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March is for outdoor lovers

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As winter fades away, March arrives in central Virginia under sunny skies. March is a month for outdoor lovers, many of whom have spent too many winter weekends indoors.

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Some favorite outdoor activities in central Virginia are hiking, running and cycling. The Lynchburg area has many great trails, perfect for outdoor lovers.

Many area outdoor lovers enjoy hiking the Appalachian Trail. Whether you're a serious hiker planning a thru-hike or a weekend hiker, the AT is a great place to enjoy March's warmer days.

Sharp Top Mountain, located at the Peaks of Otter on the Blue Ridge Parkway, is a favorite day hike for many area hikers. In less than an hour, you can enjoy the beautiful 360-degree views at the top of Sharp Top.

High Bridge Trail State Park offers a 31 mile multi-use trail suited for hiking, bicycling and horseback riding. The former rail bed trail is wide, level and mostly flat.

You'll love the majestic High Bridge, which is more than 2,400 feet long and 125 feet above the Appomattox River. It is the longest recreational bridge in Virginia and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Lynchburg's James River Heritage Trail system includes the Blackwater Creek Bikeway, Riverwalk, the Ivy Creek Greenway, the Ruskin Freer Loop Trail, the Alpine Trail, Point of Honor Trail, and the Creekside Trail.

Some of the trails are paved and perfect for cycling and running. Other trails take you out into the woods of Lynchburg for a nature walk.

Register at Riverside Runners for upcoming running events. You can also register for many running events at The Aid Station. Lynchburg's running stores offer discounts for members of the Lynchburg Road Runners Club.

The Lynchburg Road Runners Club has helped runners in Lynchburg enjoy the sport of running for more than 30 years.

The Lynchburg Road Runners 2014 Race Series consists of these six events:

  • Point of Honor 5K & Youth Mini-Mile on April 5 to benefit LifeNet Health and Donate Life
  • Spring into Spring 4 Miler on April 26 to benefit Lynchburg Daily Bread
  • Memorial Day 10K Run & 2 Mile Walk on May 26 to benefit Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Presbyterian Homes & Family Services and Family Alliance 5K and Youth Run on June 21 to benefit PHFS
  • Percival's Island 5-Miler on July 19 to benefit Lynchburg Road Runners Club
  • Lynchburg Half Marathon and 5K on Aug. 9 to benefit Lynchburg Road Runners Club

Many local runners enjoy participating in the Goode What Goes Down Must Come Up 4-Miler. This predict your time event will be held on March 8 in Goode.

The 7th Annual Gifts for Gulu 5K & Children's Runs will be held March 29 at Lynchburg College's track. This event has been part of the Lynchburg Road Runners Race Series in previous years, but is a stand-alone event this year.

Distance trail runners endured a snowy mudfest at the Holiday Lake 50k Trail Run on Feb. 15 at Holiday Lake in Appomattox.

This event is part of the six-race Beast Series which also includes:

  • Terrapin Mountain 50k & Half Marathon on March 22 in Sedalia
  • Promise Land 50k on April 26 in Bedford
  • Grindstone 100 on Oct. 3-5 in Staunton
  • Mountain Masochist Trail Run on Nov. 1 in Lynchburg
  • Hellgate 100 on Dec. 13 in Fincastle

Triathletes and those looking to get in shape will enjoy the Y Tri Challenge on March 23 at the Downtown Y. This is a great warm-up event for those participating in 12th Annual Angels Race Triathlon, which will be held in downtown Lynchburg on Sunday, April 27.

The Iron Gate Triathlon Club offers triathletes swimming, biking and running clinics, fellowship and mentoring to help you achieve your triathlon goals.

Bikes Unlimited and Blackwater Bike Shop host group cycling events and clinics for road an trail cyclists. Bikes Unlimited hosts Saturday morning and Sunday afternoon rides from their shop.

At the Blackwater Bike Shop website, you'll find the Greater Lynchburg Off-Road Cyclists calendar of events. Group rides include Monday night women's rides at Blackwater Creek and Thursday night advanced locals rides at Candler's Mountain.

March is a great time to get outdoors in central Virginia. Whether you're a runner, hiker, cyclist, triathlete or walker, the Lynchburg area offers many ways to enjoy the beckoning warmth of spring.

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