Thirteen-year-old Robert George from Pinnacle crossed the finish line first at the Reach the Peaks trail running challenge setting a new record of 1 hour and 51 minutes on Saturday.
“It’s relaxing and fun for me. I really enjoyed it. I’ve been running for about three and a half years and I love it,” he said.
George joined nearly 600 hikers and runners at the fourth annual Reach the Peaks at Hanging Rock which challenges participants to summit the five major peaks of Hanging Rock State Park, including Moore’s Knob, House Rock, Cook’s Wall, Wolf Rock, and Hanging Rock, all in one day. Organized by the Stokes County Arts Council and Friends of the Sauratown Mountains, Reach the Peak has become a premier event for trail runners and hikers.
“One of the things that makes this event unique is the fact that it’s at one of the best, most wonderful state parks in the entire state,” said Rebecca Gibson, who helped organize the event. “Hanging Rock has so much to offer. Our trails are unbeatable and there are beautiful breathtaking views at every single one of the peaks that everyone will be visiting today.”
Participants were given an event card that was checked after reaching the summit of each of the peaks. Those who reached all five peaks and completed the hike received a special created “I Conquered Reach the Peaks” embroidered patch.
“Some folks haven’t ever been here before and I think they’re going to be really surprised when they get to these peaks,” Gibson said. “Also, the caliber of people, you’ll not find a more camaraderie between individuals participating in this.”
As hikers made their way to the end of the challenge Gibson and organizers cheered at the finish line.
“Folks have been training for this event for two to three months and they have their own personal times to beat,” she said. “We want everyone to feel like they’ve accomplished something big because they have.”
First time participant Ulrich Tomilson of Winston-Salem placed second in the trail run and finished with a time of 1:58.
“I’ll definitely be back to do it again,” he said.
Park Superintendent Robin Riddlebarger and her staff appreciated seeing familiar faces along with many visiting the park for the first time on Saturday.
“It’s a great day for us watching people be a part of this. It shows us that our local visitors, who could do this any day for free, are excited to support this annual event. ”
Sponsors for the 2016 Reach the Peaks include Flow Subaru, VF Corporation, Employee Benefit Advisors, Dan River Company, Farm to Feet, and Great Outdoor Provision Company. Trail sponsors include Singletree Gun & Plough, George Farmhouse, Danbury General Store, Luna’s Trail & Farm, Froggy Waters Outdoors, Newberry Manor, Beautiful Earth, Moore’s Springs Manor, Carolina Ziplines, Carroll Signs, Village Outdoors, Green Heron Ale House and Leonard Turf & Landscape.
Amanda Dodson can be reached at 336-813-2426 or on Twitter at AmandaTDodson.