Insane Terrain, regatta to benefit trails, projects

By Wendy Byerly Wood -

September is a big fundraising month for the Elkin Valley Trails Association as it hosts the annual Insane Terrain trail run and cohosts the duck and turtle regatta with the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club.

Both events take place the same day as the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival, which falls on Sept. 22 this year.

The Insane Terrain will kick off the day at Elkin Municipal Park’s band shell, with last-minute registration available at 7 a.m. and the trail runs beginning at 8 a.m. This year, the event will feature a 5K event, as well as the first 25K race, according to Robert Ball, who is coordinating the event for EVTA.

This Friday is the last day to sign up early to guarantee an event shirt and a cheaper participation cost, he said.

“The first year, we did a 5K and 10K, and then we did just a 5K for three or four years. We’ve added the 25K, because we have the trails to do it now,” Ball said.

The group’s long-term goal is to be able to hold a full marathon or an out-and-back race from Elkin to Stone Mountain once the entire trail is in place, he said. “That’s been the whole goal is to always have it on the trails.”

The 5K will follow the same route as last year, using the mountain bike trail off the E&A Rail Trail to do a loop.

For the 25K, pieces of it are still in development, but the plan is to use the majority of the mountain bike trails, come back out to the rustic trail at the end of the gravel dust E&A near the town reservoir and follow Big Elkin Creek up to the third dam. Ball said the runners will go by the dam and come out at the end of Benge Drive and travel onto the Isaacs Trailhead up to Grassy Creek Winery, by the new Carter Falls and then back to the park.

The area above the third dam is not open to the public, but EVTA has gained permission from land owners to use the properties for the day’s 25K, Ball explained.

Those wishing to register early for the Insane Terrain, guaranteeing a lower cost and T-shirt, can do so by visiting

There is a $100 overall cash prize for the first-place winner of the Insane Terrain 5K in the female and male categories as well as the 25K in both categories. The event is open to all runners, hikers and walkers.

Later in the day, the EVTA will partner with the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club, along with volunteers from the Boy Scouts and Elkin High School’s Interact Club, to put on the annual duck and turtle regatta on Big Elkin Creek just behind the Elkin Public Library.

Ducks and turtles have been up for “adoption” for several weeks now, and those wanting to adopt a floating creature can do so up until 4 p.m. on the day of the regatta at EVTA’s booth at the Yadkin Valley Pumpkin Festival in downtown Elkin, said Bill Blackley, president of EVTA.

Ducks and turtles also can be adopted on Saturdays between 9 a.m. and noon at the Elkin Farmers Market and at Stone Mountain State Park’s Old Fashion Day this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

At 5 p.m. on Sept. 22, organizers will take all of the adopted ducks and turtles and put them in Big Elkin Creek above the dam at the library where a kayaker will ensure they all safely make it down the falls and downstream where volunteers will be waiting to fish them out with nets.

Blackley said the first 40 floaters will be put in a bucket, and then someone, usually a child, will be selected to start picking the first ones out of the bucket to see who wins the grand prizes. The big prize include a kayak donated by Yadkin River Adventures.

Other prizes this year include a bicycle from Walmart, zoo tickets, Tweetsie Railroad tickets, numerous gift cards and certificates from local restaurants and businesses which have been donated, Blackley said.

“Last year we had 40 prizes, and everyone was happy,” he said.

The proceeds from the adoption of ducks and turtles benefit EVTA’s trail projects and community projects by the Yadkin Valley Rotary Club.

The EVTA funds raised this year will be used to help with stream restoration at the site of a new bridge going on the E&A Rail Trail/Mountains-to-Sea Trail above the town reservoir. The bridge, being constructed as part of Riley Lyles’ senior project for school, will open up another three-quarters of a mile of trail, Blackley said.

“Everyone is invited to stand on the [Main Street] bridge or under the library to watch the regatta,” Blackley said.

Members of the Rotary Club also are taking funds from people wishing to adopt a turtle or duck for the regatta.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

By Wendy Byerly Wood