Running is one thing, but running for three, six or 12 hours is a completely different feat. For the fifth year in a row, “ultra runners” are taking over the Dunn-Erwin Rail Trail this Saturday for the Nutcracker Run. It is a run of distance and endurance, to see how many miles one can run in 12 hours.
Starting at the Erwin portion of the Rail Trail, the first event, the 12-hour run, begins at 6:30 a.m. with the six-hour run following at 7:30 a.m., then 8:30 a.m. for the three-hour runners. The shorter runs were added last year so more people can participate.
Those interested in running the event can go to ultrasignup.com and search “Nutcracker Run.” The costs for the run is $45 for the three-hour run, $55 for the six-hour run and $70 for the 12-hour run. The event website lists it as “12 hours of holiday miles for a great cause.” Registration closes Thursday at 11:59 p.m.
Dunn native Russell Galvan is no stranger to this run. He ran it the first three years, and then was director this year and last year.
He said proceeds from the event are going to the Dunn Police Athletic and Academic League and the Dunn Rotary Club’s CART fund. CART is an acronym for Coins for Alzheimer’s Research Trust.
Mr. Galvan said, “We have a few less runners this year than last year, but the money is more.”
Bleecker Automotive was the first corporate sponsor which donated $400. With a goal of $5,000, the Nutcracker Run is currently close to raising $4,000, Mr. Galvan said.
This year the event has had 70 runners registered. Runners are coming from North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Montana, Michigan and even one runner from Brazil. Valmir Nunes, the runner from Brazil, has been known internationally for ultramarathon distances since 1991. A few of the local runners include Paul Starling, Lisa McFadden, Tony Feagin, John Riley and Bill Ryan.
Each of the last few years, the run has brought a variety of weather experiences for the runners, whether it’s in the 30’s, the 70’s, or raining, like the entire run last year. Mr. Galvan said, “Last year was 100 percent chance of rain, but the percentages are going down for rain this year, which is looking good. I even told everybody if it rains this year I’m putting a tent over the whole trail.”
Mr. Galvan will be at one of the aid stations throughout the day cooking food such as soups, hot dogs and quesadillas for the runners, as well as “runner junk food,” such as Gummy Bears, jelly beans and sodas. Volunteers will help out in other areas. There will also be a large heater at the Erwin turnaround. Dunn Tourism is also providing portable toilets at both ends of the trail.
Mr. Galvan said Sharon Stevens with Dunn Tourism is always a big help in asking local businesses to donate food.
All participants will receive finisher medals as well as first- through third-place awards for each time group. There will also be a Spirit Award for runners who choose to dress up in holiday attire. The Runner Spot in Fayetteville is also donating raffle prizes.
If anyone has questions or wants to donate for the race, contact Russell Galvan at email@example.com or 910-890-7221.