In the 27th year of Tour de France in Cashiers, N.C. included a 5k run in addition to several bicycle races.
“This event really showcases the plateau, and we wanted to add that on a little smaller scale, on foot,” said Stephanie Edwards, Executive Director of the Cashiers Chamber of Commerce.
Money raised at the Tour goes towards programs aimed at community and economic development. Last year the event raised approximately $10,000. Edwards said they had a good deal of preregistration before the event, but had a lot of walk-ups at the last minute.
“This is the first year with the 5k and we’re really happy with it,” said Edwards. “The turnout has been good and everyone is really excited about today and the fact that the weather held.”
Racers said the courses were laid out very well overall.
“I live in this area and this is a beautiful ride,” said Scott Turner of Cashiers, who entered the 25-mile cycle race. “The race was really well done. We will definitely be back next year.”
Sandra Siebert of Sylva learned about Tour de Cashiers when she ran the Twilight 5k in Highlands, N.C., earlier this year.
“I just started getting into running and it’s fun to be with other runners and participate in something like this,” said Siebert. “I’m glad to be a part of this inaugural run and I just loved the course, it was easier than the Highlands one. And it was a safe course for runners regarding traffic and not having to cross major streets. I appreciate the way they laid it out.”
The race was organized by Peak Racing Events and Edwards said they always produce a wonderful event.
“They (Peak Racing) have been extraordinary in their race coordination and operational logistics,” said Edwards.
Andrew Schafer ran the 5k with his girlfriend Lindsey Lane who said the course wasn’t as hilly as she thought it was going to be, Schafer said it was hilly enough.
“The elevation is much higher here than in Greeneville (S.C.),” said Schafer. “That run definitely got my blood flowing.”
Jackson County Director of Tourism Nick Breedlove said events like Tour de Cashiers are great for visitors and the community because so many race participants patronize businesses in the area.
“This is an opportunity to showcase this beautiful area with the participants of this race,” said Breedlove. “We live in the most scenic part of the country and we’re grateful to have an event like this. Plus all the participants and visitors go to restaurants, hotels gas stations and shops in the area and contribute significantly to the economy.”
Breedlove said this year’s participants came from over 20 states and several came from out of the country. Edwards said they will be discussing adding a mountain biking element to next year’s event.
Article by Brian O’Shea
Photos by Brian O’Shea and Nick Breedlove, Jackson County Director of Tourism
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