Training for the WCU half marathon kicks off


WCU students training for the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon. Photo by Marcelo Maia

Training sessions for the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon are held on campus, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 6 a.m. and on Saturdays at 8 a.m.

The 13.1 miles race is organized by the School of Health Sciences and the Department of Campus Recreation & Wellness and scheduled for April 3 through a scenic route on campus and along the Tuckasegee River in Cullowhee, NC.

The revenue of the race will be directed to help students with undergraduate research and professional engagement. Ashley Long, race organizing committee co-chair and assistant professor of WCU’s Athletic Training Program says it has one even higher purpose. “Another goal we had in designing this is developing something that can give people recreation and maybe achieve a fitness goal that they didn’t think it was possible before.“
Ashley says that the training group that has been committed to meet four days a week has developed a king of camaraderie that works as a support to carry forward a disciplined work out.
This group is composed of faculty, students and people that work in the local community.

There are different training levels from beginners to experts.

“We have different people at different levels. Some that have run half marathons and marathons before and people that have never done it, so we just let them find their own pace and we guide them building up to being able to run the 13.1 mile marathon,” says Ashley.

The athletic instructor also emphasizes the beauty of the landscape around the university campus and Jackson County that the participants will have the opportunity to enjoy.

Participant enrollment has already exceeded expectations since there are 56 enlistments out of the 50 initially expected. The organization now hopes to reach 100 by the end of March.

Olivia Belk, a student at WCU, says she’s been running for a month and thinks the training is going well.

”It’s good to start as a beginner here because they help me get on the right track.”

Her goal is to get to the finishing line without stopping and to see everybody else finish as well.

The race is open for everybody from the age of 13 and up. Registration is  $40.

You can see the whole route online at