nav-111-704x454Continuing a late-autumn tradition, Jersey Shore Running Club hosts the Navesink Challenge, the 15th annual edition of which hits the leaf-laden hills and dales of Middletown on Sunday, November 29. (photo from runjersey.com)

It happens this time each November; a recreational event that occurs long after the last of the extended-summer excursions on the greater Green, and yet too early for the first Polar Bear Plunge of the new year. It’s the annual Navesink Challenge — and even those who aren’t serious competitive runners can appreciate this stand-alone outdoor activity that doesn’t come equipped with funny sweaters, caroling kiddies, and complimentary cups of hot chocolate.

When the Jersey Shore Running Club presents the 15th edition of its late-autumn race day this Sunday, November 29, it will take once more to the wooded and leaf-laden trails of Bodman Park, located off Navesink River Road in Middletown — and it will give once more to a great local cuase: the programs of the Middletown Youth Athletic Association.

Presented by in partnership with the MYAA, the Navesink Challenge offers two events (a 15k run and a 5k run/walk) starting at 8:30 am. The main run rambles through some of the most scenic, off-the-beaten-path precincts of Middletown Township, including Cooper, Bowne and Browns Dock Road (as it bisects Huber Woods) — and the Challenge derives from the fact that it’s far from a flat course (or, as the tagline says, “It’s a Hill. Get Over It!”).

While registration is officially closed for the historically sold-out event, the JSRC is offering a couple of alternate options (including “bib transfers” and charity registrations) to prospective participants, and other ways in which to kick up support for the recreational programs offered to the township’s kids. Take it here for details on getting in the race (as well as on prize drawings that benefit the MYAA), then take it over to Road Runner Sports in Shrewsbury to register on Saturday, November 28.