This weekend: Da you run, run? 

And, they're off! At the Frostbite in Fletcher!

February is a great time for runners to establish a baseline. Perhaps you’ve been training for month now, you’re eager to see where you are, where you need to be. That said, we present three great options to do just that, with either a trail run at the coast, a greenway run in the Piedmont, or a road race in the mountains.

Coast

When we look for a trail run, we look for a trail that’s wild, but not too wild. Wild in that it must be a relatively foot-friendly natural surface (we make an exception for the rocky and rooty Uwharrie Trail Run), be gently rolling at best, and take you through spectacular terrain. A trail run such as this Saturday’s BNP Trail Jam at Brunswick Nature Park near Wilmington.

BNP — which officially is in Town Creek Township, which is not far from Leland, which is just west of Wilmington — is 911 acres of wild. It’s coastal and lush, a mix of dense vegetation and wildlife in several ecosystems (there’s even a view or two). And miles of trail run through it. Saturday, those trails will link to offer races of 3.5, 9 and 18 miles. There’s also a relay option. And Saturday’s weather couldn’t be better for a trail race (see Saturday forecast, below).

Logistics: BNP Trail Jam, Saturday, Feb. 18, 9 a.m., Brunswick Nature Park, Town Creek. 3.5-, 9- and 18-mile options. $45-$99. More info here.

Saturday forecast: Mostly sunny, high of 55 at start time, peaking around 70.

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Looking ahead: Nature Hike on new terrain at Hammocks Beach State Park, March 4, 12:30 p.m. More info here.

Queuing up, at the Charlotte 10-Miler

Piedmont

Maybe you have a thing about dirt: the notion of a trail run appeals, but getting your favorite pristine running shoes … less pristine? Sends a chill, eh?

If so, consider the Charlotte 10-Miler. It’s 10 miles of trail running, but on paved trails, specifically, the paved greenways of Charlotte’s McMullen and 4-Mile Creek greenways. This is a point-to-point race, and if the thought of 10 miles this early in the season is daunting, there’s a 4-mile option. And again, ideal race conditions are forecast (Saturday forecast, below.)

Logistics: Charlotte 10-Miler, Saturday, Feb. 18, 7:30 a.m., Earth Fare, 12235 North Community House Road, Charlotte. $60 ($40 for the 4-Miler). More info here.

Saturday forecast: Race time temp of 46 under somewhat sunny skies.

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Looking ahead: Hike to Tory’s Den, Hanging Rock State Park, Danbury, Saturday, March 4, 2 p.m. More info here.

Mountains

One of the great things about winter races? They typically start at more civil times (the Charlotte 10-Miler aside). Take Sunday’s Frostbite 5K & 10K in Fletcher: not only will you be able to have coffee and read the paper beforehand, not only will you be able to go out for brunch, but you’ll also be able to watch a little college hoops before the 2:30-in-the-afternoon start!

Unlike today’s other recommendations, this is a true road race.

Logistics: Frostbite 5K and 10K, Sunday, Feb. 19, 2:30 p.m., Lelia Patterson Center at Howard Gap and Naples roads in Fletcher. $40, $55. More info here.

Sunday forecast: High of 63 and mostly sunny at race time.

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Looking ahead: Flight of the American Woodcock, Feb. 25, New River State Park, Laurel Springs. More info here.

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Those are our thoughts on the weekend. Find more options at the sources listed below. 

Coast

CapeFearCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar for the Cape Fear/Wilmington/southern N.C. coast searchable by date and event name.

Coastal Guide
Comprehensive calendar including nature programs from a variety of coastal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs. Covers the entire coast.

Crystal Cost Tourism Authority
Comprehensive calendar focusing on the Crystal Coast. Good source for programs offered by N.C. Coastal Federation, Cape Lookout National Park, N.C. National Estuarine Research Reserve and other costal conservation and research agencies that offer nature programs.

NCCoast.com
Comprehensive calendar including programs for the Outer Banks and Crystal Coast.

North Carolina Coast Host
Comprehensive calendar for the entire coast that lets you search for events by day, by region, by county, by city or by event (based on key word).

This Week Magazine
Primary focus is the Crystal Coast (North Carolina’s coastal midsection).

Mountains

Asheville Citizen-Times
From the main page, click on “Outdoors,” then WNC Outdoors calendar.

Blue Ridge Outdoors
Searchable calendar lets you extend your reach to events throughout the mid-Atlantic and Southeast (or you can just limit it to North Carolina). Also lets you search a boatload of categories, ranging from Hiking, Mountain Biking and Climbing to Trail Running, Triathlon and Road Walking.

The Mountain Times
From the main page, click on “Calendars,” then Main Events.

Todd’s Calendar

Piedmont

Charlotte

Charlotte Observer events calendar
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including Nature, Recreation, Recreation & Wellness, Running

Charlotte Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triad

GoTriad.com
Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

Piedmont Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Triangle

Triangle.com
Comprehensive calendar searchable by category, including: Birding, Boating, Cycling, Nature, Rec & Wellness, Recreation, Running, Swimming, Tennis, Yoga.

Carolina Parent
Comprehensive calendar concentrating on things the family can do together.

Statewide

Great Outdoor Provision Co. 
Calendar includes three weekly events for each of its seven markets: Chapel Hill, Charlotte, Greensboro, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington and Winston-Salem. Search by market.

Office of Environmental Education
One calendar for the numerous Environmental Education Centers statewide.

North Carolina State Parks
Lets you search for programs at the state’s parks, recreation areas and natural areas by location, by month, by topic. To reach the calendar from the home page, click on “Education,” then “Fun & Free Programs at Parks.”

National Forests in North Carolina
From the home page, click on Carolina Connections for news updates on the state’s four national forests as well as hints on recreational opportunities and a detailed rundown of recreation areas and the amenities at each.

U.S. National Wildlife Refuges
Rundown, by month, of regular activities at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service refuges in North Carolina.

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