This year is the 5th running of the Rock the Quarry four mile trail race. I’ve heard good things about this race and it benefits a good cause (Black Mountain Home for Children’s Everyday Fund, LEAF in Schools & Street’s educational outreach program to develop music programs for BMHC’s youth, and the Colburn Earth Science Museum). So I decided to put it on my dance card this year.
I’ve wondered what the course and setting actually looked like. I pictured running along the edge of a quarry just a few feet from a 10,000 foot drop to the quarry’s bottom, the air full of quarry dust. So I scheduled a visit with the race organizers and went to the Grove Stone Quarry this morning. It’s just a stone’s throw – no pun intended – from the Pisgah Brewing Company, site of the Greenway 10k/5k and the Mountain Splendor 5k. We discussed the race and we drove the entire course (that’s right – it’s ‘drive-able’).
First of all, I consider this a very nice, moderately challenging trail race that happens to be near a quarry. You never even see the quarry along this race. The first mile is a flat gravel road (much like running at Bent Creek) and after that it’s nice, double track trails through shady woods (reminds me of running some of the double track trails in the DuPont 12k). The second mile is mostly uphill and the race’s biggest challenge, but culminates in the race’s biggest reward: a spectacular view. The last two miles are mostly downhill, but a gradual downhill – nothing so steep that you’re worried about wiping out.
I’m really looking forward to running this race on October 20th and I highly recommend it.
COURSE DESCRIPTION AND MAP
The race begins and ends at the Picnic Shelter. The first mile follows a relatively flat haul road, past beaver ponds, and through a wooded trail and over a stream-crossing. Participants come out onto a gravel road and begin the 1 mile ascent to the top of the quarry. IT IS STEEP, but the panoramic view of the Swannanoa Valley and Black Mountain range is rewarding! The trail narrows down the forested mountainside, past neighboring Camp Rockmont and back to the Picnic Shelter.