Running community stays strong through coronavirus pandemic

Running community stays strong through coronavirus pandemic

Only a week before the event was scheduled to take place, the Asheville Marathon and Half at Biltmore Estate was cancelled due to concerns of spreading the COVID-19 coronavirus and the official proclamation by the City of Asheville, Buncombe County and the State of North Carolina prohibiting any organized group of 100+ persons to assemble. The event was set for March 21 and 22, 2020, and we ran a virtual run in its place.

To say we were disappointed we had to cancel is an understatement. We had almost 2,500 runners signed up; it’s our largest and most expensive event of the year, and a major revenue generator for our business. With runners coming from nearly all 50 states, we knew our participants had made many personal sacrifices and trained on average 4-6 months for these endurance events. This was a one-of-a-kind, bucket list weekend experience for so many of them, and we knew they were deeply disappointed that we had to cancel a little over a week before the event.

At first, we were skeptical about having a virtual run in its place - especially with all of the negative feedback we were getting regarding the sudden and unexpected cancellation.

Then, something amazing happened: 415 runners joined our Asheville Marathon and Half Virtual Run. They ran their full marathons, half marathons and challenge distances all on their own or with friends and family, and photos from all over the U.S. were being posted in Strava. We received photos from an almost empty New York City. Snowy trails from Arkansas. Chalk-colored sidewalks from children who cheered on their mom’s and dad’s. Home-made medals.

These runners had been training hard every week for the past several months to run this event in Asheville; they weren’t going to let a virus stop them from achieving their goals.

Tina Addison from Virginia wrote: “Never done a Half one day and then a Full…Definitely a challenge, but that’s what makes you stronger.. Anne made me my medals. Priceless.” 


Bruce Nelson from Arkansas wrote: “It sure was a beautiful spring day here in Eagle River, AK for a virtual 1/2 marathon. The trails at Biltmore may have been more inviting but what the heck, adaptability is the key. Thanks to everyone who joined in and we’ll see you on the trails of Asheville when the dust settles.” 


This year’s Asheville Marathon and Half was also a fundraiser for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, so for many of our participants this virtual run was a major step in their journey to help find a cure for cancer.

Shirley Mei from New York City, who was running to raise money for cancer through Team in Training, posted: “Not the Backyard To Vineyard Challenge I wanted but I had fun exploring all the New York tourist spots I usually avoid now that the tourists are all gone. After my coach’s warning about weakened immune system after running super long distances and thus would put myself at higher risk for Coronavirus, I made the tough decision it’s wiser I ran the half last weekend and full this weekend instead running both within same weekend. Anyway, most important is I signed up for this race with Team In Training and fundraised for a cure to cancer. The miles are meaningful but the funds raised mean even more. Go Team.”


Finn Rigsbee, a Patton High School senior in Morganton, NC, was all set to join the Asheville Marathon and Half when it was cancelled. Instead of giving up on his goal, however, he ran his 26.2 mile race all on his own — his girlfriend riding her bike behind him the whole way, offering encouragement and support.  Click here for the article. 

Race Director Daphne Kirkwood, who was diagnosed with lymphoma nearly two years ago, was so inspired by all of the posts, she ran a half marathon on her own - her first one since her cancer diagnosis. She captured most of the run on her iPhone, sharing encouraging words along the way.

“I ran in solidarity today with all the virtual runners participating in the Asheville Marathon,” said Daphne. “Despite the race being cancelled due to COVID19, the energy, love and spirit of the runners is alive and strong! I felt it and 2 miles into my morning run I knew that running a half marathon today, with all of these runners was what I wanted to do.I have been consistent with my running routine since I was diagnosed with lymphoma almost two years ago. But I haven’t run over 9 miles since then. What your mind believes, it can achieve.”

The coronavirus has forced us to come up with creative and out-the-box options for runners, and it has been heartening for our iDaph team to see how people adapt and make the best of these trying times.

“Today I celebrate with all of you, we are all together in this,” Daphne said. “Running will help us through this tough time we are all in. Keep running. Keep hope. Keep believing. Keep loving.”

