This year was my 8th year running the 20K. I have seen many changes over the years. They even changed the distance from a 20K to the half marathon for a few years in an attempt to attract more runners. The truth if this race is small because it is tough, and I love it.
It is one of my favorite races in my hometown of Greenville, SC. It finishes the Greenville Track Club's annual race series. It has become an annual tradition for me and many other Greenville runners. I think that is what I love about this race. We all know how tough it is, but many of us keep coming back every year for more mountain fun.
Packet Pickup is at Timmons Arena the morning of the race and is always very organized. There is not an expo because it is a smaller race.
Every year the swag keeps improving. For the past few years they have been giving 20K finishers medals and a viking helmet. This year we received a nice swag bag, t-shirt, medal, and a magnet of a viking helmet. I thought that was better because I now have three viking helmets in my apartment.
The course always starts in Furman where you start your assent up Paris Mountain. It is a 2 and a half mile climb up the mountain. After the climb, you have a set of rolling hills to the bottom. You are the half way mark at the bottom of the mountain, but the hills are not over. The last 10k is a set of rolling hills through some neighborhoods until you finish. They changed the location of the finish this year. In the past you would finish down hill and have a flat finish in. This year we ran to the back of Furman and finished with one more hill.
In the past they have had Queen and King of the mountain for the first male and female to make it to the top. This year they did not :( But they did add cash prizes and every overall and age group winner received a pint glass with this year's race logo.
Overall I would recommend this race but I would advise runners to be aware of what they are signing up for. This is not an easy race, but it is fun! Also if you don't want to do the 20k they have added a 10k and 5k race as well.