Charleston’s offerings of outdoor fitness activities continue to grow and diversify, but one thing I’ve noticed this year is that some of the most interesting events are taking place indoors, specifically via inspiring speakers and films.
Just a quick rundown of late:
In October, Half-Moon Outfitters and North Face brought elite climber Emily Harrington to town, while the Charleston Library Society hosted world-record rower Roz Savage, who has rowed the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans.
Earlier this month, another rower, Johns Island resident Louise Graff, was in attendance at the South Carolina premiere of “The Big Blue,” a film that documented the trip of a 16-person crew from Morocco to Barbados.
And last week, the College of Charleston’s business school hosted former professional cyclist and Lance Armstrong teammate Tyler Hamilton for a compelling talk about the dark world of doping and life after it.
These are opportunities that readers of this column really should make an effort to attend. The talks and films are inspirational, educational and entertaining.
Two events, to be held Friday and Saturday evenings, promise to offer the same.
‘With a Kite’
Charleston’s wind and bounty of beaches has made it a mecca for kiteboarding on the East Coast, but a new documentary, featuring local filmmaker Adam Boozer and professional kiteboarder Davey Blair, is set in Cape Hatteras, N.C., among other kiteboarding hot spots.
The documentary, “With a Kite,” will make its national premiere at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Memminger Auditorium, 56 Beaufain St. The cost is $12 and includes a cocktail reception at 6:30 p.m., the screening of the 1-hour, 51-minute film at 7:30 p.m., a Q&A with Boozer, Blair and other riders in the film as well as a performance by The Dubplates.
“With A Kite” starts with narration by Virgin Group’s Richard Branson of an animated history of “human flight via kite” and goes on to document the rise of the Triple-S Invitational, a grassroots contest that was started by the best kiteboarders in the world.
The film, remarkably, was self-funded after a Kickstarter campaign only drew $37,000 in pledges with a goal of $50,000.
On Saturday, the woman who in 2011 set the speed record for hiking the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail will speak at The Backpacker store, located at 1440 Ben Sawyer Blvd. in Mount Pleasant, at 5 p.m.
In her third hike of the “AT,” Jennifer Pharr Davis of Asheville set the record by hoofing the stretch in 46 days, 11 hours and 20 minutes, or an average of 46.9 miles per day.
Almost unbelievably, Davis did it by not running it, as other previous record holders had done.
“We (she and her crew) took the strategy of the tortoise,” Davis said in an interview on Monday. “We wanted to be smarter and more consistent. I would get up at 5 a.m. and hike 16 to 17 hours straight.”
Because she took a different, out-of-the box approach, National Geographic Explorer named her one of the Adventurers of the Year in 2012.
Davis, the co-owner of the Blue Ridge Hiking Co., has documented her experiences in two books, “Becoming Odyssa: Adventures on the Appalachian Trail” and “Called Again: A Story of Love and Triumph.”
Ultimately, Davis said the goal of setting the speed record was not an athletic feat, but rather to inspire people to go outside and enjoy and appreciate nature.
The event is free, but space is limited and registration is required. Call 849-3482 or email email@example.com.
Meanwhile, three charity run events are on tap for this weekend.
The first and most established is the 29th annual Run for Thanks, a former 5-mile run that’s now a 5K run and walk, is set for 9 a.m. Saturday in Pinopolis. The cost is $25. Money raised goes to the Moncks Corner Kiwanis Club. Runners and walkers are asked to bring canned goods for a local food bank.
The second is the Light the Night 5K at 3:30 p.m. Saturday at James Island County Park. The cost is $30 for adults and $12 for kids. The event raises money for the Heartland Hospice Memorial Fund.
The third is the inaugural Tinsel Trot Holiday Fun Run/Walk at Old Santee Canal Park at 6 p.m. Saturday. Cost is $10. All proceeds will be donated to local charities in conjunction with those raised through the Celebrate The Season holiday driving tour.
To find out more on all three races, go to www.charlestonrunningclub.com and click on the 2013 race calendar.
With Thanksgiving Day falling on the publication date of next week’s Charleston Scene, just a heads-up on a day full of activities before the feasting and football.
The biggest of which is the 36th annual Turkey Day Run and Gobble Wobble 5K at 9 a.m. It has long been the second largest race in Charleston, next to the Cooper River Bridge Run, and one that carries a lot of tradition.
For those not wanting to drive into town for the Turkey Day madness, the fourth annual Fried Turkey Glide 5K in Awendaw offers a smaller, grassroots and bucolic experience.
Lee Ann Reigart organized the free fun run three years ago after moving to Awendaw and the Turkey Day Run was “not going to work out in our morning.”
“The race has grown from six to 60 participants in three years! There are runners experts to beginners, walkers, bikers, strollers, ATV, golf carts and pets,” said Reigart. “This is ‘My Give Back to Awendaw.’ I just wanted to get the residents up and moving before the sit down to a big meal.
“The race is free, I have muffins, water, homemade beer, water, awards ... and shots of Wild Turkey. It is a lot a fun for all.”
Not into running? You’re in luck.
Charleston Bicycle Company will hold its ninth annual CBC ninth annual Turkey Day Ride at 8:30 a.m. It has options of 35 and 50 miles.
Prefer to bike indoors? Charleston RIDE will have its annual Turn ‘n’ Burn Ride from 8-10 a.m. at its Wentworth Street studio.
Because that’s smack dab in the middle of the Turkey Day Run route, Spinners are urged “to park appropriately in case street closures extend past our 10 a.m. finish time.”
Reach David Quick at 937-5516.