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The 2020-2021 Race & Event Guide

2020 is the year we reimagined what it meant to come together. Mark your calendars for these in-person and virtual races, events, and festivals from across the region. Please check the event websites for any health and safety updates prior to the date of the event. 

Summer Fitness Challenge

When: August 1 – Wed September 30, 2020
Where: Virtual
Take the challenge to ride, run, swim, paddle, or walk a hundred miles. You’ll be joining hundreds of other people as they commit to get moving in the great outdoors.
Not only will you get the accomplishment of committing to Thrive Outside, but you’ll also get a great face cover with our cool Blue Ridge sunset graphics on it! Join in the fun, drop your photos into the #OutsideWeThrive Instagram contest and get a chance to win some Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine subscriptions or cool swag!

Paddle to Table

When: August & September
Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte, N.C.
Enjoy a guided flatwater paddle on the Catawba River followed by a unique dining experience in the outdoors.

Fit Farmer 12K Trail Run

When: Saturday, Aug. 8
Where: Flag Rock Area Trails System, Norton, Va.
Get Outside in Norton, Virginia for the third annual Fit Farmer 12K Trail Run in Flag Rock Recreation Area! Explore Flag Rock Area Trails, located on the lower slopes of Southwest Virginia’s High Knob, the highest point in the Cumberland Mountains.

Downhill Southeast Series

When: Saturday, Aug. 8 – Sunday, Aug. 9
Where: Sugar Mountain, N.C.
Race #4 and NC Downhill MTB State Championships — The Downhill Southeast is the regions premier downhill mountain bike race series. Join in on the action as racers from around the US do battle on Sugar’s classic downhill track.

River Jam Run: Virtual Edition 

When: Friday, Aug. 13 – Saturday, Aug. 14
Where: U.S. National Whitewater Center, Charlotte, N.C.
Grab your sneakers and hit the trails to compete in the River Jam Run: Virtual Edition. Starting at midnight on the second Thursday of each month, runners will have the remainder of the month to compete for the top spot in either the 5K or 10K division.

Mountain Fork Half Marathon

When: Sunday, Sept. 20
Where: High Knob, Norton, Va.
The inaugural Mountain Fork Half Marathon is a 13.6-mile race that starts and finishes at the High Knob Observation Tower in Wise County. The race loops through the scenic Mountain Fork watershed, primarily on gravel Forest Service roads, before finishing back at the High Knob Observation Tower, which stands atop the highest poin (4,200 feet) t in the Cumberland Mountains and is located on the Jefferson National Forest’s Clinch Ranger District. Five states can be seen from the tower’s platform, including a 360-degree view of peaks as far away as the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and West Virginia. All race proceeds benefit ongoing trail development and maintenance on the Flag Rock Area Trails system in the City of Norton’s Flag Rock Recreation Area and on High Knob.

High Knob Hellbender 10K

When: Saturday, Oct. 3
Where: Norton Event Center, Norton, Va.
Climb to the highest point in the Cumberland Mountains. This challenging 6.2-mile road race boasts more than a 2,000-foot elevation gain as it climbs from downtown Norton in far Southwest Virginia to the 4,200-foot High Knob summit in the Jefferson National Forest. The seventh annual climb will be held October 3, 2020.

The Red Bud Ride

When: Saturday, Oct. 10
Where: London, Ky.
London, the cycling capital of Kentucky® is home to The Redbud Ride where you will experience and boast about the most scenic and challenging routes you’ll find anywhere in the country. Offering four different routes, this ride is a must-do for all cycling enthusiasts!

The Deep Hollow Half Marathon & 5k

When: Saturday, Oct. 10
Where: Lynchburg, Va.
The Deep Hollow Half Marathon & 5K is the premier trail race in the Liberty Mountain Trail Series. The Half Marathon is a beautiful wooded course comprised of primarily single track trail intermixed with some forest roads.


When: Saturday, Oct. 10 – Sunday, Oct. 11
Where: Sugar Mountain, N.C.
Enjoy the two-day Oktoberfest from 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. in the North Carolina Mountains. The festival features live Bavarian music by the Harbour Towne Fest band and Avery Co. Cloggers. The Bike Park will be open as well.

Tour de Dirt

When: Sunday, Oct. 25
Where: Chantilly Farm & Campground, Floyd, Va.
A challenging ride on rugged hills and scenic woodland paths. There are four different route lengths, from mild to wild, in Floyd and Patrick County! Choose one to test your strength and skill. Benefits Plenty! Food Bank and Farm.

Highlands Food & Wine Festival 

When: Friday-Saturday, Nov. 13-14
Where: Kelsey-Hutchison Park, Highlands N.C.
The 5th annual Highlands Food & Wine Festival is a special two-day, open-air event at Kelsey Hutchinson Park on Nov. 13-14. Enjoy live music combined with world-class food from local and visiting chefs, fine wine and spirits seminars and specialty dinners.

The Alleghany Gran Fondo 

When: Saturday May 22, 2021
Where: Alleghany County, Va.
Visit the beautiful Alleghany Highlands of Virginia to ride in one of the most scenic Gran Fondo’s on the east coast! The event rightfully exemplifies it’s name “Agony in the Alleghanies” with our Gran Fondo course reaching nearly 10,000 feet of climbing!

Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon

When: Saturday June 5, 2021
Where: Alleghany County, Va.
The Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon is a certified Boston Marathon qualifying race that also includes a Half Marathon, 10K & 5K. The event takes place on the Jackson River Scenic Trail, a beautiful, predominately flat trail composed of smooth crushed gravel that runs adjacent to the scenic Jackson River!

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