Rain and mud didn't stop runners March 18 at the seventh-annual Assault on Blackrock race in fact, it might have just made the Jackson County race a more thrilling challenge.
"The hardest thing about it was the downhill part. It keeps going on and it's pretty slick, so you have to watch your step," said firstplace winner Nate Rhodes, of Asheville, who finished the race in 82 minutes.
This was the 40 year old's first time running the Assault on Blackrock.
Second-place winner Shawn Bagley, who finished in 84 minutes, said he couldn't feel his quad muscles at the end of the race.
"Know what you're getting into," the 39-year-old said to future runners. "Do a lot of hill training beforehand. It's a lot of fun, though."
About 90 runners from across the country, ranging from Florida to Oregon, participated in the seven-mile trail race in Sylva's rugged Pinnacle Park, with 2,770 feet of elevation gain.
Runners climbed a winding rocky trail to Black Rock, at 5,810 feet and ran, walked or crawled down to another summit.
Just more than $3,000 was raised to benefit the Jackson County nonprofit organization Clean Slate Coalition.
Top male finishers include:
First place --Nathan Rhodes, 40, of Asheville, 82 minutes and 11 seconds.
Second place --Shawn Bagley, 39, of Skyland, 84 minutes and 35 seconds.
Third place --Jason Adams, 41, of Auburn, Alabama, 85 minutes and 57 seconds.
Top female finishers include:
First place --Mandy Dockendorf, 37, of Cullowhee, 98 minutes and 25 seconds.
Second place --Jennifer Watkins, 40, of Asheville, 105 minutes and 11 seconds.
Third place --Jillian LaPlante, 30, of Candler, 108 minutes.
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