Black Mountain Recreation and Parks presents the annual Valentine 5K and Kids Fun Run on Saturday, February 8, at Lake Tomahawk Park. “The Valentine 5K is more than just a race; it’s an opportunity for the community to come together and have fun in the outdoors despite the cold weather conditions that seem to freeze everything in the winter,” says Clint Bowman, recreation coordinator for Black Mountain Recreation and Parks. The race is also unique because runners register and participate in pairs. There are various categories that include pairs for parents and children, siblings and even an open division for friends or coworkers. “Be it a married couple or two coworkers, this format better ensures that no runner is left behind or alone in the race,” says Bowman. The Valentine 5K also has a costume contest which encourages runners to dress up in hopes of receiving the Spirit Award.
Don McMahill founded the race more than 20 years ago and served as race director for many years. “Way back then, races in our general area of Western North Carolina during the winter months were few and far between,” he says. While there are now more winter races in the area to choose from, McMahill says the Valentine 5K remains popular. “Participants really enjoy the camaraderie and the unusual award system,” he says. “Special attention is usually given to youngest finishers, the oldest couple and the number of consecutive years of participation. The main room at the Lakeview Center for Active Aging is always jam packed with those runners, relaxing and cooling down after a brisk run in the cool, winter weather.”
The Kids Fun Run, which follows the perimeter of Lake Tomahawk, takes place before the 5K and is free. Registration for the 5K costs $25. “The Valentine 5K is important to the community because it gives everyone a chance to exercise, and have fun while doing so, during a time when most people choose to stay indoors,” says Bowman.
Lake Tomahawk Park is located at 401 Laurel Circle Drive #3061, Black Mountain. Registration for the 2020 Valentine 5K is currently open and interested participants can sign up online through RunSignUp or the town’s website at TownofBlackMountain.org. For more information, contact Black Mountain Recreation and Parks at 828.669.2052.