More challenging than in the past, with a great field of teams, this is a highlight of the early season for many schools.
Great Outdoor Provision Co. Presents the Featured Meet of Week 3:
The Jungle Run
Hosted by South View High School, Hope Mills
(Schedule, teams attending, other info)
This week marks the 25th running of the Seahawk Invitational, one of the most important events in the state. The meet draws teams from all over the state, not just east of Raleigh, and it provides some of the best early-season competition to be found anywhere (surprisingly few teams come up from South Carolina, though). The staff and athetes at UNCW also do a great job of organizing the meet, which ran on schedule last year with minimal problems (and that's the absolute best anyone can do at a meet this size). Competition is divided into four races for each gender: Championship (top 7 runners, larger/stronger schools), Varsity (top 7 runners, smaller schools), JV (7 runners, can be your second squad), and Development (unlimited entries). Teams cannot enter both the Championship and Varsity races as in some early-season meets.
(From MileSplit results only)
The Course UPDATED
The big news at last year's adidas Seahawk Invitational was the addition of the hill behind the baseball stadium; when run twice, particularly as late in the race as the second iteration is, it had a serious effect on the the times at the normally flat course. That hill has now been removed from the course, owing to some new fencing that does not include a gate in the spot where it would be needed for runners to go through. As a result, the course is mostly flat and sandy, with low-cut grass providing solid footing. It circles through UNCW's athletic facilities, such that you can actually stand on the top bleachers in the soccer stadium and see nearly the whole race. The only variations in terrain come when the athletes cross a gravel/dirt parking lot, and also a short stretch of concrete near one of the athletic facilites. The start is long and wide, and the 200 meters of nearly-straight finish provide a great place for cheering spectators to spur the runners to faster times.
(From MileSplit results only)
The course is located among the athletic facilities on the southwest side of campus; parking is near the track facility, which is a short walk from the intramural fields where the start and finish are located.
Things to Do Outdoors In Wilmington
If you can't find something to do outdoors in a quintessential beach town, there's probably something wrong. So, here are a few ideas from my own experiences there over the years:
The area has both man-made and natural biking areas, reviewed nicely here.
Carolina Beach: located south of the city following 421, this is a less-populated area (especially after Labor Day) and still very nice. The Carolina Beach Boardwalk is fun for an evening, too.
North Carolina Aquarium: located at the very end of US-421 at Fort Fisher, this is a great place to spend the heat of the day, especially for families with younger kids. More info
There is also a 2.2-mile hiking trail right near the aquarium, at Fort Fisher.
Here is a great guide to the variety of ocean-going activities you can find in the area, from boating to fishing.
If you don't want to go to the beach, but still want watery fun, try Jungle Rapids (the Go-Karts are fun there, too).
If you want to take a day-long adventure, try Bald Head Island: you have to drive to Southport and take the ferry, but it's worth the trip to canoe/kayak the internal saltwater marsh canals.