Running out of excuses

One of the secrets to fitness, I’ve discovered, is that working out with others can be a major motivating factor. Team spirit is large part of the equation, as is a healthy competitive spirit. Also, having workout buddies beats the boredom factor of pounding the treadmill solo. Don’t have any like-minded friends? Joining a class (yoga, Pilates, Jazzercise), group (walking, jogging, biking) or team (soccer, softball, ultimate frisbee) is a great way to make some.

But even if you’re a lone wolf, workout-wise, the occasional bout of group participation can be a fun change. And late summer and early fall in Western N.C. offer plenty of opportunities to get in on the action: about 5 kilometers worth. To learn more about running in our area, visit Asheville Track Club. The organization offers monthly newsletters, tips for beginning and

5K runs are actually 3.1 miles, taking around 30 minutes to complete for many runners. Beyond being healthy, these races often raise money for various charitable and civic organizations. The $15-$30 entrance fees buy each runner a place in the race (and a ranking, or run time, so you can keep track of your progress), often a t-shirt, and the added bonus of contributing to a good cause like Autism research.

Want to know what’s coming up? Read on:

• Saturday, Aug. 11: Sourwood Festival 5K, held in Black Mountain, N.C. Race time is 8:30 a.m., entry is $20 before Friday, Aug. 10; $25 after. Valley Club runners receive a $5 discount. Packet pickup is Packet pick-up is Aug. 10, 5-7 p.m. and Aug. 11 6:45-8:15 a.m. at Cheshire Fitness. Info at 669-2052 or -664-0122.

• Saturday, Aug. 18: Mars Hill Climb 5K in Mars Hill, N.C. Race time is 8 a.m. Pre-registration by Friday, Aug. 10 is $12; $20 after. The starting line is on Athletic Street between Highway 213 and Bailey Street. Info at 206-1264.

• Saturday, Aug. 18: Maggie Valley Moonlight Race at the Maggie Valley Festival Grounds. The 5K Competitive Run and Walk begins at 7 p.m. (and 8K follows at 8 p.m.). Registration is $23 by Aug. 4 and $28 through Aug. 17. Info at (800) 334-9036.

• Saturday, Aug. 25:  Springmaid Splash in Spruce Pine, N.C. Probably best known for the highly difficult 10K trail run, this race also features a non-competitive 5K trail walk, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The cost is $20 before Aug. 21 and $30 after. Info: 467-1812 or

• Saturday, Aug. 25: Hot August Night 5K in Asheville, N.C. This evening race kicks off at 7 p.m. and winds through the historic Montford neighborhood. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Montford Community Center After School Project. $15 before Aug. 18, $20 after. Info at: 253-3714.
September 2007

• Saturday, Sept. 8: 2nd Annual WNC Run/Walk for Autism at Deerfields, N.C. The 5K trail run begins at 9:30 a.m. Entry is $20 by Aug. 29 or $25 after. Info at: (919)743-0204, ext. 22 or

• Saturday, Sept. 15: Asheville Citizen-Times/ABCCM Half Marathon & 5K Run in Asheville, N.C. Race time is 8 a.m.; registration is $20 for the 5K (the half marathon costs $30 to enter) by Sept. 10 and $25 after. For info, email

—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter

About Alli Marshall
Alli Marshall is the arts section editor at Mountain Xpress. She's lived in Asheville for more than 20 years and loves live music, visual art, fiction and friendly dogs. Alli is the winner of the 2016 Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize and the author of the novel "How to Talk to Rockstars," published by Logosophia Books. Follow me @alli_marshall

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One thought on “Running out of excuses

  1. watsdapoint

    I discovered the benefits of group fitness about 6 months ago and it has made a huge difference in my life. I would like to suggest to anyone out there who is in decent shape and looking to make rapid improvements to check out H.E.A.T (High Endurance Athletic Training) at the Asheville Racket Club. You do not have to be a gym member to participate in this class, and at well under 10 bucks a class (your first class is free!) it is the best value in Asheville. The instructors are fun and supportive and they allow you to do things at your own pace. Anyone thinking about doing any of the 5K’s listed above will really benefit from this class. If you think that regular group exercise classes are ridiculous (I do!) you need to check this out! For schedules and details go to . Thanks, Ben Edson

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