Did you know that one of the reasons for Asheville’s early growth was the quality of air across the Blue Ridge Mountains? This spring, take in big inhales of our cool mountain air as you pad through one of the region’s many running events.
Would you prefer a solo marathon or a family-friendly sprint? Are you ready to get your heart rate up with the special someone who makes your heart race? With so many running events across Western North Carolina throughout the year, it can be hard to know where to place your start line.
Luckily, our agents are experts in more than just the local housing market. We asked our running stars: What are the best annual running events in WNC?
Photo Amanda Hill
Run for the Paws (April 22, 2018), which is an event put on by Brother Wolf Animal Rescue, is absolutely one of my favorite running events of the year. Runners and spectators are encouraged to bring their four-legged friends to run alongside them while raising money for animals in need. And after the race is over, it turns into a giant party for the dogs!
Foot RX Running is hosting a $5 5K Prediction Run (September 5, 2018) with all proceeds to benefit Habitat for Humanity. The event will be held at Fletcher Parks and Recreation. Five dollars is the minimum donation to join in on the fun! The “prediction” part of the race means you predict your finish time at registration—no watches or phones allowed during the race. The person with the closest prediction to actual finish time wins!
If you are looking for a scenic route with a challenging hill or two, give the annual Biltmore/Kiwanis 15K (May 20, 2018) a try. Enjoy the beautiful grounds of the Biltmore Estate during the run and be sure to take your photo in front of the house. They also offer a 5K option. A great race at a beautiful place! Sign up soon—space is limited.
In spring, I enjoy running the Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon (May 5, 2018). It is put on by the Waynesville Chamber of Commerce every May. The course weaves through the Waynesville downtown area and then out through the countryside of Plott Creek. I enjoy seeing many friends from the community as participants, and there are always familiar faces to cheer on the runners, as well. It’s a relatively easy run with few hills. They also have a four miler race if one prefers the shorter distance. This year, my daughter and I will run it together. Last fall, we ran the Bethel half-marathon (October 13, 2018) together, which is another local favorite for the autumn leaf changing season.
Isaac Dickson Elementary’s Hot Chocolate 10K in January is a hugely popular race and an incredible fundraiser for this state-of-the-art, LEED-certified elementary school, right by downtown Asheville in the Montford neighborhood. Last year’s race raised more than $20,000 for the school!
I personally love the Asheville Turkey Trot in November. It is a 5K sponsored by Jus’ Running, and part of the proceeds are donated to MANNA FoodBank. The Turkey Trot is a family event (my girls and I all run). And the best part is that you do not need to feel guilty about eating a big Thanksgiving dinner afterwards!
The Sing For Celebration Run/Walk 5K (April 29, 2018) supports a group that I am passionate about! I accompany (on piano) for the Celebration Singers of Asheville, a children’s chorus for ages 7–14. I began 10 years ago, and I have loved every minute of watching kids reach their vocal potential. Come out and support this well-deserved community group of youngsters.
Brevard has several fun race events each year. In March, Oskar Blues Brewery hosts a four miler. It’s a benefit for the Cindy Platt Boys & Girls Club of Brevard. It begins and ends at the brewery with live music, beer (of course), the food truck, and games for the kids. The Rotary Club of Brevard also hosts the Firecracker 4th of July 5K, 10K, and 1K Fun Run (July 4, 2018), as well as the Flight of the Vampire Race (October 27, 2018) at Halloween, complete with costumes! Transylvania County certainly knows how to celebrate Halloween!
The Friends of the Lake 5K Road Race, Walk & Kids Fun Run (March 31, 2018) is a charitable event to support the recreation opportunities of Lake Junaluska. Proceeds make sure Lake Junaluska continues to be a beloved place where the community can enjoy the walking trail, gardens, and breathtaking vistas.