This weekend: Let’s go for a run

So much of running — of becoming a runner in the first place — is psychological. Saturday, you’ll find three races statewide that offer the types of incentives that will advance you from aspiring runner to actual — and who knows, possibly avid — runner.


Photo courtesy Wilmington Star-News

Two thoughts for you aspiring runners out there. First, you need a goal, which in the case of running is typically a race. You needn’t shoot for a finishing time, simply finishing is admirable for your first race.

Goal Two pertains to Goal One, and actually precedes it: go watch a race. There’s an energy and an excitement to a well-organized race that provides great incentive to start training and to keep training. It’s a supportive environment, and you’ll quickly see that not everyone, not even the majority, are fitness buffs out for a PR. Most simply like the camaraderie, the atmosphere and the sense of accomplishment.

To that end, we recommend Saturday’s 33rd Annual Tri-Span 10K and 5K in Wilmington. The race starts and ends downtown, crosses Memorial Bridge (the 10K crosses two more bridges, hence the “Tri-Span”), runs by the Battleship USS North Carolina and has generally great scenery. Runners recover with local watermelon, cantaloup and cold beverages.

A great race to run, a great race to watch.

Logistics: Saturday, July 11, 7 a.m., downtown Willmington. $30 in advance, $35 day of race. More info and registration here.

Saturday forecast: High of 77 at race time.

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Looking ahead: On July 31, Halyburton Park in Wilmington holds a Blue Moon Kayaking Adventure — a sunset paddle from River Road Park to Shark Tooth Island. $35-$45. More info here or by calling 910.341.0075


Photo courtesy Moonlight Bootlegger 5K

In this world of ever-expanding 5Ks, it can be hard for one race to distinguish itself from another. Not a problem with Saturday’s Moonlight Bootlegger 5K.

First, it’s at night, starting right about sunset (8:50 p.m.). Why at night? It’s cooler, for one. But the race organizers have a better reason: “Just like our bootleggin’ ancestors, see if you can make it through the moonlit woods to get to the stompin’ grounds, where you can enjoy handcrafted moonshine and flatfoot it to live music.”

Second, in addition to the traditional race t-shirt, runners get a commemorative moonshine Mason jar. And after the race, in the dark of the woods, the post-race party includes live bluegrass and old timey music, and food and beverage, including “two moonshine drink tickets for those over the age of 21.” Plus, the race is at Hagan Stone Park in Pleasant Garden (the Triad), home to one of the state’s most popular 5K courses.

Logistics: Saturday, July 11, 8:50 p.m., Hagan Stone Park, Pleasant Garden. $45. For more info and to register, go here.

Saturday forecast: Race time temperature of 79 with a chance of thunderstorms.

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Looking ahead: Saturday, July 18, 10 a.m., Nature Art and Journaling, Reedy Creek Nature Preserve, Charlotte. Free. More info by calling 704.432.6460.


Prohibition-4k-LogoUntil March 10, 2009, the mountain town of Spruce Pine was dry. On the 10th, local residents decided enough of that, and voted to go wet. Every year since, they’ve celebrate their libation emancipation with the Prohibition 4K.

The event this year is Saturday at 6 p.m. It begins with the race — entry fee includes a festive race bib, a pint glass, liquid to fill the pint glass, and BBQ — and continues with a celebration of what the end of prohibition has meant to Spruce Pine’s prosperity.

Another note to you aspiring runners: that full pint glass and BBQ plate at the finish? Another one of the incentives that keeps folks on the run.

Logistics: Saturday, July 11, 6 p.m., Spruce Pine. $30 ($2.50 if you sign up online). More info and to register, go here.

Sunday forecast: Race time high of 83 under clear skies.

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Looking ahead: Lake Logan Multi-Sport Festival, Aug. 8-9, Lake Logan Episcopal Center, Canton. Includes the Lake Logan Half Tri (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run), international race (1500m swim, 24 mile bike, 10K run), and the Lake Logan Sprint (500m swim, 12 mile bike, 5K run). More info here.

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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 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.
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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