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Visit Alexander County, NC
Alexander County, NC is a wonderful place to live, work, and play!
Alexander County, NC is a wonderful place to live, work, and play!


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Here are 275 photos from the 7th Annual Lake Hickory +Triathlon held July 22 in Alexander County, NC, USA!

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Check out photos from the first-ever Run for the Dogs Trail Race at +Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area! #VisitAlexanderNC

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Check out photos from the 24th Annual Apple City Street Rodders Classic Car & Truck Show, held May 13 at Alexander Central High School! #VisitAlexanderNC

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More than 210 runners finished the 2016 YMCA Apple Festival 5K on Oct. 15! Check out these photos! #running #YMCA #VisitAlexanderNC #AlexanderCountyNC

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A good crowd enjoyed the first "Vertical Mile Challenge Day" on Saturday, Oct. 1 at Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area. With more than 1,300 people participating in the Vertical Mile Challenge (VMC), the event was held to celebrate the popularity of the hike and to celebrate the accomplishments of the participants. In addition to hiking, attendees enjoyed a scavenger hunt, a free hot dog lunch, door prizes, and more. Special awards were presented to five people who have completed 100 laps in the VMC, including Angie Matthews, Larissa Erkman, Mike Kerley, David Icenhour, and Rick French. Thanks to everyone who attended VMC Day, and to everyone who's working towards their goal of 8 laps (one vertical mile), 40 laps (five vertical miles), 80 laps (10 vertical miles), or 100 laps! #VerticalMileChallenge #VMC #RockyFacePark #VisitAlexanderNC
2016 Vertical Mile Challenge Day
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The 10th Annual Hiddenite Festival Road Race 5K/10K/Half-Marathon was held Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016 in Alexander County. Here are photos of almost every participant, including awards photos. Thanks to all who made this year's race a big success!
2016 Hiddenite Festival Road Race 5K/10K/Half-Marathon
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A total of 17 runners completed the 2016 Vertical Mile Challenge on Saturday, June 18 at Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area. This extreme trail race continues to gain popularity for its scenic beauty as well as its difficulty.

Chris Holland of Taylorsville captured first-place honors with a time of 3:25:47. Second place went to Brian Johnson (3:30:12), followed by Jonathan Hogan (3:37:17). The top three females were Rachel Watkins (4:36:41), Lisa Watkins (4:36:42), and Tiffany Parris (4:46:51).

The course is approximately a two-mile loop beginning and ending at the bottom of the cliff face directly behind the parking lot. The course is paved for a short distance and then becomes typical single-track trail. After approximately 1/2 mile, runners will begin the 500-foot climb up the side of the mountain. At the top of the climb, the course reaches the Hollow Rock Trail and follows it down to the top of the lower rock face. At this point, runners follow the Buzzard Loop trail to the end of the loop at the start/finish area. Runners complete the loop eight times, equivalent to approximately 16 miles, while traveling a vertical mile up (5,280 feet) and a vertical mile down (5,280 feet).

Here are complete results for the 2016 VMC race:
1. Chris Holland – 3:25:47
2. Brian Johnson – 3:30:12
3. Jonathan Hogan – 3:37:17
4. Tyler Peek – 4:05:33
5. Mark Long – 4:27:57
6. Rachel Watkins – 4:36:41
7. Lisa Watkins – 4:36:42
8. Ben Smoker – 4:45:47
9. Tiffany Parris – 4:46:51
10. Chris Ward – 5:02:42
11. Brigitte Spurgeon – 5:05:42
12. Stephen Freeman – 5:16:16
13. George Wahnop – 5:16:17
14. Danny Dyson – 6:09:50
15. Tara Grisolia – 6:19:48
16. Victoria Heater – 7:15:34
17. Tammie Langley – 7:16:08

Event photos can be viewed on Rocky Face Park’s Facebook page at, or for high-resolution downloads, log on to Visit Alexander NC’s Flickr page at

History of the Vertical Mile Challenge
In 2011, Jimmy Ballard and Doug Dawkins went hiking on the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. They hiked south from Hanover, New Hampshire into New York State. Somewhere in Vermont during the countless ups and downs, Jimmy wondered if they had been a vertical mile - 5,280 feet up and 5,280 down. In fatigued and deranged humor, they thought, "Wouldn't it be something to put on a run where the whole idea was to do a vertical mile in the shortest distance possible?!" It took a while to find the right location, but with the help of Alexander County Manager Rick French, they discovered that Rocky Face Mountain Recreational Area was the perfect location.

Alexander County Points Challenge
Those who completed the 2016 Vertical Mile Challenge earn points in the 2016 Alexander County Points Challenge race series. Upcoming races in Alexander County include: Lake Hickory Triathlon on July 9, Hiddenite Festival Road Race 5K/10K/Half Marathon on September 24, YMCA Apple Festival 5K on October 15, Rocky Face Marathon & Relay on October 29, Race to the Cove 5K on November 5, and Rotary Reindeer Romp 8K on November 26. Learn more about Alexander County running events and the points challenge at

Vertical Mile Challenge Club
The VMC course is becoming a popular attraction for those who want to become a member of the “Vertical Mile Challenge Club.” Those who complete eight (8) loops over an unspecified number days, weeks, or months, will receive a free VMC T-shirt to commemorate their achievement. Including VMC race participants, 78 people have joined the club while enjoying the great outdoors at Rocky Face Park and improving their level of fitness. Currently, there are 101 people who have started their trail to success but have not yet completed the challenge.

For more information, contact Rick French at (828) 632-9332 or To learn more about Rocky Face Park, visit
2016 Vertical Mile Challenge
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