Explore some of the beautiful highlights you will experience on race day as you run alongside the Race Director during this quick tour around the estate.
It’s November and fall in the mountains of Western North Carolina, the leaves are quickly falling to the ground but are still vibrant in colorful! One of the joys of living and visiting Asheville is that there are all four seasons, each of them are quite mild climates compared to other areas in the U.S. With that said, March is unpredictable… the races have seen all kinds of weather — beautiful running conditions – 50 degrees and sunny, cold, rain, snow and a very warm 70 degrees! We do have the events later in the month of March now, which has seemed to help knock off some of Mother’s Nature cold from the winter.
In this course tour blog, I explain some of the course and terrain that you will run on at the 2019 Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate. Yes, Asheville is located in the mountains but relative to the other parts of our county, the Biltmore Estate is located in a valley and the elevation change may not be quite as much as you think for 13.1 and 26.2 miles! YES, there are hills but you are not climbing a mountain to Pisgah or Mount Mitchell! So as you are training, make sure to practice on hills, bridges or set an elevated incline on the treadmill and in all types of weather. Depending on the device you are using, the half marathon has approximately 500 feet elevation change and the full marathon has 1,000 feet of elevation change. For maps and additional course information visit here for the half marathon and here for the full marathon course profile.
The course begins flat for the first mile, then is rolling for the next couple of miles are you pass by Deerpark, the trail barn and the Admissions Gate. Then you will climb up to Biltmore House on a long, steady (BUT GORGEOUS!) climb from mile 3 1/2 to 6. But the view at the top is SOOO worth it! The HOUSE is at Mile 6!
After you run in front of the double doors of the house you will run a steady undulating downhill from miles 6-8, through the gardens, Conservatory, by the Bass Pond and over to Bearpen. The roads from mile 1-9 are all smooth pavement. Runners may from time to time experience vehicular traffic from employees getting to/from work but for the most part the roads are very quiet with little to no vehicular traffic. If you need some extra motivation to run this winter and want to prepare yourself fully for the events check out the Chi Running and Fleet Feet Asheville virtual or local training groups customized just for these races, go here for more info.
From Bearpen to the Lagoon by Frog Pond and to Big Rock you will run on flat roads and some greenway sections. From mile 9-12 it is all flat along the river for the half marathon on packed dirt/gravel roads. The variety of road surfaces is part of what makes this event so special, unique and at time challenging. However, your body will thank you the next day, with a quicker and easier recovery from having a mix of hard and soft surfaces during the race. At mile 12 1/2 you will get a little incline when you are heading to the finish line. You will finish in Antler Hill Village close to the Village Hotel and by the Farmyard and the Donkeys where the post race party takes place.
Marathoners will leave the half marathon course at mile 10 and head over the beautiful bridge to the West Side of the Estate. The west side is typically off-limits to regular guests at the estate, so it is quite the honor to get to run over here! The roads are rolling hills with a mix of packed dirt and gravel. The roads condition are dependent on the winter that we have, some areas may have some small sections that have some thicker gravel and/or muddier spots. So we suggest no racing flats. Typically Biltmore rolls the roads before the race to make them more firm and packed for the runners. The maintenance on these roads has come A LONG way since our first race seven years ago! At mile 17ish marathon runners will then be on mostly flat roads through mile 26.2. They will leave the west side and do the same miles that the Half Marathoners did from mile 10-13. At mile 13 marathoners will run the flat paved lagoon trail back to the Lagoon area and down to Bearpen, all along the French Broad River. Once runners return to Bearpen they will make a u-turn and return to Antler Hill Village area to the finish by way of the paved Lagoon Trail.
The Asheville Marathon and Half is a unique, boutique style race that has been made for by a runner for runners. The views and historical landmarks you will run past and through make this running event an unforgettable experience. Tickets are still currently available for all of the events including the Saturday Half Marathon (will fill up soon), the Sunday Half and Full marathon and both of our Challenges. The Backyard to Vineyard Challenge (both half and full) and the Backyard to Backyard Challenge (both halfs) have limited spots remaining. We expect the 2019 events to sell out by early 2019 if not sooner.
Check out the Race Director’s quick tour on the estate.