One of the state's most scenic trail runs will have its latest edition on Saturday, Oct. 12 at Babcock State Park.
The popular Sticks & Stones 15K Trail Run will begin at 10:30 a.m. that day at historic Camp Washington-Carver.
Like its older brother, the Gristmill Grinder half-marathon in the spring, the Sticks & Stones race annually offers a challenging but picturesque trail run for local and regional competitors. Sticks & Stones "traverses the ridges and gorges of Babcock State Park, with a slightly gentler route" than the Gristmill Grinder, race director Donnie Hudspeth says.
This year's Sticks & Stones event is the sixth annual running. The 9.3-mile course is a point-to-point test, according to Hudspeth. Once racers leave the starting line, they will take the Mann’s Gorge Overlook Trail to the Narrow Gauge Trail, proceed up Sewell Road to the Glade Creek Grist Mill, then run along the Skyline Trail to the finish at Mann’s Creek Picnic Area.
The finish area is complete with a picnic shelter, tennis court, volleyball net, a playground for the children, a bathhouse and "an amazing view," said Hudspeth.
The race features 1,005 feet in elevation gain.
Adam Coon (1 hour, 1 minute, 36.4 seconds) was the 2018 male and overall winner, and Krystle Cunningham (1:26.59.9) was the top female.
Registration for the 2019 race will close near the end of September "so (we're) trying to get more local participants" sooner rather than later.
No race-day registration is accepted, and the size of the field is limited for safety reasons, so competitors who haven't done so are urged to sign up as soon as possible.
The race will feature two aid stations, one at Mile 2.5 at the beginning of the Narrow Gauge Trail and the other at Mile 6.5 at the grist mill.
Race packets can be picked up Friday, Oct. 11 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Waterstone Outdoors in Fayetteville, or on race day from 8 to 9:15 a.m. at Babcock and the finish area. A pre-race meeting will occur at 9:30 a.m. Racers will be shuttled to the start at 9:40 a.m.
For more details or to register, visit sticksandstonesrun.com.