 About Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estate

The Asheville Marathon began 8 years ago with only a marathon option, which sold out quickly in its first year, and again the next year. A nationwide interest in half marathons was becoming popular, so for the 3rd year a half marathon option was added. In the 4th year, the event expanded to two days of races and a half marathon on each day. To add a twist in the 5th year the Backyard to Vineyard Challenge was created, where participants race in the Saturday half and Sunday full. The challenge was very popular and for the 6th anniversary, Backyard to Backyard Challenge was added, where participants run both the Saturday half and the Sunday half.

The Asheville Marathon & Half at Biltmore Estate is held on and run entirely on the grounds of the Biltmore Estate, where runners will wind through paved and packed dirt roads to see hardwood forest, meadows, gardens, and extraordinary views of the Biltmore House and Estate. This is the original Asheville Marathon and first race of its kind to come to Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. You can follow our posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Past iDaph Blogs

Tips for road running during coronavirus

Tips for road running during coronavirus

by Stephanie Buss  When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on...

The Frostbite Race Results are in!

The Frostbite Race Results are in!

Thank you to all the participants that came out to the 28th Annual Frostbite 5K, 10K and 1 Mile Fun Run! We had over 500 people registered for the race today, which means we surpassed our number from last year! 

Congratulations to our Overall Male and Female winners along with all the finishers today!

A huge thank you to Couch Mountain Community for being our presenting sponsor this year! Those towels they gave out at the finish line were AWESOME!

Thank you Lelia Patterson Center for once again providing the space for the event, and your continued support over the years. 

We would also like to give a huge thanks to Hunter Subaru for their continued support. We hope everyone got to check out their Subarus at the event! Thank you Ingles Markets for providing yummy snacks and beverages, and we KNOW you all enjoyed the warm up by our friends at the Training Post and Fitness

We also would like to thank PT Solutions, Willow Creek Dental,  Go Mini, Academy Press, Fletcher Academy, Flat Rock Bakery, Fleet Feet Asheville, Athleta, LAMAR, Yoga and Massage, and Muirhead Freeman for helping to make this Frostbite 2020 such a success. 

Race photos will be out soon! Thank you John Neff! 

Last one of the 2020 Session: Fun and Games 

Last one of the 2020 Session: Fun and Games 

by Coach Susan

Swim Workout Thursday, February 13 , 2020 


Last one of the 2020 Session: Fun and Games 

Warm Up: 

Group 1: 100 Freestyle 

50 Kick 100 Pull 100 Choice 

Group 2: 150 Freestyle 

100 Kick 100 Pull 100 Choice 

Group 3: 150 Freestyle 

100 Kick 150 Pull 100 Choice 

Game of Catch 20 x 25 

  • Reverse the order in your lane so that slowest person is first and fastest person is last. 
  • Dive in 5 seconds apart (at some point I might start telling you guys when to go) 
  • Goal is to tag person in front of you 
  • Can not tag back person who caught you until next 25 
  • Get out of pool on far end and walk around to deep end to dive in for next 25 
  • When tags occur the tagger goes in front of the tagged on the next 25 

Follow the Leader min 4 cycles of 50s i.e. each person is leader 4 times 

  • Start with 2 person swim - with a partner one pulls and the other holds first person’s ankles and kicks, at wall switch places for 2nd 25 
  • After that the first person decides what to do for a 50 and everyone follows the leader. 
  • Leader goes to back of line and the next person leads 
  • try not to repeat what you do - here are some ideas: 
  • any of the strokes or combination of the strokes 
  • kicking on side 
  • kicking on back 
  • somersaults in middle of each length of the pool 
  • sculling head or feet first 
  • 1 arm strokes (R arm down, L arm back) 
  • dog paddle 
  • sidestroke 
  • Breast pull with dolphin kick 
  • swim underwater 
  • corkscrew 
  • drills: fist swim, rotisserie, catch up, triple switch, shark, puppet or whatever you can think of! 

2020 New Year’s Resolution Run Event Information

2020 New Year’s Resolution Run Event Information

Welcome New Year’s Resolution Runners! We can’t wait to see you kick off 2020 with us! Here’s what you need to know for the event. 

PLEASE NOTE: At 1 ½ miles the course splits and the 5k turns left onto Evelyn Place at the first water station and the 10 mile runners will get on the side walk and run straight on Kimberly Avenue.

