Uwharrie Trail Welcomes Extreme Athletes

            I have always been an advocate of mixing your time outdoors with exercise.  Walking, hiking, and canoeing all offer a chance to improve your physical condition while also refreshing your mind.  For most folks thatís why we want to be spend time on the trail.  In addition, outdoor exercise doesnít have to be a competition.  Anyone can participate as long as they want to.

If you follow a similar line of thinking I recommend you stay off of the Uwharrie Trail this Saturday.  Montgomery County welcomes a different breed of athlete to participate in the 40 mile trail run.  You may have heard about this run before. It is becoming somewhat of an annual event for off-road runners throughout the Southeast.  On Saturday, the race will begin at 7 a.m. at the Trailhead located on Flint Hill Road .  From there 110 runners will set out southward along the Uwharrie Trail in route to Highway 24/27 some twenty miles away.  Amazingly, once they reach 24/27 they turn around and retrace their path back to the starting point.  Shortly after the start of the forty-miler another 120 runners will embark on a twenty mile race.  Finally, for those not looking for a super long race an eight mile race begins at 9 a.m.

Now I donít expect everyone who reads this to dig out their old running shoes out of the closet and try to register.  I would, however, highly recommend you find a way to watch these elite athletes in action.  For these runners a warm smile and words of encouragement can mean a lot.  After several hours running through the secluded woods any human support is much appreciated.  There are different aid stations being set up along the course that would provide good viewing areas.  To find out more about where these stations will be visit www.raceuwharrie.com. 

Having ran my first marathon last November, I can fully appreciate the skill and training that goes into simply completing a race like this.  I have also witnessed what an event like this can do for a community.  Scrolling through the list of last yearís participants I find only one name from Montgomery County .  That means 449 people traveled here to participate in this event.  Not to mention they nearly all brought along their loved ones to help cheer them on.  For a rural community like Montgomery County this kind of influx can be a tremendous economic opportunity.  With a little cooperation among local businesses and citizens, the Uwharrie Trail Run has the potential to become one of the most popular trail races in the United States .  So while this County may never host events like the Super Bowl, it can certainly have its own niche of devoted sports enthusiasts who return every year to challenge these ancient mountains.