A gorgeous weekend — clear skies and temperatures around 80 are forecast across the state — and three stellar festivals — 2014 Carolina Cup (standup paddleboarding), French Broad Classique (canoeing and kayaking), and TuckFest (everything) — make this the weekend to be out and having fun in North Carolina.
Adam Spisak knew he was on to something three weeks before his inaugural Big Muddy Challenge in September. That was when he realized he needed more T-shirts. A lot more T-shirts.
The idea for the Big Muddy Challenge came to him in a dream of sorts. It was last fall, he had done the Tough Mudder obstacle race in South Carolina earlier in the day, had driven back to Raleigh and was trying to get his daughter back to sleep. It was 2:30 in the morning, and Spisak needed to be to work in a few hours. Thinking about his own active lifestyle — he was a runner, played golf, was in an adult soccer league — and thinking about his daughter, with whom he wanted to spend time, he got to thinking it would be fun to do an obstacle race with her when she got older. Trouble was, he discovered Googling the next day, no parent-kid obstacle race existed.
“So I decided to create one,” Spisak says.
The notion of parent and child frolicking together in the mud seemed a natural, but who knew? Spisak got to work planning the inaugural Big Muddy Challenge for Sept. 7 at Hill Ridge Farms in Raleigh. Organizers of similar events — charity runs, for instance — told him to expect around 200 participants for a first-time affair. Spisak secretly hoped for 500.
“I wanted it to be big enough to have a significant impact for my charity,” Spisak says. Profits from the first Big Muddy were designated for Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Triangle.
The other organizers he consulted told him one other thing: about 75 percent of participants sign up within three weeks of an event. Three weeks from the first Big Muddy, Spisak says nearly 400 parents and kids had signed up, about double what he’d been told to expect. As promised registration took off from there.
The three-day Crystal Coast Paddle Festival opens in Swansboro Friday while the inaugural Green River Games promises to offer some of the most challenging competition the state has seen. Meanwhile, in the Piedmont, it’s the Big Muddy Challenge, big muddy fun for parents and kids.
In honor of National Trails Day, which is Saturday, we’ve got little but trails on our mind this weekend: trails muddy, trails dry, trails in need of repair and construction. And birds. For a full rundown of the 25 National Trails Day events in North Carolina on Saturday see yesterday’s post.
Kick off Easter weekend on the water Friday evening in Wilmington, then explore a Piedmont mountain or run — and bike and paddle and use a map & compass — like a bunny in the high country.
Back in college we started the weekend when it deserves to be started, at 5 o’clock Friday afternoon with a ritual we called FAC — Friday Afternoon Club. The focus of FAC was amber liquids, much like the focus of this Friday’s FAC — Sunset Kayaking Adventure — departing from Wilmington’s River Road Park. Unlike my old FAC, the objective this Friday will be to stay on top of those liquids, not consume them.