FOOT NOTES: Running for (yard decor) inspiration


With each passing day since the start of spring, I’ve felt a rising pressure to take care of the lawn and yard projects still remaining on my to-do list.

Sure, I’ve already gotten the front flower bed weeded out and built a new raised garden box out back, but those are just the basics.

I’m not a “Keeping up with Jones'” kind of guy, but it would be nice if my home had just a little bit more pop. At this point, our lawn decor consists of a trio of stone tortoises and a small “spring” flag that gets blown off its flagpole every chance it gets.

I’ve been straining my brain to think of a creative upgrade, and the only solution I’ve come up with is that I won’t find my answer sitting in this chair and scratching my head.

So let’s step outside and get some inspiration from my neighbors. I could walk for this operation, but if I run and keep my glances brief, maybe they won’t notice me trying to poach their lawn ideas. 

Just as I begin to settle into a nice jogging pace, I get a clean view of a backyard that has it all, both visually and practically. There are flower beds bursting with color, flanked by large raised vegetable gardens ready to bear produce for every recipe. The two-seat hot tub and hammock just make this even more of a paradise at home. THIS is what I’d love to have, but as I start to calculate the estimated costs in my head, I figure it wouldn’t be a bad idea to see what other yards have to offer. 

I continue my journey and scan every front yard, comparing garden mulch and stone styles. There are hand-carved wooden signs with family names, calming wind chimes, and rows of cleanly-trimmed bushes. It’s a lot of information to process.

As my run progresses down this block and through the next few blocks, I can feel beads of sweat running down my forehead. Am I running faster or just feeling the pressure?

Filled with ideas, but short on any actual plans, I turn around and head back home. The last yard I study is that of my next-door neighbor. Her garden beds are both gorgeous and varied, and the sound of her fountain just makes me want to sit outside and dive into a book. If I could get my yard to look half as nice as hers, I’d call that a win.

It’s time to make dinner, now, and I’ll have a lot to think over while I prepare this meal. I’m a little anxious that I’ll be no closer to a clue on how to proceed than when I started, but the good news is that I’ve added a 2.5-mile run to the books, and that has me feeling positive. Even if my yard continues to remain average for a few more days or even weeks, it will just give me more time to pound the pavement to “jog” my thoughts.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to abruptly stop here, as our flag is blowing down the street once again.


A week’s worth of rain wasn’t enough to prevent nearly 400 runners from hitting the muddy trails last weekend for the Buck Ridge Burn 5K/10K/Half Marathon, held in Gardners.

Franklin County’s highest finisher came from the 10K race, which saw Chambersburg’s Nate Goshorn take the runner-up spot in 1:03:44. He was followed by fellow Chambersburg runners Tara Redding (1:19:18) and Elizabeth Reichard (1:19:18), as well as Greencastle’s Heidi Hade (1:36:23). Two Local.News runners landed Top 10 finishes in the 5K race: Chambersburg’s Josh Haney (8th in 34:20) and Fayetteville’s Todd Barton (10th in 34:46).

As for the Buck Ridge Burn Half Marathon, the fastest local times were posted by Chambersburg’s Jason Huber (2:13:34) and Clayton Rotz (2:19:55).

A race dating back to 1985, the Martins Mill Covered Bridge 5 Miler in Greencastle, saw 44 runners turn out for its annual running. Chambersburg’s Matthew Walker (8th in 41:33) and Montana Duty (46:56) led the way, while other top times were posted by Greencastle’s Adam Smith (43:47) and Jalene Hummer (46:05).

Two races featured winners from the Local.News are: The Charge for Change 3K in Hagerstown and the Levi a Bon 5K in Shippensburg. The 3K race saw Smithsburg’s Rob Hovermale charged to victory in 9:24 over the 57-runner field, while the event in Shippensburg saw Emanuel Ciocan of Greencastle earn the win in 21:13.

Finally, in Shippensburg, the Bunny Hop 5K featured several strong efforts from area runners, including Chambersburg’s Braelyn Wenger (25:23) and Darcy Aurand (27:12), and Fayetteville’s Danielle Portier (25:40) and Brian Baughman (27:47).

A handful of other locals were involved in races across the region and beyond, including Chambersburg’s Cher Martin (29:34 at Pirate 5K), Jesse Bumbaugh (46:42 at Run to Honor 5K), and Kaitlyn McQuinn (1:00:01 at Run for Hospice 5K).

And now, a look ahead: 

Heralds of Hope 5K: Saturday, 10:30 a.m., in Shippensburg. This race, held on the Cumberland Valley Rail Trail, benefits the Ministry of Heralds of Hope. Register for the race on

Halfity Half Marathon: Sunday, 8 a.m., in Harrisburg. There are options for a half marathon, quarter marathon, and an eighth marathon in this event, which features scenic views of Harrisburg and the Susquehanna River. Find the race on

Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K: Saturday, April 20, 9 a.m., in Pottsville. The best part of waking up is lager in your cup? Probably not, but that’s how runners will be celebrating their completed run at this popular event. Find the race on

Also: Boston Trail Half Marathon (Saturday, in Elizabeth Township); Brew to Brew 10K+ (Saturday, in Allentown); Butterfly Trail Run 5K/10K (Saturday, in Lacaster); Dirty Kiln Trail Races (Saturday, in Hollidaysburg); EYHS DECA Dash 5K (Saturday, in Hellam); Ninja 1M/5K/10K/15K/Half Marathon (Saturday, in York); Philadelphia Trail Marathon (Saturday, in Philadelphia); RunPA Kids Little TrailBlazers Trail Run 5K (Saturday, in Lancaster); Paterno Family Beaver Stadium Run 5K (Sunday, in University Park); Thirsty Thursday 5K (Thursday, April 18, in Reading); Celebrate Trails Day Distance Medley 5K/10K/Half Marathon (Saturday, April 20, in Shickshinny); Get Muddy for Masyn Marie 5K (Saturday, April 20, in Dover); Hyner View Trail Challenge 25K/50K (Saturday, April 20, in Hyner); Junior League of Williamsport 5K (Saturday, April 20, in Williamsport); Rock the Nock 5K/10K/Half Marathon (Saturday, April 20, in Quakertown); Run for the Horses 5K Fun Run (Saturday, April 20, in Lewisberry); Viking 5K/10K (Saturday, April 20, in Akron); Run to Breathe Half Marathon (Sunday, April 21, in Portersville); Valley Forge Revolutionary Run 5 Miler (Sunday, April 21, in King of Prussia).

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