Thursday, September 18, 2014

Endurance races to boost Leicester's Hope for Horses - Full Article

Mark Bennett, Citizen-Times correspondent
3:13 p.m. EDT September 17, 2014

With weekend after weekend of 5Ks, 8Ks and 10Ks, the distances covered by runners in Hope for Horses' second annual Endurance Race & Ultra Marathon this Saturday may look like typos: There's a 50K (about 31 miles) and an 80K (nearly 50).

For much of that distance along trails at the Biltmore Estate, two-legged runners will not be alone. Four-legged competitors will be sharing the route — or six-legged, if you add in the horses' riders, who will be taking on 30- and 50-mile courses.

The Biltmore trails are wider than a single-track course, said run manager Peter Ripmaster, proprietor of Black Mountain Running Co., so "there's plenty of space for runners and horseback riders to coexist on the trail.

"Last year I ran the race and didn't have anything close to an issue with the horses. They stay to one side of the path and you hear them coming," Ripmaster said. "Riders always slow the horses down as they come close to the runners and gently go by you." Words of encouragement are customarily exchanged in passing, he said...

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