More than 200 participate in Springmaid Splash
SPRUCE PINE – Rain stopped just in time this past Saturday for the 14th annual Springmaid Splash, a series of trail races held at Springmaid Mountain. It features a 10K, 5K and a kids run.
The event, which is sponsored by Tree House Mountain Realty, Switzerland Cafe, Mountain Khakis, Active, Phoenix Graphics and Spruce Pine Chevrolet, brought together 110 participants for the 10K and 75 for the 5K.
Race organizer Matt Hollifield said the event would not be possible without the sponsorships and the help of the volunteers who helped participants park and register.
Clouds and fog gave way to sunshine around 8:30 a.m. as runners lined up near the starting line for the 10K.
From the starting line, runners looped around the grassy area in front of the parking lot and made their way to a short dirt trail that led to the river where they high-stepped their way to the next leg of the race.
“It slows you down,” Hollifield said about the water. “It feels good, though.”
After exiting the water, runners transitioned to a trail that cut through the woods.
As mud and water splashed underneath the feet of the pack, some front-runners broke away and sprinted into the woods.
“It’s rough and nasty,” Hollifield said. “It’s rocky and slick. I think a lot of people come for running in the woods because in August, that’s pretty cool.”
Dalton Hughes, of Spruce Pine, said the Springmaid Splash ignited his love of running when he participated for the first time. This past Saturday, he got muddy again to run the 5K event for the fifth time.
Hughes, 23, finished seventh in the race with an overall time of 26:19.
“It has a special place in my heart,” Hughes said. “Springmaid was the first race I ever ran. After reading an advertisement about it in the paper, I was skeptical because I didn’t know if I was up for the challenge or not. After running it, I found it sparked a love for running that I had never experienced before.”
Hughes said the race is a unique experience for running veterans or those looking to run a race for the first time.
“It’s a fun and unforgettable experience for all fitness levels,” he said. “It has multiple river crossings and a beautiful single-track trail.”
Mars Hill resident Chase Shermer won the 5K with a time of 20:30 and Ryan Woods, of Boone, won the 10K with a time of 41:28.