This weekend: Run, ride, hike

The view from the Appalachian Trail bridge over the Nantahala River at the Nantahala Outdoor Center.

A 5K/10K kicks off the Azalea Festival in Wilmington, there’s a ride with lunch in the Triangle and at the Nantahala Outdoor Center they’ll be celebrating hiking and long trails. A good cross-section of sweaty fun this weekend in North Carolina.


What better way to kick off a festival than with a run? This Saturday’s Azalea 5K/10K/Fun Walk, for example, which kicks off Wilmington’s annual Azalea Festival. (Kicks off prematurely: while the race is Saturday, the festival proper doesn’t get underway until Wednesday.) The course is flat and USATF certified. It’s $35 to participate, but funds go help the Big Buddy program.

Logistics: $35, online registration ends tonight at midnight. Race begins at 8 a.m. (packet pickup is from 6:30-7:30 a.m.) More info here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny with a high of 66.

These people are responsible for Saturday's MS Spring Fling.


Eager for that first group ride of the year? It could happen Saturday on the MS Spring Fling, sponsored by Team MSFits. Both the 30- and 50-mile rides begin at the Sam’s Club in Morrisville and work their way through RTP and out to Falls Lake and Granville County and back. Lunch at the finish, provided by Carino’s Italian, Moe’s Southwest, California Pizza Kitchen and Hooters.

Logistics: $40 to ride, register here.

Weekend forecast: Sunny with a high of 66 (bring your sleeves!)


Typically, we associate the Nantahala Outdoor Center with whitewater sports, but Friday and Saturday the NOC celebrates is location on the Appalachian Trail with the AT Founder’s Bridge Festival. “Put on your boots, bring your friends, and join us to celebrate this historic trail,” the NOC implores on its Web site. “Day hikers, long distance warriors, and outdoor enthusiasts alike are welcome to share their passion with like-minded folks. Enjoy trail-steeped speakers sharing their experiences, a vendor village staffed by industry representatives, skills clinics, as well as some great product giveaways and door prizes and live music nightly.” Among the speakers you won’t want to miss: Jennifer Pharr Davis (author, “AT Speed Record Hike,” “Becoming Odyssa”, backcountry guide Patrick Warren and Bill Walker, author of books on the AT, PCT, Camino de Santiago, among others.

Logistics: Festivities from 2 p.m. to midnight Friday, 8 a.m. ‘til late Saturday. A breakdown of the schedule here.

Weekend forecast: Rainy Friday morning but clearing in the afternoon, high of 68. Sunny and 75 on Saturday.

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Those are GGNC’s thoughts for an active weekend. Find out other ways you can get out this weekend by browsing our super calendar, a collection of events calendars from throughout the state, below.

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 costal 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.
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).


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



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.

Comprehensive calendar includes a Sports & Recreation category.

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

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.


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.

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