Road races at Lake Junaluska were popular decades ago
Marathons are a big draw these days and have a growing group of loyal runners who travel across the country to experience new courses.
Numerous races are now held in Haywood, but such was not the case decades ago.
When the Haywood Road Runners Club held its first road race Lake Junaluska in 1977, it was the first one ever held in the county. The popularity grew, and three years later, 588 runners traveled to the lake not only compete on a challenging course, but to enjoy the scenic views and hospitality.
In addition to the 10,000-meter run, the event included a fun run headed up by Tom Posey, who was then principal at Penn Avenue Elementary School. There was a women’s runner group as well, which was led by Helen Luckadoo, Peggy Melville and Betty Bumgardner.
In 1981, the Lake Junaluska Road Race gained statewide attention when the event was chosen to be the site of the North Carolina 10-K championship.
It marked the first time in the race’s history that the Haywood County Radio Club set up stations at each mile marker and announced what was happening in the race. The race action was also broadcast on WHCC, the Waynesville radio station.