A Quick & Dirty Guide to the Running Scene in Gaston County
A community passionate about running is fueling an explosion of races, run clubs, and youth programs across Gaston County. Local businesses and organizations like Belmont Walk and Run, Gaston County Family YMCA, and Rivermen Brewing Company are teaming up to offer close to 20 races this year as part of the Run Gaston Race Series, with plenty of training support at weekly group runs. Race proceeds go right back into the community to support public safety, veteran programs, YMCA programs, and more. Family-friendly registration discounts and lower race-entry fees than most races in the region mean it’s prime time to start running in Gaston County.
Here’s everything you need to know about the running scene in Gaston County.
Run Gaston Race Series
The Run Gaston Race Series kicks off in April with Cherryville’s Cherry Blossom 5K and wraps up in December with Belmont’s Girls on the Run 5K. There are multiple 5Ks, 10Ks, walks, and fun runs most months in between. Runners earn points for participation and performance, which are tallied up at the end of the season for awards. Beyond the race series, you’ll find road races like the ChristmasTown 5K, which is run under McAdenville’s town-wide holiday lights display.
Take on trail races at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) or choose a hybrid event—the Rivermen 5 Miler combines a two-mile run through Belmont with three miles on technical singletrack.
Kids and Families
It’s no coincidence that local chapters of two national organizations promoting the physical and social benefits of running for kids have taken root in Gaston. Let Me Run and Girls on the Run get elementary and middle-schoolers moving through fun activities. Parks & recreation departments in Gaston County are also joining in with events like Cramerton’s Goat Island Games 5K, weekly running groups, and the Halloween-inspired Stanley Creek Massacre 5K and 10K in October.
The enthusiastic members of the Belmont Run Club have teamed up with Rivermen Brewing Company for the weekly Rivermen Run. The Tuesday evening group run follows three- and five-mile routes that start and finish at the brewery for the obligatory post-run pint. A no-drop policy and sweep at the end ensure no one’s left behind and everyone from beginners to marathon runners are welcome. Rivermen’s Labor Day 5K, part of the Run Gaston series, benefits the Gaston County Jaycees and rewards runners with a Rivermen Brewing pint glass.
With more than 40 miles of trail to tackle at the USNWC and more on George Poston Park’s mountain biking trails and Crowders Mountain State Park’s hiking trails, there’s plenty of training ground to get ready for trail races. If you’re new to trail running, the River Jam Run is a great place to start, with 5K and 10K distances and USNWC hoodies for anyone who runs all five The USNWC hosts a half marathon race series, Labor Day 15K, and WC-50 Ultra for endurance pros looking to push their distance. George Poston and Crowders offer more than 20 miles of additional trail with significant elevation change for a true challenge.
You’ve got no excuses when it comes to finding scenic trails in Gaston County that make running all the more fun.
Written by Ann Gibson for RootsRated Media in partnership with Gaston County Gov.