Pete’s Pick: June 8 is Proof This is an Outdoor Rec Epicenter

We aren’t saying the Roanoke Region is the epicenter of outdoor recreation… but we also aren’t saying that it isn’t (have we confused you already?). Every once in a while, I’ll take a look at the events calendar, and a day pops out as THE day when everything seems to be happening. Thus far, June 8 is that day.

When thinking of what Pete’s Pick should be, I just couldn’t decide on one thing, so I’m not! I’m going to shine a light on a few things that I think are awesome and want as many people as possible to head to. Heck, you might even be able to hit up more than one (if you’re crafty).

June 8 Happenings

The Big Run participants run along the Tinker Creek Greenway in Roanoke, VA.

The Big Run with Fleet Feet: This event is held on Global Running Day and is meant to inspire the runner in everyone. Not only is it a celebration of moving your body and achieving goals, but it’s also a fundraiser for Smiles4Tab, a local 501(c)3 non-profit. And new this year, The Big Run with Fleet Feet is also the official 5K for the Virginia Commonwealth Games! Fleet Feet supports Roanoke Outside year-round through sponsorships and partnerships, and we would be thrilled if you all supported them.

Queer Adventure Club: New River Trail Ride & Dine: Roanoke Parks and Recreation, along with the Roanoke Diversity Center, have planned a 15-mile bike ride along the gorgeous New River Trail followed by lunch at Draper Mercantile. Trip includes transportation, lunch, and instruction. It should go without saying, but the outdoors are for everyone; these types of programs encourage inclusivity and provide a welcoming environment.

20K for the Greenway: I love how this event is open to all ages and abilities AND benefits our greenway system. It’s a family-friendly, non-competitive bike ride on the Roanoke River Greenway meant to encourage folks to celebrate, explore, and enjoy one of our greatest assets. Entry includes aid stations, mechanic support, and a free drink at Cardinal Bikes after your ride.

Jackson River Scenic Trail Marathon: From a full marathon down to a 5K, this race has an option for just about every runner’s ability. This is a Boston Marathon qualifying race, and the course is on a smooth, crushed gravel surface. It’s mostly shaded (bonus!), and a chance to see some beautiful scenery while crushing some goals.

BOCO Wild: Botetourt County Parks and Recreation has partnered with the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources to present this celebration and expo of outdoor recreation in the greater Botetourt area. This one-day festival includes fishing instruction, wildlife education, hunting safety, hiking, river activities, and boating education.

Jackson River Scenic Run participants race along crushed gravel trail.

While the amount of awesome things happening could be considered overwhelming for some, I find it inspiring and a confirmation that the work we’re doing is important. The region has embraced our outdoor identity and woven it into the fabric of placemaking events. And these events create more ambassadors to help tell the narrative of the welcoming, inclusive, and adventurous community we are. So you know what? No more flip-flopping:  I actually AM saying that we’re the epicenter of outdoor recreation, and that’s thanks to all of you for helping to build something so special that we have no idea what we’re going to do this weekend.