Running of the Goats 5k and Nature Walk hits its stride in its second year.
Plus, new Pygmy goat Bryan joins the barnyard cheer squad.
After a sold-out first year, the Running of the Goats 5k and Nature Walk returns on Sunday morning, April 24, 2022. The Friends of the WNC Nature Center will host its second-annual race, giving area runners the chance to run wild in and around the WNC Nature Center. Learn more and register at www.wildwnc.org/runwild.
Participants can run or walk the 3.1-mile course, which starts and ends at the WNC Nature Center. During this chip-time race, runners will begin by catching a glimpse of the goats, bears, birds, and otters before heading out on a rolling, paved course on Azalea Road by the John B. Lewis Soccer Fields.
There is also an option to choose a non-competitive Nature Walk inside the Nature Center. The walk will wind its way along a 0.75-mile paved route to see the animals while enjoying the park at a more leisurely pace. This self-guided tour will include fun, nature-related prompts, docent tables, and activities along the path. To ensure that the animals do not become stressed, running is not allowed along the Nature Walk course.
For those who want to support the Friends of the WNC Nature Center but are not ready to participate in person, there’s also a virtual race option available that includes a free guest pass for a future visit to the WNC Nature Center.
Around 9:15 am, immediately following the race, there will be an award ceremony near the finish line at Recreation Park, located below the WNC Nature Center. Celebrate with music provided by Tiffany and Michael from Mix 96.5, water and snacks from Earth Fare, and an animal costume contest. Participants are encouraged to wear animal-themed attire and accessories for the event, with a costume contest and prizes for the best dressed. Trophies and other prizes will also be presented to the top finishers in multiple age categories.
All runners can use their race bibs to gain free entry to the WNC Nature Center on race day. Friends and family can also purchase admission tickets at the Front Entrance gate to enter the WNC Nature Center as early as 8:30 am.
New This Year –Pygmy Goat Bryan and “Meet and Bleat” Drawing
While the goats will not actually be running in the race, they will be on the sidelines to watch runners, as the first part of the course passes by the farm animals. Joining the barnyard this year with a goat’s-eye view of the race will be Bryan, a male Pygmy goat who came to the WNC Nature Center in January 2022. He is five years old and grew up at a local farm near Asheville. Bryan is small and stout with a spunky and friendly personality that guests will love! Bryan was introduced to the rest of barnyard animals in mid-February and is acclimating well in his new home.
Registration prices increase on March 7. As a special incentive to sign up early, all participants who register before March 7 will be entered to win a special “Meet and Bleat” encounter with Bryan and all the goats that call the WNC Nature Center home! The winner plus a friend will get to go inside the barnyard, meet the animals, and learn more about goat life from their keeper. The drawing will be held March 8.
The Running of the Goats 5k and Nature Walk is sponsored by several community partners, including Zealandia Holding Company, Biltmore, White Oak Financial Management, Park National Bank, Grimes Teich Anderson LLP, HomeTrust Bank, US Cellular Premier Locations, Parsec Financial, Weiler Woods for Wildlife, and David Rodgers of Appalachian Realty Associates. The Friends of the WNC Nature Center also appreciate the support of iDaph Events (race coordination), Mix 96.5 WOXL-FM (post-race party), Image420 Screenprinting (shirt design), Highland Brewing (pre-race day packet pickup), and Earth Fare (post-race snacks).
About the Friends
Proceeds from the Running of the Goats 5k and Nature Walk go to the Friends of the WNC Nature Center and help support various programs throughout the park, including animal enrichment, outreach education, and habitat renovations.
The Friends of the WNC Nature Center is a conservation organization that inspires a passion to know more, care more, and do more for the wildlife of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. They advance the critical work of the WNC Nature Center by supporting its growth and development through fundraising, membership, outreach education, marketing, and volunteer services. The WNC Nature Center connects people of all ages with the plants and animals of the Southern Appalachian Mountains. For more information, visit www.wildwnc.org.