If you drive from Asheville to Cherokee you will probably travel on a four-lane interstate and highway and it will take you less than ninety minutes. For the Land and Sky Relay we are choosing a more scenic and leisurely route that will take you through areas of Western North Carolina with much history. To give you a sense of this history, we will be doing a three part blog series about the course.
Part 1 – Buncombe County
After leaving the River Arts District and then West Asheville, runners on Leg 1 will pass through the Leicester community, settled in 1859 and named after the postmaster, Leicester Chapman, who in turn is named for the Earl of Leicester, aka Thomas Cocke. Before Chapman’s arrival, the area was known as Turkey Creek and dates back to around 1800. The oldest Baptist church and cemetery in Buncombe County dates back to 1802 and is located just off the race course.
There isn’t a lot of controversy in Leicester, but what there is, is centered around the pronunciation of its name. The early settlers pronounced it “Lester” but those in Asheville thought that sounded too snobby for their tastes and referred to it as Lick-Skillet, which eventually morphed into “Lee-cester.” Ask any local and you will probably get an equal number pronouncing it both ways. (*1)
Runners on Leg 4 will come down the backside of Newfound toward the border with Haywood County. In the early days of North Carolina this was only the middle of Buncombe County, sometimes referred to as the “State of Buncombe” because of its size. Back then, the county touched parts of South Carolina and Tennessee before being divided into more counties in 1802. (*2)
*Wildberry Lodge (1)
*North Carolina History Project (Jonathan Martin) (2)
About Glory Hound Events
Glory Hound Events was started in 2006, initially managing the historic Bele Chere 5K. Shortly after that first year the Lake Logan Triathlon was introduced and eventually became a part of the Lake Logan Multisport Festival. Glory Hound Events is now the largest endurance event management company in the Western North Carolina region, producing an average of twelve events annually. In addition to producing its own events and those for a variety of clients, Glory Hound Events offers consulting services for events outside of Western North Carolina looking to take theirs to the next level.