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Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon, Presented by The Smoky Mountain News

April 3 @ 8:00 am - 12:00 pm


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Gateway To The Smokies Half Marathon Logo

Thank you to everyone who came out to run, watch and volunteer.  After a chilly start, it turned out to be a glorious day to run and celebrate the life of Riley Howell.  You can find Photos in Additional Information below and overall and age group results in the Results section.


April 3
8:00 am - 12:00 pm
Event Category:



Downtown Waynesville
285 N Main St
Waynesville, NC 28786 United States
+ Google Map

Race Information

Entry Fees

February 1-March 14 – $60
March 15 – Race Day – $70

Packet Pickup/Late Registration

(Updated 3/34/21)

Friday, April 2 – 4:00-6:00 PM – Wells Event Center (33 Wells Events Way, Waynesville) – This will be in-person with socially distant COVID-19 mitigations in place with face coverings required.

Saturday, April 3 – 6:30-7:45 AM – Wells Event Center – This will be in-person with socially distant COVID-19 mitigations in place with face coverings required.


The races will begin on Main Street at the alley next to The Mountaineer.  Racer will assemble at the Wells Event Center.

From there, the course will remain the same from the 2017 route and include parts of Waynesville, Hazelwood and the Plott Creek area of Haywood County.

To minimize personal contact, we will only have refill stations on the course this year.  Please plan on being self sufficient and bring your own fluids, refilling with water or Gatorade at our stations as needed.

Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon/Elevation Chart

Time Limit
All half marathon runners have 3:30 hours to complete the course in order to be provided full police protection and aid station support. Those still on the course at this time will be asked to stay to sidewalks and follow traffic rules. Race officials will stay with all runners on the course to make sure they arrive to the finish line safely.

Additional Info.

Photos – Courtesy of Paul King

Batch A

Batch B

2020 Deferrals

Everyone who registered for the 2020 event, plus anyone who cancelled, was deferred to the 2021 race.  There is no need for further action.

Start Procedure (Updated 3/24/21)

In order to comply with current North Carolina guidelines, groups of 40 or fewer runners will start every 10 minutes between 7:30 and 8:00 AM.  Members of each start group may start anytime they are ready five minutes before through two minutes after their assigned start time.

For those who are registered from the 2020 race, start times will be assigned based on the date of registration.  The earlier the registration date, the earlier the start time.    Official start times will be posted and emailed on Sunday, March 28.

Start groups will gather in the area between the Wells Event Center.  We ask you not to arrive to the start area earlier than 30 minutes before your assigned start time.


All runners registered by March 23 are guaranteed to receive a short-sleeve race shirt.  Any registrations after this date will be based on availability.

All runners 21 years and older may receive a free pint of beer at Frog Level Brewing Company (54 Commerce Street, Waynesville) on Saturday (race day) between the hours of 12-10 PM.  In addition, Frog Level Brewing Company is also donating $1 to the Riley Howell Foundation Fund for every pint sold of their sister brands 7 Clans Brewing Hop Rooted IPA (a west-coast style IPA that was one of Riley’s favorite styles) during the week of March 29-April 4.


In order to provide a racing opportunity for as many people as possible, spectators or guests will not be permitted at this time.

COVID Mitigation

  • All participants. volunteers and staff will be instructed to stay home if they are exhibiting any systems or have been in close contact with anyone who has tested positive within the CDC guidelines
  • Face coverings required from time they leave their vehicle to the time they start the race.  During the race it must be on anytime they are within 10’ of a person not living in their household.  After the race, it is put back on the finish line to the time they return to their vehicles
  • No spectators at Start and Finish Area
  • Face coverings required of all volunteers and staff
  • Face coverings required at Packet Pickup and observe 6′ social distance while in line
  • Hand sanitizers at Saturday Packet Pickup and in all portajohns
  • Hand washing station near portajohns
Post Race

Upon finishing, runners will be provided a bottle of water and snacks then directed back to their cars.


All finishers will receive a commemorative award at the finish line.

Special awards will be presented to the top three male and female finishers for  Overall finishers and First place Masters (40 & Over) in each race.  In addition, our friends at Jus’ Running will be providing gift cards for the top 3 overall male and female ($75-1st, $50-2nd, $40-3rd) and top masters male and female ($40).

Age group awards will go to the first, second, and third male and female in the following age groups: 15 & Under, 16-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60 & Over. No double-dipping!

There will not be an awards ceremony this year. 

We will be distributing awards on Saturday, April 3 at Frog Level Brewing (56 Commerce Street, Waynesville), 1-5 PM.  This is a great time to get your award and claim your free pint of beer.  We will make other arrangements for those award winners who cannot attend.


The race will utilize chip timing. A timing chip will be on the back of your race bib, which should be worn on your front and visible at all times during the race.

Your time will start when you cross the start pad and end when you cross the finish line.


We love dogs but due to the current circumstances, they will not be allowed at this year’s event.


All racers and spectators are encourage to park in the Haywood County Courthouse parking deck on Branner Avenue.

Cancellations & Transfers

Any pre-registered runner who is not comfortable with running in the current environment or under our new format has the option to opt out of the 2021 event by February 1, 2021 and receive a deferral into the 2022 event.  After February 1, our normal Cancellation/Transfer policy will apply.

Glory Hound Events has a NO REFUND policy. However, we do offer partial discounts for those canceling during our cancellation periods.

If the event is NOT sold out, a discount code for 50% of your race registration fee will be offered until 7 days prior to the race date. No discounts codes will be given within 7 days before the event, if the event is not sold out.

If the event IS sold out, a discount code for 100% of your race registration fee will be offered until 7 days prior to the race date. No discounts codes will be given within 7 days before the event, if the event is sold out.

Partial discount codes are only available for cancellations of completed registrations. A registration is considered incomplete if payment was mailed in and has not yet been received. Discount codes can be used to register for the 2022 event.

This policy only applies to the Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon.  Discount codes from the previous year may not be used for any other events owned or managed by Glory Hound Events or its partnerships.

To cancel or update your registration, go to www.IMAthlete.com, log in, My Races, select this event and make your changes.

Transfers of entries between participants will be accepted through March 26 by completing and submitting this Transfer Form. This is the only way transfers or the selling of bibs between participants will be allowed. Anyone who is discovered to have purchased or accepted another person’s bib without submitting this form will be disqualified and banned from future races.


Would you still like to be part of this great event but don’t want to run? Volunteering is the perfect way to do that. We have spots available as course marshals and at the course aid stations. Please email greg@gloryhoundevents.com if you are interested in volunteering.

Please email general race questions to greg@gloryhoundevents.com