Pre Packet Pick-up will be Tuesday, December 31st, 2020, 2-4 pm, at our presenting sponsor’s office, BAIRD Hilliard-Lyons Baird (79 Woodfin Place #103, Asheville NC) on New Year’s Eve. Be sure to thank them and our other major sponsor, AlignLife East Asheville, for helping to make this event possible! 


Pre-Packet Pick Up:

When: Tuesday, December 31st, 2020 2-4 pm
Where:  Hilliard-Lyons Baird, 79 Woodfin Pl #103, Asheville, NC

The first 250 participants to pick up their bib at Packet Pickup on New Year’s Eve AT BAIRD, will get one of these 2020 Spirited Headbands!

Race Day Packet Pick-Up

When: Wednesday, January 1st, 2020 (Race Day) 8:00-9:30am

Where: Pack Square Park (Race Hub) at 121 College St, Asheville, NC 28801

You may purchase Short & Long Sleeve T-shirts for $10 at the registration/check in tables while supplies last!
 Please note, if you plan to switch races, the deadline to make this switch is ​Thursday, December 26th at midnight! ​​

‘Tis the season of giving!

‘Tis the season of giving! What better way than to bring a pair of new or gently used tennis shoes to the race to donate to Western Carolina Rescue Ministries. WCRM, is hosting a shoe drive during packet pick-up and on race day. All attendees are encouraged to bring tennis shoes to donate in support of WCRM’s annual Foot Care Clinic.



8 to 9:30 am – Packet pick up and registration will be at Pack Square Park (Race Hub)

9:00 am – Food available (burritos) from Baad Sheep Burritos, and there will be snacks! 

10:00 am – Race starts at the intersection of Spruce Street & College Street (beside Pack Square)

11:30 am – (approximately) 5k Awards Ceremonies held near finish area on stage in Pack Square Park

12:00 pm – (approximately) 10 Mile Awards Ceremonies held near finish area on stage in Pack Square Park

12:30 pm – Course cutoff - participants may continue but will be unassisted. 



Race starts at the intersection of Spruce Street & College Street (beside Pack Square)




Follow I-40 E and I-240 E to US-74 ALT E/Patton Ave in Asheville. Take exit 4B from I-240 E.


Follow I-26 E/US-19 S/US-23 S toward Asheville, Take the Patton Avenue exit on the left toward Downtown and continue onto US-74 ALT E/Patton Ave.


Follow I-40 W. Take I-240 W to US-70 E/Charlotte St in Asheville. Take exit 5B from I-240 W, Continue on US-70 E/Charlotte St. Take College St to N Pack Square.


Follow I-26 W to US-74 ALT E/Patton Ave in Asheville. Take exit 4B from I-240 E, Continue onto US-74 ALT E/Patton Ave.


Street parking is available in Downtown Asheville and parking garages will be open. 



iDaph Events Timing Services offers live results during the event, and we will have preliminary results posted online shortly after you cross the finish line. The Resolution Run is a Chip Timed event. 

VERY IMPORTANT: Make sure your bib is VISIBLE on the front of your clothing. If it is tucked underneath jackets/clothes it will not read over the timing mat. 


Results can be found on our homepage. Results will be live and updated throughout the race. 

Water Stations:

Please see map below for more details.

Water Station #1: Both 5k and 10 mile participants will pass this water station located at the corner of Evelyn & Edwin Place approximately located at mile 1.5. 10 Mile participants will pass this water station again at approximately mile 8.5.

Water Station #2: 10 Mile participants will pass this water station after crossing Merrimon Avenue and entering the dirt bath around Beaver Lake, located approximately at mile 5. 


Port-a-Jons will be located at Pack Square Park near the Start & Finish Line. Additional restrooms are located in the visitors center next to the Start Line. 


Celebrate with us!

Join us for awards, food and hot beverages after you cross the finish line!

Awards Ceremony

11:30 am (approximately)

5k Awards Ceremonies held near finish area in Pack Square Park


12:00 pm (approximately)

10 Mile Awards Ceremonies held near finish area on stage in Pack Square Park


12:30 pm

Course cutoff - participants may continue but will be unassisted.

Bring cash or card and enjoy some delicious post-event treats!

