On Saturday, there will be an estimated 14 hours, 18 minutes and 53 seconds of daylight - the longest day of the year.
As a fan of long days, particularly the warm and sunny variety, the summer solstice is one of my favorite days of the year, yet we in the modern West do little to celebrate it.
But Virginia Wininger and Rocky Cundari of OnShore Racing, an upstart event company with a bent for "a quixotic running experience," have embraced the Earth's big seasonal days, the equinox and solstice, as part of its "Follow the Sun" 5K race series.
"We are celebrating the summer solstice because it is the longest day of the year and that means more time for fun in the sun," says Wininger.
Saturday's Summer Solstice will start at 8:30 a.m. at Hampton Park. The course is basically three loops around the park.
Fees are $15 for early registration and $20 for late registration. Early packet pick-up will be 4-7 p.m. Friday at Moe's Crosstown Tavern and 7-8 a.m. Saturday at the park.
Barrier Island 5K
On Seabrook Island, another 5K will take place at the St. Christopher Camp and Conference Center at 9 a.m. Saturday. The second annual Barrier Island 5K Run/Hike continues an event started last year as part of the camp's 75th anniversary.
The fees are $25 for adults and $15 for students under age 18. Proceeds benefit the Barrier Island Outreach Program. Early race packet pick-up is 3-7 p.m. Friday at the Holy Trinity Episcopal Church parking lot, located at 95 Folly Road Blvd. near South Windermere.
The Charleston Running Club will hold a special gathering, "An Evening with the Local Living Legends," 4-6 p.m. Sunday at Marion's of Charleston, 159 East Bay St.
The club has assembled some of the local runners who had a presence in the local running scene in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Among them are Bob Schlau, Anne Boone, Gail Bailey, Marc Embler, Terry Hamlin, Ed Ledford and Cedric Jaggers. Many are still involved in the community in some capacity today.
The event is free for club members and $5 for guests. The event will include light appetizers, beer, wine and other beverages.
Wilson's next swim
Speaking of living legends, Charleston's most accomplished marathon swimmer, Kathleen Wilson, heads to her big swim of the year this weekend in, of all places, North Dakota and Minnesota.
The Extreme North Dakota Watersports Endurance Test, aka END-WET, is a down-river ultra marathon on the mighty Red River from rural North Dakota into East Grand Forks, Minn.
"The Red River swim is one put together by a couple of adventure enthusiasts from the Grand Forks area," says the 50-year-old Wilson, a veteran of 13 marathon swims, including the English Channel.
"This is its third year and the previous distance was 27 miles. With no particular reason, they bumped it to 36 miles. Oh well, what's the equivalent to another marathon or so? The first few go down easily and after that, it is purely about many months of conditioning and a huge mind game.
"The Red River flows north so it is with whatever assist the river provides that day. It is not a fast-moving river; the very best case would be a heavy rain on Wednesday or Thursday to get the river moving followed by a very hot day on Friday to push the water temperature back up, with the swim on Saturday."
For more on Wilson's swim, go to www.postandcourier.com/blog/get-fit.
On the horizon
I rarely write about the distant future in this column, but there are a couple of events on the horizon to prepare for.
First, the third open-water swim event comes to Charleston on Aug. 31. The inaugural Charleston Sharkfest Swim will be two kilometers, or 1.2 miles, from Castle Pinckney to the Charleston Maritime Center. www.sharkfestswim.com/default.asp?PageID=21455
The other swims are the Lowcountry Splash, featuring 2.4-mile and 5-mile swims, in late spring and the 12-mile Swim Around Charleston (organized by Wilson) in early fall. This year's Swim Around Charleston will be Sept. 21.
The watery theme continues with the inaugural Charleston Watersports Week, or actually 10 days, Sept. 5-14. And why not? Charleston has Charleston Restaurant Week, Charleston Fashion Week and Charleston Race Week.
Kathleen Cartland, executive director of the Charleston Area Sports Commission, says the "festival" and the events include Chucktown Showdown stand-up paddleboard races, the Carolina Celebration Dragon Boat Cup races, a Hobie Cat sailboat race and a three-day expo at the Charleston Maritime Center.
"We are planning a lot of activity, including food trucks, beer truck, bands and cruises at discount prices. Charleston Beer Week was moved from April to September, so it happens to be the same weekend," says Cartland. "We are marketing all three alongside each other, Watersports Week, Beer Week and Restaurant Week."
Reach David Quick at 937-5516.