The course runs through the mountain biking trails at the USNWC. It consists mostly of single-track, with some double-track and gravel roads. The race begins along the Wilderness Channel and first heads up towards the Mega-zip area. Just in front of Big Drop at the end of the Competition Channel the course does a complete 180 and heads down into the deep pine woods. The dirt on the trails consists mostly of red clay and many parts border along the Catawba River.
The course is steep for the Charlotte area and is a very difficult course. You can expect to run a 5k two to four minutes slower than your normal time on a flat road. The trail consists of several long gentle inclines followed by quick steep downhills. This is what makes these trails great for mountain biking, but makes them exceptionally difficult for trail running.
The groups associated with the race series include North Carolina Outward Bound, Dixon Hughes PLLC, Powerade, Jesse Brown's Outdoors, Mountain Khakis, Timberland, GoLite, REI and Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital. The proceeds from this event go to benefit the North Carolina Outward Bound Veterans Program. This program is to help veterans adapt to re-entry in to life not in a combat zone.
This is an excellent event in a great setting that goes to benefit a great cause. Anyone could finish the 5k race with a little bit of effort and training. I have stayed to enjoy the rapids at the USNWC after two of the three races thus far. So if you do not have any plans for the 16th of September than come join me.
For those wondering my time in the third race was 30 minutes 13 seconds. I have improved more than 3 minutes from the first race in March.
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