ROANOKE, Va. – Step after step, runners and walkers made their way up Mill Mountain to the Roanoke Star on New Year’s Day.
The 6- or 7-mile round-trip run has been a tradition for decades.
“It’s really fun. Everyone’s in a, you know, great mood and really friendly and outgoing and it’s what I love about the running community in Roanoke,” said Alexis DeSilvestro, a runner with the C & C Runners group.
“It’s a great start to the new year and it gives you the motivation to continue on for the rest of the year with fitness,” said Jeannie Campbell, a Fincastle resident who walked up the mountain.
The idea was hatched by in 1990 by Gary Adkins and some of his friends.
“A group of us used to do speed work several times a week and New Year’s Eve, at a New Year’s Eve party, we decided we didn’t really want to do speed work the next morning," said Adkins, who co-founded the run and has participated every single year. “So we decided we’d do something different, something easy for a change and we decided to run up the mountain."
Thirty years after its inception, the run now draws hundreds of people.
“It’s really nice to see so many like-minded people that don’t think running up to the star on New Year’s morning is a crazy thing to do," Adkins said. "But rather a good thing, a healthy thing, a positive way to start off the new year.”
Everyone cheered each other on along the way and started the new year on a new foot.
“I think everyone, all of us, if we just keep moving forward," said DeSilvestro. "I think that’s one of the great things running symbolizes: that you’re going to have obstacles but if we all keep moving forward, and especially if we keep moving forward together like this, then the world will be a better place.”