Running is the oldest form of exercise and is experiencing a boom like never before.
In 2013, there were 19 million running event finishers nationally. This is a 22 percent increase over the previous year and an astounding 297 percent improvement over 1990. One primary driver of the growth is women. Just two decades ago, 75 percent of race finishers were men. Last year, men only accounted for 44 percent of finishers, according to runningusa.org.
Simply stated, running is as popular now as it has ever been, and Rocky Mount is also experiencing a boom with several exciting local races.
In 2012, Rocky Mount races has an estimated 850 runners finish a race.
Two-thirds of these runners were from the greater Rocky Mount area. With the addition of two new events, the number surged 65 percent to 1,300 the following year. 2014 is on a similar pace with just one Rocky Mount race left.
Rocky Mount has four major races directed by Tar River Running Co.: the Resolution Run presented by One Main Financial, the Sweetheart 5k presented by Dental Care Center, the Nash Health Care Rocket Mile and the Belmont 5 presented by Freedom Credit Union.
Although the first three races have already occurred, the Belmont 5 is just over a month away. This unique five mile race is held almost entirely on the Belmont Lake Golf Course. The event raises money for Tar River District Scouting and has many Scout families volunteering and participating at the race. The race date is on Sept. 6. “This is a perfect time of year for a racing, and also a perfect time to visit the Belmont Lake Golf Course,” Race Director Michael Forrester said.
The golf course has undergone a $100,000 renovation, and the brand new golf clubhouse will be open as well. The 7,000-square-foot facility will include a full pro shop, grille room and beautiful patio. Members and customers will also be able to enjoy a nice meal and beverage after their round in the grille or on the patio.
“If you have not visited the area recently, you will be amazed with all of the changes – there is so much happening,” Forrester said. “We are lucky to have a premier course like this in our community and very pleased they allow us to host our annual race on the property.”
“The golf course has never looked as good as it does right now,” Head Golf Pro Tim Wilkie said. “We enjoy having the community come out for the race.”
With a month to prepare, Forrester is hopeful that the Rocky Mount community will join the running boom. Runners and walkers can register for the race at www.belmont5.com.
All ability levels are encouraged to join in the fun and support the event.