5th Annual Mount Mitchell Challenge

Posted by Black Mountain Birdie | Posted in | Posted on Thursday, January 20, 2011

Today (which was actually yesterday now) is beautiful...the sun is shining, the air is crisp, and the sky is that glorious deep blue that seems to penetrate even the dullest winter landscape.  It is a perfect glimpse of spring...here in the midst of winter.  I am sitting on my porch, barefoot actually, soaking it all in.  

With these warming temperatures comes some motivation to get outside, set some goals, and get some exercise.  Though many of you are not swayed from your winter workout and don't mind running in even the worst of weather conditions....I am not one of you.  I am a fair weather runner.

Whether you like to test your grit or, like me, like a sunny day run,  Black Mountain has some great races all year round.  One of the most notable upcoming races is the Mount Mitchell Challenge and Marathon.  Chip Craig, a local business owner, is one of the local folks who has bitten off this unbelievable 40 mile long Challenge year after year for the past 5 years.  Another committed participant is my family doctor and good friend, Dr. Robert Barker who has run the Challenge every year since it's inception.  These extreme athletes...aka crazy people... run this race in some of the harshest conditions and yet come year after year to compete.

The Challenge which is a 40 mile run with a 4,324 ft. climb in elevation fills up within hours of opening up registration each year.  The marathon, with a climb of 2,980 ft, on its own seems daunting but next to it's full grown older brother now looks like a playful puppy.

I asked Chip why he keeps coming back and with an obvious excitement he says that it "allows me to get outside and be in the wilderness.  I love the long runs...4, 5, and 6 hours with no one else up there...no other tracks in the snow."  He was telling me about one of his recent runs up to Mt. Mitchell where he was trekking through snow waist deep at the top.  I am sure the view was just stunning.

Well, more power to them (or you)...for me, I will stick to indoor sports in the winter and as I thaw, along with the surrounding landscape, I will come out and set my goals for one of these upcoming races:

Feb. 12 - Valentine 5K & Kids 1 mile
12 annual event. 3.1 mile run in quite neighborhood. $25 before Feb. 9th. Youth run on Oaks Trail $5 before Feb. 9th.
Contact: Black Mountain Recreation and Parks
Feb. 26 - Mt. Mitchell Challenge / Black Mtn. Marathon
40 mile Challenge. 26 mile Marathon. Registration Sept. 1st.
Apr. 02 - Greenway Challenge 5K & 10K
    Proceeds to support Black Mountain developing a network of trails for hiking, biking, and walking.                 
   (828)669-2052    WWWbmtgreenwaychallenge.org
   Apr. 04 - Black Mountain Monster 12/24 Relay
   Aug. 13 - Sourwood 5K and Pump and Run

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