We are pretty darn sure you’ll love the Smoky Mountain Relay. It’s 214 miles of running with your friends – each of you taking three turns of running between 3 and 8 miles at a time. It’s like a Ragnar relay, except that it’s put on by a race director who grew up in the area and who was driven to start this race by his passion to share his love for this land with his fellow runners. Here are the only reasons we can think why you might not like it:
You don’t like a challenge.
The relay is tough, so tough that they have a special name for it: #smrtough. With over 26,000 feet of climbing and about 15 miles of running per person, this relay may be the toughest in the US. When you cross the finish line, you know you’ve accomplished something epic.
You hate beautiful views.
The race begins outside of Brevard, NC in the Pink Beds State Park. It runs past Shining Rock and climbs to the Blue Ridge Parkway, back down to Cullowhee, passing from the Pisgah Forest to the Nantahala Forest on quiet country roads. From there it heads north, over the Tellico Gap and along the Little Tennessee River to finish at the Nantahala Outdoor Center. You’ll be treated to views of the surrounding mountains, picturesque creeks, and stunning countryside – a journey you won’t forget.You don’t like running off the beaten path.
One thing that makes the Smoky Mountain Relay unique is its course. Almost thirty miles of this race are on trail, including the Mountain to Sea Trail. Stream crossings, swinging bridges, and dirt roads are part of the adventure. No wonder the tagline for this race is “Get Off Your Asphalt.”You have no interest in the cultural and historical significance of WNC.
From the start near the Cradle of Forestry to a leg that runs on the historic Cherokee Trail of Tears, the Smoky Mountain Relay is rich in cultural and historical interest. You’ll cross the Appalachian Trail, pass moonshine distilleries, and even have a chance to visit the petroglyphs on Judaculla Rock. End your weekend with a visit to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Cherokee casino or exploring the outdoors in Bryson City.
You don’t enjoy meeting great people.
The Smoky Mountain Relay has a great group of teams who run year after year. Their race spirit is part of what makes the relay such a fun experience. You’ll meet cool people like Liz, who took a break from the AT to run the relay. Runners participate in costume contests, decorate their vans, and have dance parties along the way. You won’t find a more fun bunch anywhere.You don’t like good race perks.
After eight years, race director Jim Brendle has the race dialed in, and you’ll find route signs, porta-potties and course markings along the way. Teams receive printed race bibles with maps, and every runner receives cue cards to carry to help them avoid getting lost. Everyone gets a race shirt, medal, and complimentary beer at the finish. A pre-race party at Oskar Blues, food options on the course, and music at the finish are also benefits. The race crew works hard to make sure you have a great time.It actually sounds pretty incredible, doesn’t it? The Smoky Mountain Relay will be April 22-23, 2016. Think about putting together a team or jumping on one that has already been formed. For more information, please visit www.smokymountainrelay.com or find them on Facebook.