Valentine 5K turns 20

Fred McCormick
Black Mountain News
Approximately 200 runners participated in the 19th annual Valentine 5K last February.

Hundreds of runners will be feeling the love as they gather at Lake Tomahawk on Saturday, Feb. 9 for the 20th running of the Valentine 5K and Kids Fun Run.

The event, which features runners in costumes and gives couples the opportunity to participate as a team, is hosted by the Town of Black Mountain Recreation and Parks Department. The presenting sponsor is the Jerry Morris State Farm Insurance Agency. 

"It really has a little something for everyone," said Andrew Marsh, owner of Event Mercenaries, which has done the registration and timing for the race since 2013. "We normally get around 200 runners between the fun run and 5K, and the great thing about it is that it's a really cool family environment."

Any two people can run the race together as a couple, Marsh said. 

"There are 14 different categories," he said. "There are combined age groups for married couples, but you can also go as a mother-daughter team, father-son, brother-sister or you can run with anyone you'd like to run with in the open category."

Registration for the fun run is free for children and the 5K is $25 for adults before Feb. 7. Packets can be picked up early from 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 8, at the Lakeview Center. 

Packets can also be picked up on race day at Lake Tomahawk from 8 - 9:30 a.m. 

The kids fun run, a half-mile run around the lake, gets underway at 9:30 a.m. All of the children who participate receive a medal and a Spirit Award will be given to the child wearing the best Valentine's Day costume. 

"We have families that come back every year to participate in the race or fun run or both," Marsh said. "The fun run, with some of the kids dressed up in costumes, is a fun way to start it off."

The 5K, which is the first race of the Asheville Track Club's WNC Grand Prix series, gets underway at 10 a.m. The race begins on Laurel Circle Drive and the course takes runners along the Flat Creek Greenway before finishing on the path around Lake Tomahawk. 

This year, participants will receive a free t-shirt marking the 20th anniversary of the race.