HIDDENITE, NC (June 18, 2016) — A total of 17 runners completed the 2016 Vertical Mile Challenge on Saturday, June 18 at Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area. This extreme trail race continues to gain popularity for its scenic beauty as well as its difficulty.
Chris Holland of Taylorsville captured first-place honors with a time of 3:25:47. Second place went to Brian Johnson (3:30:12), followed by Jonathan Hogan (3:37:17). The top three females were Rachel Watkins (4:36:41), Lisa Watkins (4:36:42), and Tiffany Parris (4:46:51).
The course is approximately a two-mile loop beginning and ending at the bottom of the cliff face directly behind the parking lot. The course is paved for a short distance and then becomes typical single-track trail. After approximately 1/2 mile, runners will begin the 500-foot climb up the side of the mountain. At the top of the climb, the course reaches the Hollow Rock Trail and follows it down to the top of the lower rock face. At this point, runners follow the Buzzard Loop trail to the end of the loop at the start/finish area. Runners complete the loop eight times, equivalent to approximately 16 miles, while traveling a vertical mile up (5,280 feet) and a vertical mile down (5,280 feet).
Here are complete results for the 2016 VMC race:
1. Chris Holland – 3:25:47
2. Brian Johnson – 3:30:12
3. Jonathan Hogan – 3:37:17
4. Tyler Peek – 4:05:33
5. Mark Long – 4:27:57
6. Rachel Watkins – 4:36:41
7. Lisa Watkins – 4:36:42
8. Ben Smoker – 4:45:47
9. Tiffany Parris – 4:46:51
10. Chris Ward – 5:02:42
11. Brigitte Spurgeon – 5:05:42
12. Stephen Freeman – 5:16:16
13. George Wahnop – 5:16:17
14. Danny Dyson – 6:09:50
15. Tara Grisolia – 6:19:48
16. Victoria Heater – 7:15:34
17. Tammie Langley – 7:16:08
Event photos can be viewed on Rocky Face Park’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/RockyFacePark
History of the Vertical Mile Challenge
In 2011, Jimmy Ballard and Doug Dawkins went hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. They hiked south from Hanover, New Hampshire into New York State. Somewhere in Vermont during the countless ups and downs, Jimmy wondered if they had been a vertical mile – 5,280 feet up and 5,280 down. In fatigued and deranged humor, they thought, “Wouldn’t it be something to put on a run where the whole idea was to do a vertical mile in the shortest distance possible?!” It took a while to find the right location, but with the help of Alexander County Manager Rick French, they discovered that Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area was the perfect location.
Alexander County Points Challenge
Those who completed the 2016 Vertical Mile Challenge earn points in the 2016 Alexander County Points Challenge race series. Upcoming races in Alexander County include: Lake Hickory Triathlon on July 9, Hiddenite Festival Road Race 5K/10K/Half Marathon on September 24, YMCA Apple Festival 5K on October 15, Rocky Face Marathon & Relay on October 29, Race to the Cove 5K on November 5, and Rotary Reindeer Romp 8K on November 26. Learn more about Alexander County running events and the points challenge at www.alexandercountync.gov/events.
Vertical Mile Challenge Club
The VMC course is becoming a popular attraction for those who want to become a member of the “Vertical Mile Challenge Club.” Those who complete eight (8) loops over an unspecified number days, weeks, or months, will receive a free VMC T-shirt to commemorate their achievement. To date, more than 32 people have joined the club while enjoying the great outdoors at Rocky Face Park and improving their level of fitness.
For more information, contact Rick French at (828) 632-9332 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Rocky Face Park, visit www.rockyfacepark.com.