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sheville-area events entice kids outdoors



5/8/2012 - Asheville-area events entice kids outdoors
by Paul Clark - Asheville Citizen Times

 How do you get kids away from their computers and cellphones? Let them get muddy.

 May really ramps up the get-outdoors season in Western North Carolina, especially for parents of kids who have spent too much of the winter in front of video screens of various sizes. 

 "Our society is definitely more obese than it has been in the past. Anything that we can do that can promote physical activity is needed at this point," said Heather Boeke, executive director of Hands On! A Child's Gallery, a downtown Hendersonville experiential learning center for children. 

Mad Mountain Mud Run


 Hands On! is the beneficiary of proceeds from Mad Mountain Mud Run on June 2-3, billed as the dirtiest event in WNC.

From 5-7 p.m. June 2, children of all ages and their parents can participate in muddy games and a small mud run at Berkeley Park in Hendersonville. Registration ($15 per person) includes supper from Chick-fil-A.

"It's an event with mud pits and mud puddles and obstacles that you have to accomplish," Boeke said. "It's all about fun and getting dirty."

The Mad Mountain Mud Run, for people at least 12 years old, is June 3. For adults, too, the 3.5-mile mud-filled obstacle race at Berkeley Park is designed for participants with varying levels of ability. The 15 obstacles must be scaled, traversed or maneuvered successfully unless participants opt to take a time penalty if the challenge proves too difficult.

"I'm expecting to get really dirty," said Carson Bockoven, a 13-year-old Hendersonville resident. "I'd never heard of a mud run before, but it sounds pretty cool. It definitely looks like fun."

"This course will make you grit your teeth and push yourself, but it will also make you smile and laugh," course designer Andy Hayes said.

For details, visit



Ahead of the Mud Run, kids will have a chance to get down and dirty during the inaugural Gnarliest Kids Adventure Race at Camp Pinnacle in Hendersonville on May 18.

Beginning at noon, kids ages 5-14 working in teams of two will navigate a variety of challenges that may include (the course is top secret!) wall climbing, mountain biking, a low ropes course and other problem solving events. There will be many surprises that event volunteer Ellen Seagle said she couldn't talk about (the kids will find out at the event), as well as a big, fancy finale.

"There's really nothing like this for kids," she said. "It's all about getting dirty and having fun."

A benefit for Mountain Community School in Hendersonville, GNAR will begin with instructions and a safety briefing by the race director. Competitors will be divided into three groups based on age and will start at set intervals. Tailored to each team's age and ability, the race is meant to encourage teamwork while promoting active, healthy lifestyles.

Registration is limited to 100 teams; cost per team is $50 (there is also an adult/child team category).

For more on GNAR, visit

Mountain Sports Festival


The Mountain Sports Festival over Memorial Day weekend in Asheville has lots of kids' events, nearly all of them at the Festival Village.

The free Keen Iron Kids events let kids test their strength in noncompetitive climbing, sprinting, basketball shooting and other activities. The festival also has relay races, a youth ultimate tournament, a kids' duathlon and night hikes. There will also be a kids' obstacle course, a bike race and a "wacky" golf tournament.

The festival will have a Rise 'n' Shine 5K race hosted by Girls on the Run of WNC, a curriculum-based, character-development program that helps girls in grades three to eight train for a 5K race.

"When I was in school, there was one chubby kid in my class. And now, unfortunately, there are a lot," said Rachelle Sorensen-Cox, who founded the WNC chapter of Girls on the Run. "Kids live very indoor, sedentary lives. We need to give them safe places to run."

To that end, Girls of the Run ( is also holding its Girls on the Run 5K on May 19 at Biltmore Park Town Square. Primarily for girls who are part of the program, the nontimed event is "absolutely" open to all girls, Sorensen-Cox said.

For details on Mountain Sports Festival, visit www.mountainsports Find information on Girls on the Run at

Ramble Run


On May 12, Mother's Day weekend, the Ramble Run is expected to draw more than 1,000 runners and walkers to Biltmore Park in South Asheville.

In its second year, it has a new feature -- an expanded mother/child category in the 5K and 12K races for moms and kids younger than 18.

The event also includes a rarity for races -- free child care. Parent's Race Out opens at 7:15 a.m. for children ages 12 and younger. It closes at 10:30 a.m. That gives parents time to run one race and then participate in the Great Beginnings Pediatric Dentistry and Haldeman Orthodontics Kids Kilometer Fun Run, a half-mile run around one of Biltmore Park's quiet neighborhoods. The Fun Run starts at 10 a.m.

For details and to register, visit

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