Baa’d Sheep Burritos will be at the 2020 New Year’s Resolution Run to serve up their delicious breakfast and lunch burritos! Stop by for a hot beverage or yummy meal and/or snack and add even MORE greatness to your New Year’s Day!  Baa’d Sheep Burritos is an independent, family owned burrito restaurant in Mars Hill, NC serving the freshest ingredients in their creative recipes.

Bare Bones Brew Haus will be serving up their European style coffee and other hot beverages. Be sure to stop by for some of the best locally roasted coffees — European cart style!

Give your body some love and enjoy a massage by YAM Yoga and Massage after the race! Everyone is welcome to participate. Please bring cash - these massages are donation based! 

Past iDaph Blogs

Tips for road running during coronavirus

Tips for road running during coronavirus

by Stephanie Buss  When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on...

Winter Triathlon Training Tips

Winter Triathlon Training Tips

by Sarah Alexander

Photo credit: Wright Creative, Inc. 

As a professional triathlete, I have been able to “chase summer” in order to continue training outside year-round. Luckily, it’s possible to integrate indoor and outdoor training in Asheville throughout the winter!

Regardless, the focus of training certainly shifts a bit in the “off-season” as compared to racing season. Here are three pro tips to take your winter multisport training to the next level:

1. Get Strong! The winter training season is a great time to focus on foundational strength, which tends to take lower priority during the racing season. When the weather outside is frightful, the gym can be so delightful! There are a lot of posts about the benefits of strength training for endurance sport — both from an injury prevention and performance enhancement standpoint — that you can link to. Here are a couple “triathlon strength routine” posts:

Team USA

Mark Allen’s 12 Best Strength Exercises

2. Work your Weakness — Did you grow up swimming but have always struggled through the run? Or, like many, perhaps the two land disciplines are where you shine …. as long as you can actually make it out of the water! One of the big challenges with triathlon, especially during the racing season, is training all three disciplines (swim, bike and run). Winter is a great time to put in a dedicated block of training to develop a weakness and take your performance to the next level next season.

3. Keep it Diverse — The off-season is a great time to mix it up. While it’s great to set goals for next season and seize the off-season to start working towards those, don’t make the mistake of digging yourself into a physical or mental hole before racing even begins! Cross-country skiing, mountain biking, hiking, and even cardio exercise programs at your local gym are great ways to get a workout in without overdoing the classic swim, bike, run.

About Sarah
Sarah Alexander is a professional triathlete who participated in the 2019 Asheville Triathlon and was the overall winner! Since the Asheville Triathlon, Sarah won the Lake Logan International Triathlon on the women’s side (6th overall including men) and has continued to progress on the international stage, with a 7th place finish at IM 70.3 Santa Rosa and, most recently, 5th place at IM 70.3 Traverse City. She has been working hard in the hills and lakes of Asheville and hopes to continue her consistent progression in her final races of the season: IM 70.3 Cozumel (9/29), IM 70.3 Coquimbo (10/19), and IM 70.3 Los Cabos (11/3).

You can follow Sarah’s races on the IRONMAN results tracker, and she will continue to share her journey via social media (Instagram, Facebook).

Past iDaph Blogs

Tips for road running during coronavirus

Tips for road running during coronavirus

by Stephanie Buss  When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on...

How to take the stress out of event production

How to take the stress out of event production

How to Take the Stress out of Event Production

by Daphne Kirkwood

Race Director Daphne Kirkwood has over nine years of experience in event production, and is the owner of iDaph Events & Timing. Daphne has successfully implemented many different tactics for designing, planning and organizing events so that on race day, the event runs smoothly and as stress-free as possible.

iDaph’s new educational series, iDaph iNsight, is designed to help you enhance and grow your existing events. If you’re looking to learn more about event planning and growth strategies, please read our blog and subscribe to our iDaph Events YouTube channel. 

Let’s face it: Putting on a race can be STRESSFUL. A lot of people assume that putting on a fundraising event or race is an easy way to make money for your cause. The reality is, it can be a lot more work than most people realize. As most of you know already from your event planning experiences, stress from planning and producing an event can knock you off your feet.

To help you stay calm, cool and collected, here are six ways to take some of the stress out of  event production.

