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Registration is open for April 9 half marathon, 5K at WCU

By Tom Lotshaw
valley of the lilies 1


Western Carolina University is inviting runners of all ages and skill levels to register for the annual Catamount Climb Half Marathon and 5K on Saturday, April 9. The event raises money for student development and scholarships.

Hosted by the College of Health and Human Sciences and Campus Recreation and Wellness, the Catamount Climb, formerly known as Valley of the Lilies, will be held in person for the first time since 2019. WCU continues to follow Catamounts Care protocols, with face coverings optional outside but required in public spaces indoors.

Organizers are expecting a smaller number of runners after the two-year hiatus. But they hope people will come out to enjoy a picturesque run through the WCU campus and Cullowhee that supports a good cause.

“When COVID first hit, the big push was virtual fitness and that was popular for a while,” said Brandon MacCallum, director of Campus Recreation and Wellness. “But people are wanting to get back out with other people for social wellness, fitness and health. The Catamount Climb is a way to keep on track with a fitness goal in mind and to accomplish that goal early in the year.”

The half marathon (13.1 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles) will have staggered start times to help reduce crowding. The half marathon will start at 8 a.m. The 5K will start at 8:30 a.m.

Early registration fees are $45 for the half marathon and $20 for the 5K through March 6. Fees will then increase to $60 and $30 through April 8. Race day registration will be available for $75 and $40 from 6:30-7:30 a.m. at WCU’s Campus Recreation Center. Runners younger than 18 get a $5 discount on the 5K pricing.

Packets including T-shirts, race bibs and promotional items from event sponsors can be picked up at the Health and Human Sciences Building from 3-7 p.m. April 8 and the Campus Recreation Center from 7-8 a.m. on race day. Register or learn more at

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