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Chetola Resort’s Corkscrew & Brew 5K, part of SAVOR Blowing Rock, will be held Saturday, May 5

Combine your love of wine, craft brews and running (or purposeful walking!) in the name of a great charity. Chetola Resort’s Corkscrew & Brew 5K will be held Saturday, May 5 at 9 a.m. at Chetola Resort in Blowing Rock. The challenging, undulating 3.1-mile course takes runners throughout the picturesque Chetola grounds, circles the condominiums and winds around Chetola Lake. The race ends on a downhill and funnels back into the upper Timberlake’s Restaurant lot.

One of the signature events of SAVOR Blowing Rock: A Celebration of Food & Drink (May 3-6), the Corkscrew features a division that includes four “hydrating” stations with the runner’s choice of a shot of Timberlake’s wine or craft beer from award-winning Appalachian Mountain Brewery (must be 21 or older). Because not everyone is keen on an early morning booze run, the event also serves up a wine and beer free-division for those who either have winning on their minds or simply want to enjoy the spirited atmosphere and the scenic course.

Veteran race emcee Gary Butts and professional race timer Andrew Marsh of Event Mercenaries, Inc. return to provide entertainment and accurate timing. Butts has been with the race since its debut in 2013, when 97 people tackled the course for the first time. That number has grown each year, with last year setting the record at 250 people. And while the event has its share of power walkers and runners just prepping for some day drinking, the Corkscrew is nothing if not competitive. Some impressive records have been set. In 2014, the overall men’s winner, Peyton Howard, set a time of 17:02.6, and Chaney Poston took the medal for the women with a time of 21:51.7. The following year, the course was altered slightly to include a precipitous hill in a race not short on precipitous hills, so times slowed by a couple of minutes, but are still remarkable given the quite literal steep challenge.

Most notable, however, is that more than $10,000 in proceeds has been distributed to local organizations, including the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation and the Blowing Rock Chapter of Girls on the Run. Last year’s charitable mission was altered to raise funds solely to help the Sponds family from Valle Crucis purchase a service dog for their 3-year-old son Luke, who has spastic, quadriplegia cerebral palsy. This year stays the course, with all proceeds benefiting the Children’s Organ Transplant Association in honor of a tiny local hero, Levi Boyter.

Levi was born on October 2, 2015, to Andrew and Danielle Boyter of Boone, NC. Prior to his birth, doctors knew that Levi’s kidneys were not developing the way they should. The Boyters were referred to specialists in Charlotte who closely monitored Danielle through the last part of her pregnancy. When he was a week old, Levi was transferred to Levine Children’s Hospital due to his kidneys not functioning. Within a couple of days, he went into surgery for a peritoneal dialysis catheter to be placed along with a feeding tube. This started a three-month stay in the NICU where Levi was started on peritoneal dialysis. Once this was regulated and could be managed by a machine at home, Levi was released. From that point on, Levi has been growing and turning into an incredible little guy. He faced challenges due to kidney failure and the effects of dialysis on his little body, but you wouldn’t know it if you met him. He is an incredibly active two-year-old who loves to ride his tricycle, sing “Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star”, watch Peppa Pig, and make friends with everyone he meets. In December 2017, Levi’s Uncle Joel was cleared as a match to donate a kidney to Levi. Joel is Andrew’s brother and lives in Orlando, Fla., with his wife, Amy, and their two children, Chloe and Micah. Levi underwent a successful kidney transplant surgery at Levine Children’s Hospital on January 17, 2018, and was finally released to go home on February 1.

Chetola Wellness Director Gary Woolard, who is in his fifth year as the Corkscrew’s race director, says that the energy of last year’s race was especially exciting with the proceeds being raised to help a local child. This year is no different. “It’s just adds a special component,” says Woolard. “Of course the race is a blast and everyone is having a great time. But when you can have a great time and raise funds to honor and help others, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

“We are also pleased to announce that the Corkscrew has been designated as an official race for the High Country Senior games,” says Woolard. “That just adds yet another really cool element to a race that is growing every year in popularity and recognition.”

To be eligible to participate in the High Country Senior Games, an individual must be 50 or older by December 31, 2018 and own property in or be a resident of Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, Yancey, or Ashe county for a minimum of three months out of the year.

Early packet pick-up will be available Friday, May 4, from 4-7pm in the Recreation Center. Saturday morning check-in and packet pick-up will be held from 8-8:45am in the Timberlake’s upper parking lot. The 5K run begins promptly at 9am in the lower lot.

Medals will be presented to the overall male and female finishers, the overall male and female masters finishers, and in the Wine/Beer-Free division the top two male and female finishers in age categories ranging from under 14 to 70 and over. In the Wine/Beer-Lovers division, medals will also be given to the top two male and female finishers in age categories from age 21 to 70.

An outdoor Mimosa/Bloody Mary bar will be open from 8:30-10:30am for spectators and post-race libations. Music is also provided by Butts.

The Corkscrew & Brew thanks all of its sponsors and partners who are donating time, marketing efforts, food, drinks and prizes, including SAVOR Blowing Rock, Appalachian Mountain Brewery, Appalachian Ski Mountain, Be Natural Market, Grandfather Vineyard & Winery, Hatchett Coffee, High Gravity Adventures, Kilwins, Mellow Mushroom, Sky Valley Zip Line, Stick Boy Kitchen, and Zap Fitness.

Interested participants can register online at runsignup.com/corkscrew5k. The registration fee is $25 ($35 on race day) for Wine & Beer Free; and $30 ($40 on race day) for Wine & Beer Lovers. The fee includes a collectible long-sleeve race shirt for anyone who registers by Thursday, March 29 finisher medals, food, water, and prizes from local retailers and adventure outlets.

To register for event or for more information: chetola.com, gwoolard@chetola.com or 828.295.5533.

Because this event serves alcohol, local laws and ordinances apply. Participation in the Wine & Beer Lovers division is limited to those who are 21 years of age or older. A valid proof of age ID will be required to receive a wrist band that signifies an approved participant.

Levi Boyter received a kidney transplant and was recently able to come home.