Tip #1: Attend a similar event as a participant or be a volunteer

When I was first starting out in the endurance event planning business, I attended as many events as possible as a participant and also as a volunteer. To get the full scope of what an event looks like from start to finish, volunteering or participating will allow you to see the moving parts and to be able to better visualize what the event production actually looks like.

This event day experience will provide you with all kinds of new ideas and will even help you think of things that you haven’t thought of before. It will also help you build your event checklist, which we will talk about in TIP #4.

Want to volunteer at one of our events? CONTACT US! 

Tip #2: Build a dream team

For years, ‘idaph’ was just me.

While this was great when I was starting out, I learned quickly that on event day — you can’t do it all. There are lots of moving parts on event day: Portajons are being dropped off first thing in the morning, signs need to be  put up, participants are arriving, volunteers are checking in, the fire marshal wants to do an inspection and the event HAS TO  start on time! There are too many things happening at one time, and you will be pulled in many different directions.

Delegate! Find some friends that believe in your vision or members of your non-profit that would like to form an event committee with you. Find volunteers that you can count on to help you with every step of the planning process and be there by your side on event day. There are several ‘key’ roles that are important for you to consider when building your team.

Tip #3: Host Regular Plan Meetings

Have you ever had a lengthy string of emails going back and forth about your event with multiple people on your planning team? It used to happen to ME ALL THE TIME. The best way to stop the noise and get on the same page quickly is to schedule a meeting, which are best when they are regularly scheduled and planned around the same time of the month. Typically for most events, planning meetings begin 4-6 months out from an event. Leading up to the event, they will become more frequent.

Tip #4: Get organized

The best way to start getting organized is to begin with a calendar. I find usages for both the online Google calendar as well as a paper calendar. The electronic version is great for real time alerts, and the paper calendar is great for the quick view of what is coming up that day and during the week.

Be sure to block out boundaries on your calendar to make those tasks a priority. Next, create an event week timeline. For a free downloadable example of an event week timeline, visit our iDaph Insights page and enter your contact information into our Pop Up. We will email you a downloadable .pdf of an event timeline that has helped us stay on track.


Another way to get organized is to create checklists. I have been designing and producing events for almost nine years full-time and I still have checklists leading up to an event and throughout the planning process. Checklists ‘have your back’ and help you sleep at night. Having a checklist will allow you to have peace of mind that you have remembered all the tiny details that need to get done for your event to run smoothly!

Tip #5: Free yourself up

There will ALWAYS be issues to deal with on event day. I see lots of organizations that have one or two key people with many different roles, so they assign themselves multiple roles on event day. They are the emcee, the registration and packet pick-up person, the volunteer coordinator….this is one sure way to become a total stress ball during an event.

If you are in the process of your event planning and realize you are in over your head, and that you can’t be everywhere and do everything yourself, consider asking for help.

Tip #6: Ask the event professionals for help

Endurance Event Extraordinaires such as us at iDaph Events can help with at least one piece of the planning, such as your event marketing, timing, finish line, or volunteer coordination. We also know how to plan ahead, create back-up plans, and we can problem solve on the fly. If you’re stressed to the max, we can come in and relieve you off some or all of your duties so you can watch your event grow and become successful without pulling your hair out.

Sign up for our iDaph iNsight Videos

If you have found this blog and video helpful, please share it with your event planning team and let us know how we can continue to support you and your team with your event planning. We appreciate you taking the time to watch our videos and read our blogs, and we wish you all the best with your events!

“About 5 years ago, Daphne pulled us out of a hole we are in. We had another race organization that was helping us with the organization of the event. Six weeks before the event they pulled out. We were struggling, who were we going to find, how were we going to put on this event. I had heard about Daphne and idaph events and reached out to her to see if she could possibly help. Six weeks before the ride she helped us put it together and we had a very successful first time ride and we are still raising funds for students on Outward Bound Courses and still using idaph events to do this event. We couldn’t do it without the idaph team and we appreciate everything that she does.”

Carrie Myers

Director of Development , NC Outward Bound

Past iDaph Blogs

Tips for road running during coronavirus

Tips for road running during coronavirus

by Stephanie Buss  When we tackle obstacles, we find hidden reserves of courage and resilience we did not know we had. And it is only when we are faced with failure do we realise that these resources were always there within us. We only need to find them and move on...