A group with ties to Cross Country, Trail Races and Trail Running discussed what they would like to see at Valdese Lakeside Park. Odell Williams (LRU Cross Country), Jonathan Damron (DHS Cross Country), Brandon Thrower (Tanawha Adventures), Robert Murray (Retired Coach), Quez Little (Runner) and Mark Rostan (Runner) were present with Doug Knight (Parks and Rec Director) and Beth Heile (FVR) on January 8, 2018. The Valdese Recreation Commission also attended. Summary of ideas:
Key Point: If the 2 mile greenway along the water is paved, this mileage cannot be used for Cross Country events (both high school and college level) and paved is not desired for a paid trail run event. A fine compacted crush is acceptable.
Crushed stone vs paved greenway – natural easier on the joints for the aging population – walking and running. Provide an example trail of crushed stone to visit for better understanding.
Start area needed for Cross Country event: About 100-200 foot wide start line to accommodate top 2-3 runners from each school. Then depth would finish the team of 7 (for HS). An 8 foot box width is idea, but it is only 3-4 foot wide in Kernersville.
32 teams for a high school regional event (7 on team, 2-3 across front of box). 200-250 runners at event. Schools bring buses – okay to park 1/2 mile away and walk.
13 teams for a college event (3-4 in a box). About 50 runners. 3 vans and 9 buses come to events.
LRU currently uses Southside Park in Maiden area. This park is very flat, circular and more for high school. It is crushed path. LRU added trail to make it an 8k. A trail with more character, challenge would be nice.
College runs 5k for women and 8k for men. A course could be loops.
It would be best to run 1/4 mile open before entering trail.
4-8 ft wide trails nice for start. Get more narrow as you go.
Possibility: Make the easy bike trail 4 foot ride without many rollers and this would work for cross country runners.
Possibility: Start race at “future parking area” to run out greenway, at turn around, head up off water for 400-500 meters back to get around slower runners and then join back on course for end (lollipop style). Buses can park in the flat grass area of waste water plant.
Could DHS trail be connected to VLP trail for mileage? Problem with road crossing?
Foot bridges are OK in a Cross Country event.
For a trail run paid event, the focus would be more on the features and beauty of the course. You can run in the woods anywhere. Make sure to incorporate views into the run, stay close to water, highlight McGalliard Falls, have a feature worth coming back for.
Without many extraordinary features and without having a distance over 13 miles, trail race events at VLP may only appeal to locals. But, perhaps the features and the distance can be found/created. There needs to be something to bring people there.
For a top trail race, bringing in people from other states = 400 runners.
Variety of trails (width, material, difficulty) within the park will add interest. Put options in for an easy run one day and a difficult run the next day.
Cost: Would teams be charged to use the park? Would attendees be charged? Would schools be willing to partner from the beginning to do work/donate money and then there would not be future charge? Work as partners from the beginning.
When Bandys and Bunker Hill have events at Murray’s Mill, the “Mill” gets $2/car.
For regular runners: the more miles available, the better. Great views are key.
Regular trail runners will volunteer to help.
All runners were OK being on bike trails. Keep long site lines, so no one is surprised.