Ache Around the Lake Sept. 22

Published 10:11 pm Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Runners in a previous Ache Around the Lake race at Lake Lanier. This year’s event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 22. (photo submitted by Jennifer Wilson)

Even in these sweltering summer temperatures, runners and walkers in the Polk County area are in training for the seventh annual Ache Around the Lake Run/Walk — a benefit for St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation set for Saturday, Sept. 22, at 8 a.m. at Lake Lanier in the Tryon.

Ache Around the Lake is a community event that includes The Ache (8K or 5 miles) or The Ouch (a two-mile fun run).

The Ache was founded as a charity foot race in 2006 by two area runners — Scarlette Tapp and Katie Malone. The founders lived and often ran at Lake Lanier, the site of this annual, 8-K, USAT&F-certified race and the accompanying “Ouch” fun walk.

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The Ache has become known as one of the ‘biggest little races’ on the Upstate S.C. and Western N.C. racing circuit — boasting mountain lake views, moderate weather and a USAT&F-certified course. In 2011, there were 325 race participants and 30 race sponsors.

The “Ache” 8-K course starts on Butter Street with a sloping downhill. It then crosses over the dam and up a short, steep hill referred to by local athletes as the “Grunt Hill.” The run follows the lake in a counter-clockwise direction; winding around five miles of continuous lake road. This 4.97-mile certified course has many inclines and switchbacks. The last half-mile is relatively flat. The Ache is a challenging course for runners.

The “Ouch” 2-mile course starts with the Ache on Butter Street. After coming down the first hill and onto Lake Shore Drive together, the Ouch participants split from the Ache racers by staying straight on East Lakeshore Drive. Ouch participants enjoy a very flat first half mile where they will be rewarded with beautiful views. After a short gradual hill, they bear left and continue to climb. Ouch participants’ ascent is followed by a quick right back onto Butter Street and a descent to Lanier Drive.

Runners then hit a short, steep downhill before bearing left on Lake Shore Drive and heading up the final hill — a final reminder of why this race is called the “Ouch.” The walkers/runners then take a right toward the dam and cross the finish line.

While the proceeds of the first race were donated to the American Cancer Society, the race soon found a permanent recipient in the local hospital, St. Luke’s in Columbus.

Since 2007, proceeds from the Ache charity race event have helped St. Luke’s Hospital upgrade their radiology department, as well as upgrade their surgery, physical therapy, occupational therapy and pharmacy units.

This year, participation in the “Ache” or “Ouch” race, sponsorship, and/or earmarked contributions to St. Luke’s Hospital Foundation will help raise funds to provide upgrades and renovations to the Center of Behavioral Medicine at St. Luke’s.

The Center of Behavioral Medicine is well-known in North and South Carolina for its patient-centric mental health care, providing a team approach for adults 55 and older who suffer from such issues as Alzheimer’s, other dementias, depression, Parkinson’s, psychosis and anxiety. The 10-bed inpatient unit provides one-on-one, group and recreational therapy in an exceptionally warm ambience.

All funds raised during this year’s “Ache/Ouch” will be used toward renovations and upgrades to the Center of Behavioral Medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital. In 2012, our goal is to raise $25,000 to help cover the costs of painting, new flooring in the nurses’ station and main hallway, two new couches, upgraded visitor chairs for patient rooms, two projector televisions and other enhancements throughout the center.

Race registration fees are reduced before Sept. 10 and will increase Sept. 10 until race morning. T-shirts will go to the first 200 registered participants.

Both races will be professionally timed. Only the 8K is USATF-certified.

Handmade pottery will be given to the top three winners in the overall, masters and age group divisions for The Ache.  The Top Dog award will go to fastest canine-human team.

Visit to register or learn more.

– article submitted by Jennifer Wilson