For nearly half of a century, the Grandfather Mountain Marathon has brought endurance runners from all over the globe to Boone to challenge the steep and grueling trek through the Blue Ridge Mountains.
This year is the 44th running of the event.
All runners will start at Kidd-Brewer Stadium on the campus of Appalachian State, bright and early at 6:30 a.m.
The runners will then be challenged by the steep terrains along the Blue Ridge Parkway before finishing the event at McRae Meadows at Grandfather Mountain.
All but three miles of the run will take place on paved highways, so runner are asked to be cautious as they will have to deal with vehicle traffic along the way.
The course features a near-steady elevation increase from beginning to end. After leaving the stadium, the runners will be up to 3,750 by the seventh mile before hitting 4,000 feet at mile 19. The finish line at McRae Meadows is 4,279, a near 1,000-foot increase from the start of the race.
As always, the Grandfather Mountain Marathon is a non-profit event. All proceeds from the race will be distributed to various Watauga County organizations as well as the Appalachian State University Track Program.
The race is always a hot ticket to be a part of as it is limited to 500 runners and the spots are usually all filled up by May. This year is no different.
According to the entry list provided, Jefferson’s own Annette Bednosky will be one of the participants running in the grueling event. 205 of the runners are from North Carolina while 55 are making the trip from South Carolina, 41 from Georgia, 25 from Virginia and 25 from Tennessee. There is even one runner coming all the way from San Jose, California. Ages of the runners range from 15 up to 75.
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or followed on Twitter @NathanHam87