This weekend: downtown runs, a marsh paddle

Coastal paddling. Photo courtesy

This weekend you can race early through the streets of Asheville or late through downtown Durham. Not a city person? Fret not: there’s a marsh paddle near Wilmington that goes nowhere near concrete or traffic lights.


There are lots of paddling options at the coast. My favorite: riverine and salt marsh habitats. That’s the destination Saturday of a trip sponsored by New Hanover County Parks & Gardens and Hook, Line & Paddle at Riverside Park in Castle Hayne. The 2.5-hour guided trip will explore the flora and fauna of this rich habitat.

Logistics: Saturday, July 27, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m. $25 to $50 (depending upon whether you need a boat). More info at 910.798-7707 or

Saturday forecast: High of 88, 40 percent chance of rain.

Glowing at the start. Photo courtesy Durham Habitat for Humanity.


I don’t know about you, but my motivation to run or ride diminishes greatly when the temperature is on its way to the mid-90s. But when it’s on it’s way down that’s another matter. Even if in both instances it’s 85 degrees, it just seems cooler if you know the temperature is on its way down.

Such will be the case Saturday night for the 7th annual Habitat Bull Moon Ride & Run in Downtown Durham. There’s a 5K run and a 12-mile bike ride, both originating at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park and both taking in the sights of downtown Durham. The ride starts at 8:15, the run at 8:30. Running or riding through downtown Durham after dark: how cool is that!?

Logistics: Saturday, July 27, 8-11:30 p.m. Register by close of business Thursday and it’s $32 for adults, $22 for youngsters; register Friday or race day and its $40/$30. For more info or to register, go here.

Saturday forecast: High of 82 (and that’s during the day), 40 percent chance of rain.

Photo courtesy Asheville Track Club.


This race isn’t at night; in fact, it’s pretty dang early with the starting gun firing at 7:30 Saturday morning. But it is in a downtown, Asheville’s, and has a reputation as being a top-flight 5K. It’s the Bele Chere 5K, and if you need additional incentive, this is your last chance at this event: Saturday’s running is the 34th and final version of the race.

There’s a lot going on with this race, too much to mention here so we’ll refer you to the website.

Logistics: Saturday, July 27, 7:30 a.m. Register through Friday and it’s $30, $35 on race day (registration opens at 6 a.m.). More info here.

Saturday forecast: High of 79, 50 percent chance of rain.

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


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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