With its village-like surroundings, live music and live oaks, the Beaufort Twilight Run has always felt as much a party as a road race.
The event returns to Habersham on Saturday for its ninth year as a fundraiser for Riverview Charter School. A band, beverages and Broad River scenery are again expected to be among the draws.
And this year will include some serious competition when the starting pistol goes off Saturday starting at 4 p.m. Members of the Zap Fitness-Reebok professional running team will be among the racers.
The group includes Tyler Pennel, who finished fifth at the U.S. Olympic marathon trials in 2016. He will be joined by Pardon Ndhlovu, who ran in the 2016 Olympic marathon for Zimbabwe, and Nicole Dimercurio, a University of Georgia graduate who competed in the Olympic marathon trials.
“Having Olympic-caliber athletes is only going to help grow running in the Beaufort region by showcasing the beauty of our area but also through the fast times that will be reported over our flat terrain of the Lowcountry,” said distance runner and Grounded Running owner Tim Waz, whose Port Royal store will host the elite runners for a clinic Friday evening before the race. “... More and more first-time runners will find motivation to increase their fitness base and take to the road.”
More than 2,600 runners are expected from 20 states. They are drawn by the flat course and marsh views and the variety of race categories, from a kids fun run to the “Beaufort Challenge,” which rewards the top combined finishes of the 5K and 10-mile races.
“The BTR keeps growing and has now captured the attention of world-class athletes,” race director Lauren Kelly said in a release. “This race is scenic, fast and easy to follow, and there is something for everyone — from families walking the 5K to local running clubs competing to athletes trying to break state records to world-class marathoners training at our race. It’s a true running festival.”
Cash will be awarded to top finishers in the Beaufort Challenge, 10-mile, 8K and 5K runs. Categories awarded will include the top three male and female finishers of each of those races, and the top male and female in the masters division, for those 40 and older. Awards will also be given to the top active-duty military participant and top finisher from Beaufort County.
Broke Locals will provide the live music. Food and drinks will be provided by food trucks and Habersham restaurants.
Beaufort Twilight Run
- What: Road race featuring a kids fun run, 1-mile youth run, 5K, 8K, 10-mile and 13.1 Beaufort Challenge
- Where: Habersham Marketplace; 11 Market, Burton
- When: Saturday, 4 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.
- Details: For information and to register, visit www.beauforttwilightrun.com