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  • Diana Matthews

Take The Lake will exercise body, mind and spirit

Lake Waccamaw will be the site of Take The Lake for the 10th year in a row on Labor Day weekend, Sept. 1-3. TTL committee members have chosen “Body, Mind and Spirit” as the theme for this year’s fitness challenge.

“Every year we’ve targeted a different group, such as teachers, law enforcement or Scouts,” said Julie Stocks, chair of the TTL planning committee. “This year we’re accentuating the spiritual side and getting the faith community involved.”

Church youth groups, non-profit organizations and the Columbus County Ministerial Association are on board to promote the outdoor events among their members.

The “Body, Mind and Spirit” theme reflects a “very holistic” approach to life and health, said Stocks. “Those three elements work together. They’re all very important for overall fitness and health.”

When and where

TTL’s 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, Aug. 31, 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 outreach activities in the community.

Saturday, Sept. 1, at 8 a.m. will be the official start of the 16-mile Walk/Run, beginning at Elizabeth Brinkley Park. The 10k/6.5-mile fun family walk will begin 30 minutes later. Sunday, Sept. 2 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.

The 10k/6.5-mile fun family ride will start at 2:30 p.m. All bike riders in either event must have helmets.

The four-mile swim across the lake will begin at 8 a.m. Monday, Sept. 3, beginning either at Dale’s Seafood or at the dam, depending on wind direction.

For serious contenders

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. 3, beginning with the swim at 6:30 a.m. TTL X-Tremists must register online in advance. They will receive instructions to assemble either at the dam or at Dale’s, depending on conditions, by 6:15 a.m. After the swim, they will undertake the bike/hike, the paddle and finally the run/walk. They may have help from a support team and must complete their last event by 10 p.m.


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.

Online registration has begun at for participants and volunteers. Early registrants will be able to pick up their number bibs the week of Aug. 27 at Body Shapers Gym at 618 S. Madison St., Whiteville, skipping the sign-in line at the lake. Walk/Run registrants who arrive with their bibs in hand will have the chance to start 45 minutes before everyone else the morning of the event.

Anyone planning to take part in more than one challenge only needs to register once and should keep the number bib for all weekend events.

The weekend activities will again be free of cost to participants, thanks to major donors Baldwin Woods Pharmacy, Columbus Regional Healthcare System, Liberty HomeCare & Hospice Services and Dale’s Seafood, plus these other sponsors: the McNeill Family, Baldwin Woods Gynecology, ATMC, Carolina Sports, Hills, International Paper, Joe’s Barbecue, Council Tool Company and Southeastern Community College. Equipment sponsors are BB&T, Sam’s Pit Stop, Gore Manufacturing, Columbus County Health Dept., Powell and Powell Law and Southern Veterinary Hospital. Body Shapers Gym, The News Reporter and Collier’s Jewelry provide special services to support TTL.

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