Special to the Tribune
Woodfin – Nearly two dozen intrepid runners braved the 1,000-foot climb up Reynolds Mountain at the 3rd Annual Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K in scenic Woodfin less than a mile outside of North Asheville on Saturday, October 12th.
Along the way, both the men and women’s course records were crushed with Asheville’s Lance Morsell cruising an unchallenged 26:39 and Reynolds Mountain resident Dr. Elizabeth Rollins speeding to a second-place overall finish in 29:15. Because of the severe uphill nature of the course, both runners’ times were well off of their personal bests, but each took home a $100 cash first-place prize and bragging rights as the “King and Queen of the Hill.”
The event benefitted the non-profit Be Safer 501(c)3 non-profit fire prevention program that provides smoke detectors and fire extinguishers to low income Buncombe County residents at no charge.
Supported by dozens of firefighters and volunteers from the Woodfin, Weaverville, West Buncombe, French Broad, Enka-Candler and Riceville Fire Departments, along with volunteers from the Town of Woodfin and the Woodfin Police Department, runners were treated to a scenic and well-managed race route. There was also a firefighters challenge course for Kids, along with food and refreshments, numerous door prizes and music by DJ Brian.
“The Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K exemplifies the best that Buncombe County Firefighters, Law Enforcement and other local first responders provide to our community,” said Woodfin Fire Department Chief Jeff Angel. “Firefighters do more than put out fires. We care deeply about the health and safety of the citizens in our community and events like this one help us extend our reach and our mission.”
The Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K boasts one of the most challenging and picturesque 5K runs in Western North Carolina. The event runs straight up historic Reynolds Mountain for a leg-searing 1,000-foot net elevation gain, before turning around and returning to the finish line in the Reynolds Mountain Village shopping and residential center.
“The Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K is one of the most challenging and rewarding 5k running events in western North Carolina and draws participants from across the region”, said race director Alison Moran. “The event harnesses the naturally hilly landscape and turns it into a force for good to save lives.”
Moran, a professional firefighter with the Woodfin Fire Department, founded the Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K in 2017 in response to a community need for fire prevention supports in the form of smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), smoke detectors should be installed on every level of your home, including the basement and outside of every sleeping area.
Nearly a thousand home fire fatalities have been reported in the United States in just the first six months of 2019, according to the US Fire Administration. Many of these fatalities could have been prevented with the simple installation of a smoke detector or access to a home fire extinguisher.
“Our mission is to prevent the loss of life and property through public education and to support ongoing needs of local fire departments through the administration of a fire prevention education course based on national standards,” said Moran. “Very simply, the Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K is a lifesaving path for many of our neighbors in Buncombe County”.
The Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K provided over 200 smoke detectors and 120 fire extinguishers to area residents last year and is seeking to double that number in 2019. Final fundraising numbers are still being tabulated and will be reported later.
“I’m certain that the 2019 Buncombe Summit Hill Climb 5K will continue our tradition of excellence and once again be a force for good in our community”, said Moran.