The Bethel 5K/Half Marathon Race begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, at Bethel Middle School gymnasium with registration online at https://bethelhalfmarathonand5k.weebly.com/ or at the gym prior to the event on race day.
In 1993, a small group of citizens initiated the Bethel Half Marathon Race as a fundraiser for the blossoming organization, Bethel Community Organization (now Bethel Rural Community Organization — BRCO).
Today, that race, in addition to the accompanying 5K race that was added a few years ago, has become the oldest half marathon in the state and the third oldest in the Southeast.
Race Director Lucas Sorrells, primary assistant, Randy Thompson and media supervisor Laura Ivey, oversee the event with expertise earned from years of coordinating the myriad facets of the affair that requires attention to mind-bending details.
Runners and visitors appreciate the panoramic view that is accented with peaceful highland lofts and peaks detailed with autumn-colored tree-lined back country roads in the area made famous by Charles Frazier’s Cold Mountain. The route is the flattest and most scenic course in the region in the fall of the year when heat is rarely a problem.
Participants savor homemade soups and desserts at the course end, and take home unique awards that offer the best creations of local craft venues.
An attraction for serious runners since its inception, the race has in recent years become affiliated with the Asheville Track Club’s Grand Prix series and is USATF Certified, allowing runners to set national time records on BRCO’s racecourse.
The Bethel 5K/Half Marathon Race is the primary support mechanism for BRCO, with dozens of individuals and businesses throughout Haywood County sponsoring the event and lending support to BRCO’s agenda of humanitarian outreach through its benevolence, education, and food pantry programs as well as the organization’s focus on historic and rural preservation. Sponsors are listed at www.bethelrural.org: About BRCO – Supporters/Contributors.