Registration open for the Britten Strong 5K

Marla Hardee Milling
Special to Black Mountain News
Runners follow The Oaks Greenway for part of the Britten Strong Race to Recovery held at Montreat College's Black Mountain campus in 2018.

It’s time to sign up for a 5K race/walk and kid’s fun run that will take place on April 28. The race begins at 1:30 p.m. at the Montreat College track at 250 Vance Ave. The fun run for kids kicks off a half-hour earlier. Last year 158 people signed up. This year they are aiming for 200.

In 2017, during the inaugural year of this Montreat College-sponsored race, organizers had no idea they’d soon be raising money for one of their own. But just two months before the race, Montreat’s track coach, Britten Olinger, suffered life-altering injuries during a tragic car accident on State Street in Black Mountain.

Olinger, who is married with two young children, suffered a severed spinal cord at the C7/T1 vertebrae, among other injuries during the wreck.

Police say 31-year-old Kyle Donte Carney of Winston-Salem was traveling 120 mph in a 20 mph zone when his car smashed into Olinger’s vehicle. Last June, a judge gave Carney a sentence of 29-47 months in prison. He was also ordered to pay $162,456 in restitution for Coach Olinger’s medical expenses plus a $2,500 fine. 

Britten, Samantha and Easton Olinger in their Black Mountain home a year after the wreck that left the Montreat College track and field coach with severe injuries. The community support over the past year provided a "huge lift," in his recovery, Britten said.

‘This is the third race to support Coach Olinger. I know they are getting a service dog that they are training. We’re trying to help them out to ease the burden. He’s now in a wheelchair 100 percent of the time,” said Robyn York, assistant professor of exercise science.

The event is entirely student run and in the hands of freshmen leaders as they work out all the logistics, find sponsors, get permits, set up, tear down and cheer on runners. There are 31 students organizing and planning, but they also receive help from about 20 members of the track team.

“We’ve had a kids run in the past,” she said, “but this year we decided to ramp it up with a Kids Fun Zone, which is completely free to enjoy. If you want to run, we will keep your child safe in the fun zone. We’ll keep them entertained while you’re running around.”

Also this year, Phil’s BBQ will provide catering and offer such items as pulled pork sandwiches, beans and hushpuppies. The cost is $10 for adults and $7.50 for kids. 

Participants can sign up online at, but they are also welcome to sign up the day of the event. Registration is $35 for adults, $15 for ages 14 to 28 and $10 for ages 5-13.

Check out the race Facebook page for more information: