In 2023, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of a great event, Whispering Pines will become a trail festival, two days, 4 separate events, something for everyone of all ages, all abilities, all speeds, walkers and runners.
Day One - Saturday, Feb. 18th - 12 Hour Run/Walk starts at 8 AM until 8 PM. The course will follow a 5 mile trail loop beginning and ending at the Pavilion by Parking Lot B and the playground. There is parking and restrooms near the Pavilion and additional parking nearby. From the Pavilion, runners will take a short out-and-back that connects to the start of the loop. Participants will run and/or walk the loop as many times as they want during the 12 hours. The course will be marked with directional arrows at the turns and orange flagging ribbon. There are many trails in the park, so it is important to pay attention to the course markings. At the completion of each loop, participants return to the pavilion. An aid station will be set up at the Start/Finish line with a wide variety of hot and cold food and drinks. Due to COVID Safety Guidelines, volunteers will serve food, fill water bottles, etc. This event is ideal for all ages and all abilities of runners and walkers, as you choose how long or how far you want to go, and you get credit for whatever distance you complete. Runners can take a break at any time, leave the course, return and run some more, just let the race timer know what you are doing.
15 Mile Run/Walk will start at 9 AM. Participants will follow the same 5 mile loop completing it 3 times to be considered a finisher. This event will be timed, however, you will still have until 8 PM to complete the 3 loops.
Day Two - Sunday, Feb. 19th - 8 Hour Run/Walk starting at 9 AM until 5 PM. Course will be a 10K loop, the same 5 mile loop from the previous day with a 1.2 mile loop added in, just to make it a little more interesting. The same course markings will be in place, aid station at the pavilion and participants can complete as many loops as they choose, getting credit for the miles completed.
!0K Run/Walk will start at 10 AM and participants will complete the 10K loop one time. This event will be timed.
Check-in will start one hour prior to the start of the event you are registered for.
Make Whispering Pines an event for the whole weekend, participate one day, volunteer the other day. For those wanting more of a challenge, you are welcome to register for an event both days. The biggest challenge would be to do the 12 hour and the 8 hour and stay out on the course the entire time both days. Who is going to take on that challenge? I think doing that would warrant a special award. Awards TBD. There is no entry fee, but donations are appreciated to cover expenses of food, user fees, finisher's awards, etc. Any monies left after expenses are met will be donated to the park.
The course both days is entirely on both single-track and double-track trails with the exception of 2 paved roads within the park that are crossed each loop. The trails wind through the woods, are shaded, packed sand or pine-needle covered, some gentle ups-and-downs, nothing technical. The atmosphere of the event is very social, laid-back and fun.
Whether you have been to Whispering Pines once, or every year, or never before, be there this year and help celebrate 10 successful years.
Directions to start: Follow Highway 44 West/ West Main Street, through Inverness. At the intersection of Highway 44 and Forest Drive/Pleasant Grove Road/ CR 581, turn right on Forest Drive and drive about 1/4 mile to park entrance. At the stop sign, turn left and follow the road to the sign for Parking Lot B.
+ The race will be limited to 150 participants each day. Volunteers will wear face coverings and gloves while handling food and drinks. There are two water sources available on each loop, one in the group campground and a water fountain near the 2nd road crossing, however, all participants should plan to carry fluids with them - via handheld bottle, hydration belt, or vest.
I am happy to announce that HAMMER NUTRITION will be our official sponsor in 2023. Check out their website: www.hammernutrition.com. Hammer offers a wide range of excellent, top quality products to support all of your nutritional needs. For your fueling needs, we will be serving HEED at the aid station throughout the event.
Inverness has few motels. There is the Central Motel about 3 miles from the start. There is also a Holiday Inn Express 4 miles from the start on Highway 44 West. Camping is available at Holder Mine Campground in the Withlacoochee State Forest, about 4 miles from the start and Mutual Mine Campground about 6.5 miles. There are several motels at the I-75/Hwy 44 junction, Wildwood, about 16 miles from the start. No one is allowed to stay in Whispering Pines Park overnight.
Local time: 12:34 PM