Pay a visit to Old Falls Street if you want a quick trip to an international tourist destination without leaving Western New York. The Middle Block of the pedestrian strip – which connects the Seneca Niagara Casino to Niagara Falls State Park – boasts a number of family friendly activities throughout the year.
It also boasts the Old Falls Street Running Club, a free gathering that meets at 5:45 p.m. each Wednesday from April through November in front of the Niagara County Community College Culinary Institute (for more info, visit fallsstreet.com/old-falls-streets-run-club).
Jessica Stankiewicz, 40, a Sanborn native who lives in Niagara Falls, is Run Club director. She and fellow running enthusiast Tracey Maciejewski lead the class, as well as one at 9 a.m. Sundays at the base of the North Grand Island Bridge, off Buffalo Avenue, also in the Falls.
Q. How old is the running club and when did it start?
We’re in our third season. We started in the spring of 2014. We grew from there and put some things out on social media, Facebook, and asked runners if they wanted to join us. We have about 20, 25 runners.
Q. What is the range of abilities?
We accept all ages, all speeds and distances. Tracey and I make sure we never leave anyone behind.
Q. I see lots of foreign language messages on your Twitter hashtag, #RunNF.
We have had people from out of the country who were visiting the Falls join us, as well as other tourists every once in a while. A couple weeks ago, we had a young runner from Delaware who ran with us after she saw our Old Falls Street sign.
Q. How far, and where, do you run?
We run between 3 and 5 miles. If we’re in the Falls, we’re going to be running Old Falls Street to Goat Island or we’ll run from Old Falls Street to the Gorge Trail and do a little trail running. We run the Niagara Scenic Trail – that closed road that used to be the Robert Moses Parkway.
Q. What races are folks preparing for during the next few weeks?
Old Falls Street is training for a couple fall races, including the Turkey Trot, my favorite race of the year. We’ll all be running that together. There’s also the Niagara Falls Firefighters Christmas Toy Fun Charity Run. It’s an option of a 3- or 6-mile run at 10 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 15 in LaSalle Waterfront Park.
– Scott Scanlon