Distance: 26.20 mi
Type: Out-and-back, Trail
Difficulty: 9 / 10
More Info: Visit Web Site
Phone: (828) 253-6891
Filed Under: Running
The Marathon runners start side-by-side with the Challengers (40 mile alternate race that starts at the same time) and duplicate their course to the Black Mountain Gap overlook on the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. Here, at an elevation of 5,340' and with an extraordinary view of Mount Mitchell as a backdrop, Marathoners will turn and retrace their course to the Start/Finish area in Black Mountain.
Mount Mitchell is, at 6,684?, the highest peak in eastern America ? nearly 400? higher than New Hampshire?s Mount Washington. Once known by its indian name of Black Dome, its name was changed to honor Dr. Elisha Mitchell through whose efforts the controversy over that lofty distinction was settled. (It is Dr. Mitchell?s stone grave which marks the turnaround of the Challenge at the mountain?s summit!).
Many visitors (and runners?) find it hard to identify Mount Mitchell among the other peaks in the thirteen-mile-long Black Mountain Range? a common problem since six other peaks in the range are greater than 6,500?! Due to its elevation, the climate and the ecosystems of Mount Mitchell more closely resemble that of New Hampshire and Maine. This consequence of its elevation provides perhaps the most profound surprise to visitors? especially to those who arrive on foot! Because of the meteorological variability, race organizers have said that there will never be a "course record" for these events as the influences of weather conditions outweighs even the demands of the steep terrain.
From I-40 East take exit 65 or exit 64 into Black Mountain.
From I-40 West take exit 64 into Black Mountain.