Jozi Patterson, 14, passes the public beach on Lake Waccamaw during the fourth leg of our X-TREME! Saturday. Jozi became the youngest person ever to complete the 48-mile challenge of swimming across Lake Waccamaw and then circling it by kayak, bicycle and on foot.
This article first appeared in The News Reporter --
Registration has been shut down as organizers prepare for the largest fitness event in the county this weekend. More than 1,000 participants are expected for the free events on and around Lake Waccamaw Saturday, Sunday and Monday.
Preregistered participants may pick up their numbered bibs this week at Body Shapers in Whiteville, where event t-shirts and hats are also available. Last-minute updates are available at the event’s website, Takethelake.org.
Take the Lake is a set of four “Personal Endurance Challenges” that motivate participants to train and prepare for physical achievements. Celebration of the 2014 theme of “agriculture” is expected, with
farmer-type signs, clothing or accessories. Cow costumes are encouraged, but cow-tipping is not.
The weekend will start with “Take the Plate,” a carbohydrate-rich spaghetti dinner Friday evening at Lake Waccamaw United Methodist Church. Dine-in and take-out plates will be available for donations as people load up fuel for the big weekend ahead, either as participants, volunteers, spectators or just anyone looking for a good meal.
The Lake Waccamaw Womens Club will sell event t-shirts, popcorn and hot dogs during the weekend.
Members of the Columbus County Photography Club will cover the lake all three days, taking thousands of photos of participants as a fundraiser for the club, with a portion of funds raised going to Take the Lake.
The county extension service will give away vegetable seed packets and information on foods for good health through the weekend.
The opening challenge will be the Walk / Run Saturday morning, starting at 8 a.m. at Elizabeth Brinkley Park on Columbia Street. In drier summers, participants walk 16 miles around the lake, with three of those miles along the state park trails, but the route has been modified this year due to heavy rain and a swollen Waccamaw River that is making foot passage there impossible.
Participants will walk 14 miles along Lake Shore Drive, Canal Cove Road and Waccamaw Shores Road to the dam at the river’s mouth and back. Preregistered participants may start anytime after 7:10 a.m.
Sunday will be the big day, with the Paddle Challenge starting from the public beach at Dale’s Seafood at 8 a.m. More than 100 paddlers are expected to make their way around the lake for one of the largest flotillas in the region.
This 14-mile route can be unpredictable, and organizers stress the need for training. When participants quit midway, they put a strain on the volunteer and professional safety crews who carry them back to the start. Participation is strongly encouraged only for those who have trained and are confident that they can finish.
Only active participants are allowed in the Paddle Challenge.
Sunday afternoon hosts the easiest and most casual challenge as hundreds of cyclists line up for the Bike & Hike, which this year will not include the hike.
Starting at Dale’s at 2 p.m., cyclists will ride to the Lake Waccamaw State Park visitors center, turn around and make their way around the lake to the dam, then back to Dale’s. This 21-mile route takes about the same time as the usual 15 miles that include three miles along the state park trails.
Each participant must pedal the entire route and wear a safety helmet to receive the John A. McNeill Award. Racing is not allowed, and official timing will not begin until 90 minutes after the start.
The smallest and oldest challenge begins Saturday morning as dozens of swimmers carry on the tradition of the four-mile Labor Day Swim across Lake Waccamaw. Each swimmer must have an escort boat, and wetsuits are allowed. The start will be either at the dam or Dale’s, depending on winds.
Former District Attorney Lee J. Greer promoted this achievement for decades before his death in 2000.
The John A. McNeill and Lee J. Greer awards are given to all participants who complete their Personal Endurance Challenges unassisted and according to official rules posted at Takethelake.org.
Join in the TTL training fun, and leave a comment!
Take the Lake would not be possible without our generous sponsors. Thank you for supporting fitness and good health in our community!
Thank you to our sponsors!
Columbus Regional Healthcare System
The John A. McNeill Family
Carolina Sports Medicine
Council Tool Company
Friends of Rube McCrae Memorial Library
Hill's Food Stores
Southeastern Community College
Baldwin Woods Pharmacy
Dale's Seafood Restaurant
Powell and Powell Law
Sam’s Pit Stop
Special Service Sponsors
Body Shapers Fitness Center
Lake Time Vintiques
The News Reporter
Take a few minutes and reel through the years of Take the Lake, as we review the many themes and posters that have helped make fitness more fun in Columbus County! Click here
After spending several years at the very bottom of the County Health Ranking -- as the least healthy county in all of North Carolina -- we have improved our lifestyles enough to move up to 96, and we are proud to be so healthy!
DID YOU KNOW...
that the second-most-popular Boy Scout merit badge in the U.S. is for Swimming? And the ninth-most-popular is Personal Fitness? Yes!
Six girls complete
all four PECs.
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