The Mt. Jefferson Challenge
The Mount Jefferson Challenge is a 7.2-mile footrace from the
base of Mount Jefferson to its summit and back to the base.
The challenge, nicknamed MOJE, is a unique hill-climb event because the race involves not only the ascent, but also the descent, organizers said.
The MOJE starts at the Ashe County Civic Center, which sits at the base of Mount Jefferson. After the flat one-tenth mile start, the course makes one turn onto Mount Jefferson State Park road, and the race is on to the summit and back. The mirror image ascent and descent is 3.6 miles up, 3.6 miles down, with grades ranging from 5 percent to 16 percent on the paved roads of Mount Jefferson State Natural Area.
The second notable challenge of the MOJE is that it has claim to the most elevation change per mile of any race in the High Country and possibly the larger Western North Carolina region, organizers said. During the 3.6 mile climb, the elevation increases 1,513 feet to the turnaround at 4,660 feet. The MOJE challenges runners with an elevation change of 420 feet per mile.
The ascent and descent creates an additional challenge for runners — the appropriate dress for an autumn morning in the North Carolina mountains, organizers said. The cool temperature of the morning air is greatly desired as the stress of the ascent adds heat to the runner’s core. However, shortly after the turnaround, the less work and quicker pace of the descent rapidly cools the runner’s overheated body.
“The MOJE showcases a jewel of the North Carolina mountains,” officials said. “The paved road to the near summit, two paved parking overlooks and summit hiking trails, all of which are accompanied by no park entrance fee, makes Mount Jefferson State Natural Area a must-see destination. Your drive and hike on Mount Jefferson, when combined with a visit to the revitalized, thriving and pedestrian-friendly West Jefferson, which hosts numerous eateries and shops, makes for a great morning, afternoon, day or weekend trip.”
The MOJE will present a variety of prizes provided by Ashe County and West Jefferson businesses, including West End Wreaths, Mountain Outfitters and Boondocks. A percentage of MOJE entry fees support the Friends of Mount Jefferson. The MOJE is scheduled to start at 9 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 12, with packet pick up and race day registration starting at 7:45 a.m.
For additional MOJE information and to register for the race, visit http://www.newrivermarathon.com or call (336) 877-8888.