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Run for a thrill through hills at Fort Yargo
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Thrill in the Hills

When: Race packet pickup from 7 a.m. to  8 a.m. Race begins promptly at 8:30 a.m., Saturday, Feb. 26.


Where: Fort Yargo State Park, 210 South Broad Street, Winder. 770-867-3489.

Cost: Half-marathon: $40, race day: $45; Marathon: $50, race day: $55; parking fee $5.

More information:





Lace up your running shoes and join Dirty Spokes Productions for their fifth annual half-marathon and marathon trail race.

Thrill in the Hills will be a single- and double-track off-road running race that will lead participants through the wooded hills of Fort Yargo State Park.

"Dirty Spokes has raced with us for years," said Eric Bentley, park manager of Fort Yargo. "We've had three or four events each year and he does a real good job with it."

Tim Schroer, a school teacher in Gwinnett County, and his wife founded Dirty Spokes Productions in 2005. The company puts together events "designed for mountain bikers and trail runners to have fun, be competitive and provide an endless supply of great memories."

"It's just a mom and pop operation," Schroer said. "My wife and I put on over 27 events throughout the year. We go from Alabama and Georgia, to North Carolina."

Saturday's race features a half-marathon (13.1 miles) and marathon (26.2 miles) that follows a course through Yargo's rolling hills, with a few technical sections that will provide a challenge for runners.

Fort Yargo, located in Winder, is known for its 18 miles of biking and hiking trails, 260-acre lake with swimming beach, fishing and boat ramps and camping.

The park's system of trails is maintained by the Yargo Area Bike Association who set up the course for the event. Dirty Spokes will be donating a percentage of race proceeds to the association.

"The GPS data is on our website," Schroer said. "This is one of our favorite courses and we think it's one of the participant's favorite courses as well."

"It's the beginning of race season for us and we've got a lot of mountain bike and adventure races coming up," Bentley said. "We're pretty excited about having this event here."

Age categories for Saturday's event range from 14 years old to 70 and older. Medals and prizes will be given for the overall top three male and female winners of each race. The top three in each age group will receive awards as well. Everyone who completes their race will receive a commemorative finisher's medal.

Both the half-marathon and marathon participation will count toward runner's Xterra Georgia series points. Runners will receive Dri-fit T-shirts at the event but there's no guarantee of a shirt with late or race day registration.

Dirty Spokes also plans to offer sustenance.

"We're going to have some Firehouse Subs that we're buying and we're giving them to the racers," Schroer said. " And, we're going to have pizza from Cooley's Pizza out of Grayson. We'll have bananas, oranges and post-race recovery drinks for the runners."

Participation has been capped at 500 entrants and space is limited. However, Schroer said, "If someone shows up on race day we're not going to say ‘we can't take your registration' because we might have someone who drives from Marietta or Alabama. We're not going to deny that person being a part of what we've got going on."

Even if you're not interested in running the race, take advantage of the early spring weather, "Come out and be a part of race day," Schroer said.

Dirty Spokes follows a ‘get outdoors' credo, "The course is beautiful and offers something for every runner truly wishing to ditch the city."