Explore Helen's Mountain Country With Helenback Race Series

Wednesday, April 19, 2017
Georgia-based trail running event company Helenback Race Series LLC is hosting its first trail running event on April 29, in charming Helen, Georgia. The event features challenging 5K, half marathon and marathon trail races--all of which will route runners through Unicoi State Park's breathtaking terrain.

Runners will wind past waterfalls, push to spectacular outlooks and traverse verdant woods before reaching the finish line at a private property adjacent to Unicoi State Park. At the finish, participants will receive a pint of Helenboch craft beer brewed specifically for the event by Max Lager's, bagged lunches provided by Betty's Country Store, a race T-shirt and a commemorative pint glass. Top runners will also have a chance to win running gear from Altra. 

Helenback Race Series LLC was founded in late 2016 by Atlanta-based friends and runners Thad Gilliam, Jason Jordan and Dan Wilkins. The April 29 race will mark the company's first event and is one they anticipate will become a region-wide favorite for years to come. 

"So many people already love Helen for its unique downtown," says Jordan. "With our first--and sequential racing events--we hope to elevate the city's status as a must-visit outdoor destination." White County was named Georgia's Official Outdoor Adventure Destination by the state legislature in 2016. 
Helen's draw runs deep for Wilkins, whose mother serves as the town's mayor and whose grandfather was one of the initiators of the town's whimsical Bavarian theme. "I truly feel blessed to have grown up in this special place," says Wilkins. "As a kid, the surrounding mountains, Unicoi trails and streams that feed the Chattahoochee River were my playground. Now, I get to share this piece of heaven with others through our race events." 

Gilliam, meanwhile, who is a competitive ultra-marathoner, sees this first race as a perfect entry race for people who are new to trail running. "You're getting lots of single track trail, a stream crossing, views of Unicoi Lake, and some very tough climbs; it's a tough race but very attainable. For me, trail running brings a joy and satisfaction to running that just can't be matched on the paved roads." 

Jon Roberts from Max Lager's Wood-Fired Grill & Brewery (Georgia's oldest brew pub) is resurrecting Helenboch beer (Georgia's first craft beer) in a small batch specifically for the event. All runners will receive a cold pint of this unique brew which was originally crafted by the Helen-based Friends Brewing Company in 1989. 

To register for the marathon, half marathon and 5K, visit HelenbackRaceSeries.com. Race entries will be accepted until April 26 and are priced at $32 for the 5K, $65 for the half marathon and $90 for the marathon (discounted pricing was available prior to January 31).

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