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Take the Lake honors health professionals Labor Day Weekend

The theme of this year’s Take the Lake events on September 2, 3 and 4 is “Honoring Health Professionals,” and organizer Julie Stocks said that members of the medical community are enthusiastically leading the way in registration.

Participation is free of charge again this year for any or all of the personal endurance challenges and family events. A special invitation is extended, however, to individuals and groups who promote health and fitness.

Said Stocks, “We’re really excited that Columbus Regional Healthcare, which is one of our major donors, is going to have a huge team this year. They’re encouraging their staff to get on board. I think they have over 50 people signed up.”

When and where

Each Labor Day the non-competitive events challenge amateurs to walk, run, paddle or bike around Lake Waccamaw or to swim across it.

Activities will begin with a spaghetti supper Friday, Sept. 1, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Lake Waccamaw United Methodist Church. Plates will be available for a donation, eat-in or take-out. Southeastern Oratorio Society will provide music chosen to complement the weekend’s activities. Funds raised will support the church’s outreach activities in the community, including its food bank.

Saturday, Sept. 2, at 8 a.m. will be the official start of the 16-mile Walk/Run, beginning at Elizabeth Brinkley Park. A 6.5-mile fun family walk will begin 30 minutes later.

Sunday, Sept. 3 will bring the 8 a.m. 14-mile paddle event, starting out next to Dale’s Seafood, and the 2 p.m. 16-mile bike ride, starting at Elizabeth Brinkley Park.

A 6.5-mile fun family ride will start at 2:30 p.m. All bike riders must have helmets for either event. The four-mile swim across the lake will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 4, beginning either at Dale’s or at the dam, depending on wind direction.

Benefits of early registration

Participants who register online by Friday, August 25 (tomorrow) can pick up their number bibs next week and skip the lines on the day of their event. Those planning to participate in more than one challenge only need to register once and should keep their number bib until they finish their last challenge.

Saturday Walk/Run participants who have their bibs already may arrive and begin their trek around the lake any time from 7:15 a.m. on.

Early registrants are assured of having their information entered into the computer to provide accurate finishing times, but walk-up registrants may not be able to get their times later due to the delay of inputting a large number of names on the day of an event.

Options for a bigger or smaller challenge

Two options for more hardcore athletes are the Grandslam and Take the Lake X-treme Challenge. There will be special recognition for those who achieve a “Grandslam” by completing all four events over three days, but it is still not a race.

The competitive X-treme Challenge consists of completing all four events on Monday, Sept. 4, beginning with the swim at 6:30 a.m. X-tremists must assemble at the dam or at Dale’s by 6:15 a.m. After the swim, they will undertake the bike ride, paddle and finally run/walk.

Whether aiming for a major challenge or a minor one, Stocks hopes that prospective participants will train every day and check the website for additional information.

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