Shorts: Blue Ridge Briefs

North Carolina Runner Becomes Oldest Woman to Finish Half-Marathon

When Harriette Thompson of Charlotte, N.C., crossed the finish line at the Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Half Marathon in June, she became the oldest woman to finish the distance. Thompson, 94, completed the 13.1-mile course in the southern California city in 3 hours 42 minutes 56 seconds, making history among close to 21,000 other runners. Joined by her two sons and granddaughter, Thompson wore purple to represent the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She’s a cancer survivor who also lost her husband to the disease. Appropriately, at the end of the race she was treated like a rock star, standing onstage with conscious hip-hop artist Michael Franti while an adoring crowd chanted her name. Thompson, a former concert pianist who performed at Carnegie Hall, was also given props by elite runner Meb Keflezighi, who told the San Diego Tribune, “She has proven what music and exercise does for the body and soul.”

Veteran Thru-Hikes Mountains-to-Sea Trail

Jude Rodrigue, a former Army Calvary scout who served in Iraq and now lives in New Bern, N.C., thru-hiked the 1,175-mile Mountains-to-Sea Trail in his home state with help from Warrior Expeditions, an organization that outfits veterans for adventures to help them cope with the lingering effects of combat. On his journey from the Smoky Mountains of western North Carolina to the coast in the Outer Banks, Rodrigue hiked up to 26 miles a day to help him deal with adjusting to life back in the states. “You learn to hide your problems, but getting out in the woods and hiking for hours makes that difficult,” he told the Wilkes Journal-Patriot. “You can’t run away from your problems and it helps you to find your way back to life.”

Key Piece of Land Preserved in the Roan Highlands

A prime tract of land has been preserved in Tennessee’s Roan Highlands. The Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy purchased 324 acres in the scenic area near the Tennessee/North Carolina border that will protect part of Hump Mountain, a pristine grassy peak in close proximity to the Appalachian Trail. The $1.6 million land purchase was funded with a mix of federal grant money, a bridge loan from the Conservation Fund, and a generous donation from philanthropists Fred and Alice Stanback. The land will be open to the public in the near future when the Southern Appalachians Highlands Conservancy turns it over to the government for it to become part of the Cherokee National Forest.

Two Resorts, One Ticket

West Virginia ski areas Timberline Four Seasons Resort and Canaan Valley Resort hold some of the top slopes in the South. During the upcoming season, skiers and snowboarders will be able to access the terrain at both resorts, located just four miles apart in the Allegheny Mountains, with a single lift ticket. By combining forces, the resorts can now offer a total of 84 runs, with options for all levels, at a single price, and according to a press release the daily rate will be “an average of all mid-Atlantic prices.”


Big Business of North Carolina Trout Fishing

Trout fishing is a big economic booster in the mountains of western North Carolina, according to a recently released study by Responsive Management and Southwick Associates for the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. Here are some key numbers from the report, “Mountain Trout Fishing: Economic Impacts On and Contributions to North Carolina’s Economy,” based on trout angler activity in 2014.


of anglers satisfied with their trout fishing experience in N.C.


Approximate number of jobs supported by trout fishing.


Days fished in hatchery-supported trout waters, the most frequently fished waters. This was followed by delayed harvest trout waters (390,085 days) and wild trout waters (276,804 days).

1.6 Million

Total days spent fishing by approximately 149,000 trout anglers.

$239.8 Million

amount spent by trout anglers in N.C.

$383.3 Million

amount of the total economic effect of trout fishing in N.C. This number combines the direct spending of anglers on fishing gear, food, and lodging during trips, as well as spending by trout fishing businesses.

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