The Challenge is this: Begin at dawn in Black Mountain, the quaint "front porch of Western North Carolina", and follow trails to the "rooftop" of Western North Carolina, the 6,684' summit of Mount Mitchell - eastern America's highest point - then return to the start/finish area! With a starting altitude of 2,360', the elevation gain for this 40-mile run will be 4,324' - in the first 20 miles!
Race founders Wendell Begley of Black Mountain Savings and Trent Thomas from Black Dome Mountain Sports saw a need for this kind of event for both the elite athlete and the weekend warrior. Their goal was to design a race that was attainable physically while offering the opportunity to test oneself against the often-uncooperative forces of nature!
The Marathon runners start side-by-side with the Challengers and duplicate their course to the Black Mountain Gap overlook on the famed Blue Ridge Parkway. Here, at an elevation of 5,340' and with an extraordinary view of Mount Mitchell as a backdrop, Marathoners will turn and retrace their course to the Start/Finish area in Black Mountain.