn around and run back up Forbidden Drive to complete the 6.2-mile loop.

There will be various awards for male and female divisions as well as different age groups; runners range in age from their mid-teens to senior citizens.

Following the race is a noon clean-up session at Northwestern Avenue and Forbidden Drive, participants of which will be entered in a drawing to win tickets to the Jack Johnson concert at the Mann Center for the Performing Arts.

All proceeds from the race — the route was selected to highlight a thoroughfare that offers more room for runners than a path — go to FOW’s continuing mission as stewards of the park and Valley Green Inn, according to Tittman.

Also this weekend in the park, the Fairmount Park Horse Show will take place at the Northwestern Stables from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

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