Group training runs kick off this week for new half marathon

Runners who need a little inspiration to stay in shape this winter can now look toward a new half marathon to be held at Western Carolina University on Sunday, April 3.

To help runners get ready — including those who have never run a half-marathon before — a 12-week training program will kick off this week, but runners could join anytime. Group training runs will be held on Wednesdays. The training group will get tips and advice from faculty and staff, such as nutrition and injury prevention and care.

Called the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon, the race will start from the center of campus and travel the scenic countryside of Cullowhee and along the Tuckaseigee River before winding back to campus. The 13-mile course will have numerous aid stations with water and sports drinks, along with mile-markers so runners can chart their progress.

Race organizers hope to encourage new and experienced runners to do a half marathon for the first time, said Ashley Long, committee co-chair and assistant professor for WCU’s athletic training program.

Race sponsors are WCU’s School of Health Sciences and Campus Recreation Center. Proceeds will be used to support student professional travel. Many academic programs on campus will be involved in the race. For example, students in the art program will be making hand-crafted ceramic medals for age-group winners.

Early registration is $40. It goes up to $60 on March 1.

Register at

For more information about the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon and the free training program, go to the race website:

Business owners interested in race sponsorships should contact Greg Bauguess in WCU’s development office at 828.227.3045 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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