Races and other runner-friendly happenings going on this weekend:
The 13th annual China Grove 5K Main Street Challenge is set for 9 p.m. Friday. That's right -- 9 p.m. Sunset will be at 8:37 that evening, so yes, you'll run in the dark. The course is an out and back on Main Street in downtown China Grove (about 40 minutes north of uptown Charlotte). The layout is flat and fast, with the only turn being the turnaround at the halfway point. This race has long been one of the area's best-kept secrets, but the secret is out: Last year, 390 runners finished the race; this year, 600-plus participants are expected.
Registration now through race day is $25, which includes a dri-fit shirt, and a post-race spread that includes pizza, watermelon, cantaloupe, bananas, oranges, cookies, brownies, bagels, and Cheerwine. Look for multiple vendors, a DJ, and inflatable bounce houses for kids, along with mascots from local sports venues. There's also a Tot Trot 100-yard dash (free) at 8:15 p.m., and a half-mile Fun Run ($10) at 8:30 p.m. Details: 704-857-7011, or here, or click here for the registration page.
Want to score a free entry? Log onto my Facebook page and post a comment on the Wall; at 5 p.m. today, I'll select two winners!
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Asana Activewear is hosting its Summer Bootcamp Series again this year -- five "boot-camp"-style, outdoor (but in-the-shade) workouts on Saturday mornings in June, July and August. The workouts will be led by personal trainers from Charlotte-area gyms, and will feature a variety of strength, agility and conditioning drills. Registration is $30, which includes all five sessions, a drawstring backpack, a water bottle and freebies and coupons from Earthfare. First 60- to 70-minute session is this Saturday at 8:30 a.m.; other dates are June 26, July 10, July 24 and Aug. 7. Details: Click here.
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More than 840 people are registered for the Marine Corps League Mud Run, which is scheduled for Saturday morning in Pinnacle, a town 100 miles north of Charlotte. According to my counterpart Eddie Wooten's wonderful "Running Shorts" blog (for the News & Record of Greensboro): "Runners will take off with a spectacular view of Pilot Mountain. The course will cross a creek multiple times and pass through mud-filled pits, one of which is Devil Dog Pit. One hill will require an extra effort, or a pull along the rope, to climb. If you just can't make that, you'll make the Walk of Shame around it. Log crossings, a serpentine through the pines in the woods, walls and more will challenge runners along the way. One final mud pit will require runners to crawl as the finish line awaits."
Online registration has closed, but you can get full details on the race website, and day-of registration will be available ($30 for individuals, $120 for teams, $15 for kids). Proceeds will support the Wounded Marines program, the U.S. Marines Youth Physical Fitness Program, scholarship programs and Toys for Tots.