There is probably no other race that brings a community together than the town 5K. What’s great about the five-kilometer distance is that it is short enough that even the casual runner feels comfortable running hard and going for a PR, which takes the energy level up at the start and throughout the race. This also makes for some interesting racers as running a 5K in a banana suit, gorilla costume, naked or chugging beer is not too tough. It is also a great distance to walk for those who want to participate but are not joggers or runners without taking all day. You can usually keep the course within town limits or along the busy streets of the city or town so it is self contained and super spectator friendly. Plus, it the race is over by mid morning, so you have the rest of the day to treat yo’ self as the saying goes. Yes, the 5K is the perfect community race and this weekend one community could be saying goodbye to the most popular 5K in a town that has a bunch of them. Asheville’s 34th annual Bele Chere 5K just may be it’s last, so don’t miss it.

The Bele Chere festival has been held in Asheville for each of the past 35 years, but with the city pulling its funding for the music and arts festival, Bele Chere, and subsequently the Bele Chere 5K will fade into oblivion unless someone steps in to fill the void. The Asheville Track Club has held the race every year since 1980, making the 5K one of the oldest and most popular races in the region – last year’s race drew over 1,500 runners and you can expect just as many if not more for this year’s race given the precariousness of the funding situation.

Along with the traditional 5K, there will also be a 1K kids fun run (featuring Dora the Explorer and Diego), a team costume contest, children’s costume parade. You can register on Friday or on race day, but the race kicks off at 7:30 am you you’ll want to go online to register. Do it by tonight (Thursday July 25) at 9pm you will be pre-registered and eligible for the guaranteed race t-shirt – the first 1,300 pre-registered racers get the t-shirt which could become a collectors item given the nature of the race as I’m sure the first race t-shirt will be (if there is one).

So, get out there and support the Asheville Track Club and the community of runners in what could be the last race for the Bele Chere 5K.


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