'Pump & Run' adds twist to Sourwood 5K

Julie Wallace sure can pick them when it comes to local races

Fred McCormick

Julie Wallace will try something she’s never done before when she runs the Sourwood 5K on Saturday. Like many athletes running the race, she's participate in what's called the Pump & Run" at Cheshire Fitness Club.

The Cheshire Pump & Run is a competition of strength and endurance. Contestants are given the opportunity to reduce their time in the Sourwood 5K by bench pressing weight determined by the "pumper's" weight and age. (Runners don't have to participate in the Pump & Run.)

"It's such a unique event I felt like I had to give it a try," Wallace said.

"Give it a try," has been somewhat of a mantra for her since she decided to start running to become more healthy.

"I pretty much started running around town," Wallace said. "I still sometimes run along Vance Avenue. I run on the greenways and sometimes in Montreat a little bit."

When it came time to test herself with a race, Wallace didn't chose just any 5K.

"The first race I ran was Rock the Quarry last year," she said. "Ignorance was bliss when I signed up because I had no idea what it was. I thought it was just a 5K."

Julie Wallace realized how tough racing could be when she ran a practice run for the Rock the Quarry 5K in 2015.

Wallace showed up to Grove Stone & Sand for a practice run and realized what she was up against.

"It was pretty intimidating," she said. "But it felt really awesome to finish that race. It was a very rewarding feeling."

She set her sites on an even more challenging race just few months later, when she ran for six straight hours during the Black Mountain Monster.

"I felt like I had been hit by a train after that race," she said. "I kind of have to laugh at myself sometimes because I have a tendency to really go for it."

Julie Wallace runs the Greenway Challenge in April 2016.

Wallace took part in her second Spartan Race on Aug. 6 when the Asheville Super returned to the Swannanoa Valley. The Cheshire Pump & Run is an altogether different challenge for her.

"I just started lifting weights a little in the fall," she said. "I enjoy lifting now, so this race really incorporates two things that I really like doing."

The Cheshire Pump & Run would be another challenging, local race to take on, Julie Wallace thought after she began lifting weights,

In addition to her regular lifting, Wallace has developed a training strategy for the days leading up to the race.

"I've worked on the math, and I'm thinking I'll be lifting around 90 pounds," she said. "I'm planning on having a spotter spot me with 100 pounds, maybe a few days before. So that way going into Saturday, maybe 90 won't seem like so much."

Wallace will be one of 150-200 runners in the Sourwood 5K . Fewer than 20 will participate in the Pump & Run, according to race director Andrew Marsh.

"This is a really cool competition," he said. "A lot of people aren't so sure about doing it because it's not something they're familiar with, but it's a great way to take a little bit of time off of your 5K."

Each lift successfully completed by Pump & Run participants results in a 20-second deduction from their Sourwood 5K time. Wallace is hoping to shave close to two minutes off hers.

"I definitely won't be doing 30 reps, that's for sure," she said. "I'm hoping to do around five."

That should leave her enough energy to take in more of what the Sourwood Festival has to offer after her race.

"I'll definitely head down to the festival," she said. "I'll probably just make a day of it on Saturday."

Pump & Run - or just run

What: Sourwood 5K and Cheshire Pump & Run

When: 8:30 a.m. Aug. 13

Where: Cheshire Fitness Club

Register: or on race day. Registration is $30.