More than 300 runners and walkers from across the region and Southeast are expected to gather at Western Carolina University on Saturday, April 6, for the third annual Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon and 5-K.
The half marathon will begin at 8 a.m. and take runners on a picturesque 13.1-mile journey across the WCU campus and along quiet country roads beside the Tuckaseigee River. The 5-K (3.1-mile) race for runners and walkers begins at 8:15 a.m.
As of Monday, April 1, a total of 277 individuals had registered for the races, with 185 signing up for the half marathon and 92 for the 5-K. Out of all the registered participants, 31 are members of the WCU faculty or staff and 90 are WCU students.
Online registration for the races was set to end Tuesday, April 2, but on-site race-day registration had been added to the event this year. Individuals will have an opportunity to register from 6:30 until 7:30 a.m. April 6 at WCU’s Campus Recreation Center, with fees set at $80 for the half marathon and $30 for the 5-K. Race-day registrants will receive a technical T-shirt as long as supplies last.
Packet pickup for pre-registered runners and walkers will be held at the Campus Recreation Center from 4 to 8 p.m. on both Thursday, April 4, and Friday, April 5. Race day packet pickup will take place from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. at the recreation center.
After runners and walkers take off from WCU’s Central Plaza, they will find numerous aid stations with water and sports drink along the half marathon and 5-K routes, and mile-markers will help them chart their progress. Half-marathon runners who participated in the Valley of the Lilies last year will notice that the route has been modified, said Sandy Terhune, race director and associate director of WCU’s Department of Campus Recreation and Wellness. The course has been redesigned to eliminate most of the time runners spend along N.C. 107, the main thoroughfare in the Cullowhee Valley, and to increase the time they spend running beside the Tuckaseigee River.
“This allows for a safer and more scenic route for the half-marathon runners,” Terhune said. “This also takes out the large hill on highway 107 runners have battled the past two years, although it is replaced by another challenging hill that we’ve titled the Catamount Climb. The roughly one-half mile Catamount Climb is tough, but we’ll have an aid station with Gatorade and water at the top along with lots of motivating people cheering our runners. Runners also will have an opportunity to purchase a long-sleeved technical shirt at the finish line that says ‘I Survived the Catamount Climb.’”
WCU’s School of Health Sciences and Department of Campus Recreation and Wellness are hosting the races. MedWest Health System is the title sponsor. Proceeds will be used to assist WCU students with expenses for professional development opportunities such as presentations and travel to workshops and conferences.
For more information about the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon and 5-K, go to http://halfmarathon.wcu.edu. Facebook fans also can “like” the WCU Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon and 5-K for race updates and information.