To Our Participants and Community,
The Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon and 5K started in 2011 with 188 registered runners and has grown to over 450 runners in 2019. A part of growing is realizing mistakes, and we would like to take this opportunity to admit we made a mistake.
The event name “Valley of the Lilies” was chosen because it was believed to be the translation of the Cherokee word “Cullowhee”, which is the location of the Half Marathon and 5K and of Western Carolina University (WCU).
However, through research and consultation with experts at WCU and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians, we have learned this is not the correct translation. In fact, “Cullowhee” is more accurately translated to “Judaculla’s Place” in reference of the Cherokee legendary giant Judaculla who was said to reside in this area. In light of this, we recognize the inaccurate translation and are changing the name of our event.
Effective January 1st, 2021, while the race itself will stay the same, the Valley of the Lilies Half Marathon and 5K will now be called the Catamount Climb Half Marathon and 5K.
Again, we appreciate your help and support of this event over the years and we hope to see you all in 2021 at the Catamount Climb Half Marathon and 5K.
Additional educational resources concerning the history of Western Carolina University, Cullowhee and the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians are listed below.