Saturday, May 14, 2011

Running the Morrow Mountain Challenge

"The South's Most Unique Specialty Store"
Last Thursday I headed over to Albemarle, NC to pick up some additional DART singlets.  In addition to selling vacuums and running gear and offering UPS shipping, the Vac & Dash store also does screen printing.  Truly "the South's most unique specialty store".  I spent some time chatting about running and racing with Vac & Dash owner Peter Ascuitto before heading out.

I figured that while I was there I'd get in a few miles.  Looking over Vac & Dash's many running route suggestions I decided to take on the Morrow Mountain Challenge, primarily because I wouldn't have to memorize too many turn-by-turn instructions (no, I don't have a so-called smart phone).  Peter and his crew put on a number of runs and races within Stanly county, many of which incorporate Morrow Mountain State Park.  I had gotten a taste of the hills at the last two Fellowship of the Idiots (FOTI) runs and wanted to have a nice, scenic run.

"When you come to a fork in the road, take it."  -Yogi Berra
The Morrow Mountain Challenge is a Y-shaped course that hits the highs and then the lows of the park. Start at the main entrance and take a right at the intersection up to the top, which at 931 feet above sea level is the highest point in Stanly County.  Return to the intersection and head down, down, down to the boat ramp at Lake Tillery.  Return to the main gate for a total of nine miles.

1,035 feet in elevation gain

Runner's high
No kidding!
Lake Tillery
It being a weekday morning there was little traffic and I spent most of the time listening to my breath and wondering if my lungs might pop.  It was so quiet that when I came upon a small herd of deer they pretty much ignored me.
Master of camouflage
Since I'm gearing up for next month's Bethel Hill Moonlight Boogie 50-miler and July's Grandfather Mountain Marathon I plan on spending more time doing hill work at Morrow Mountain.

Chad Randolph
Davidson Area Running Team

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