This article appeared in the Aug. 7 edition of The News Reporter
For the third year in a row, organizers of the largest fitness event in the county will modify two of their four participation routes over Labor Day weekend due to recent heavy rains.
The two land-based events usually circumnavigate Lake Waccamaw, taking a route that includes three miles of nature trails in Lake Waccamaw State Park and crossing of a concrete dam at the Waccamaw River.
Park Superintendent Toby Hall advised the event committee earlier this week that water will likely be flowing over the dam, closing the
river and park trails for their estimated 1,000 participants.
The park will remain open in all areas for all other visitors.
The Walk/Run will begin at Elizabeth Brinkley Park Saturday morning as scheduled, but participants will walk or run along the northern and western shores of the lake on their way to the dam and back. This route is only 14 miles, which is nearly two miles shorter than the scheduled 16-mile walk around the lake.
The Walk/Run officially starts at 8 a.m., but organizers are allowing anyone who is preregistered to start as early as 7:10 a.m.
The Bike & Hike will begin on the lawn of the Boys and Girls Homes near Dale’s on Sunday at 2 p.m. Participants will ride to the visitors center of the state park, where they will turn around and ride back along the route and to the dam, turn around again and ride back to Dale’s for a 21-mile trip.
Helmets are required for all riders to receive the John A. McNeill Award at the finish line.
Routes for the water-based PECs have not been changed.
The Paddle Challenge will begin at Dale’s at 8 a.m. on Sunday. Direction of travel will be determined that morning based on wind conditions.
For safety reasons, training is required for the Paddle Challenge, and participation is discouraged for people who have not trained or who do not have a proper kayak or canoe.
The Labor Day Swim will begin at 8 a.m. at Dale’s or the dam, depending on winds. All swimmers must have an adult escort in a kayak, canoe or powerboat.
To build up their carbohydrates the night before the big weekend, the Lake Waccamaw United Methodist Church is offering a pasta plate dinner August 29 at the church off Lake Shore Drive.
The Take the Lake Foundation has purchased orange reflective tree markers for the nearly three miles of trails from the dam to the park’s picnic area. These will make participation in the Take the Lake events easier and safer, and will guide park visitors throughout the year along one of its most popular trails.
Organizers are optimistic that the situation for the Walk/Run and the Bike & Hike may soon improve at the state park, as the possibility of building a bridge over the river is beginning to gain momentum.
Event T-shirts are now available at Body Shapers in Whiteville, where bibs may be picked up August 25–29. Online pre-registration for this free event will end August 22, and participants are encouraged to register as early as possible at Takethelake.org.
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