Early March 2020, NCLT was ready to roll out the inaugural Rock & Laurel Trail Race. We had the logo, we had the route, and we had a plan! With newly printed brochures in hand we began visiting local community partners and businesses to ask for their support. But it all came to a quick halt with the unfortunate news of the COVID-19 pandemic. We hit the pause button on our efforts and discussed what should happen next.
We were disheartened but determined to not let this ruin our efforts. It was time to take a clue from nature herself and show just how resilient NCLT could be – after all, our work in land conservation was still important – perhaps even more so. We rallied together and pivoted to a virtual race format. Board members called upon their friends and local businesses, and we gained last-minute sponsors from true community partners. In total, we grossed more than $12,000 with the support of 15 local businesses and many participants from a dozen states across the country.
It is true that the day looked different than we originally imagined. We masked up and hit the trails while maintaining our distances. And as if on cue, the mountain laurel proved to be just as beautiful as ever. Nature persevered and showed us the way. NCLT adapted appropriately and gained strength in our commitment to conserving land for the health and well-being of our region.
We are already planning for our second annual Rock & Laurel 5k. We will be on our toes and ready for what comes, and we hope you will join us and bring your friends for another trail race to celebrate nature in 2021!
Thank you to the Rock & Laurel Trail Race committee, our Race Director, Ryan Williams, the NCLT board and staff, and to all of the participants, donors, and business sponsors! It is only through working together that we can truly make a difference! – Lisa Adams, Outreach & Engagement Coordinator