May 23, 2020

The Ridgecrest Conference Center in Black Mountain is the start line for this mostly downhill half marathon that takes runners on a scenic combination of paved and forested gravel roads from Ridgecrest to Old Fort.  Starting at 6:01 AM, runners escape the heat of late May and the crowds of city races.  Capped at only 600 runners, this race has sold out the past six years and become one of the more popular half marathons in the region.  Later that day, the Downhill at Dusk 5K will take runners on a fast course from Ridgecrest to Black Mountain.




Online registration for the 2019 race will open on Thursday, November 1 at 9:00 AM EST.  Online registration will end on Wednesday, May 22 at 9:00 PM.
Race Cap: 600

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On-site accommodations at Ridgecrest- $79-$99 per room, per night.  To make reservations for Ridgecrest accommodations please call 1.800.588.7222

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Entry Fees

Half Marathon
November 1-December 31, 2018 - $60
January 1-March 31, 2019 - $70
April 1 - May 22 - $80

Downhill Double (1/2 Marathon & 5k)

Downhill Double (Half Marathon & 5K)
November 1-December 31, 2018 - $72
January 1-April 15, 2019 - $85


This unique half Marathon will wind it’s way for 13.1 miles around Black Mountain, North Carolina, down Old Fort Mountain on Old Highway 70 and finish at the First Baptist Church in Old Fort. The first 3 miles, on pavement, will be out and back starting from the LifeWay campus at Ridgecrest. The first 1 ½ miles will be slightly downhill. The return 1 ½ miles will be back uphill to the main campus. Once back at the LifeWay Ridgecrest campus, runners will be turning to go down Old Fort Mountain.  The next 10 miles, mostly downhill, will offer the runner three miles on packed dirt and gravel and and seven miles on pavement. There will be a couple of places along the course where there will be some gradual uphill grades, but it is primarily a downhill run beginning at an elevation of 2700’ and ending at an elevation of 1600’. Aid stations will be located every two miles down the course. Port-A-Jons will also be provided along the route.  

RRCA and USA Track and Field Certification code for our half marathon is: NC-08044-PH.  See Certificate here.

Click HERE for the half marathon course map.

Packet Pickup/Late Registration

Friday, May 24, 4-7 PM - ARC on the Ridgecrest Campus
Saturday, May 25, 4:30-5:45 AM - ARC on the Ridgecrest Campus
Everyone must pick up their own packet and provide a picture ID to do so.  Parents may pick up the packets of minor children but must also present a picture ID.  No ID, No Race, No Exceptions!


All participants will receive a long-sleeve, tech shirt. All finishers will receive a special finisher award at the finish line.

Downhill Double

The deadline to register for the Downhill Double is April 15 or whenever the half marathon sells out, whichever is first.  Those who register for one race and then add a second after this date will not be eligible for the Downhill Double prize.


Post race activities, including the award ceremony, will take place at Old Fort Baptist Church. There will be food, chocolate milk, water, and Gatorade. Shuttles back to Ridgecrest will leave from the funeral home across the street from the church..

Award Categories

Awards will be presented at the finish area in Old Fort at approximately 9:00 AM. Double dipping of awards will not occur. All finishers will receive a medal and the award categories include:
1-3 Male & Female
1-3 Masters Male & Female
1, 2, 3 male and female in the following age brackets:
15 and under, 16-19, 20-24, 25-29, 30-34, 35-39, 40-44, 45-49, 50-54, 55-59, 60-64, 65-69, and 70 and over.

Awards will not be mailed.  If you cannot stay for the awards ceremony, please have someone pick it up for you.


The race will utilize chip timing.  Your chips are on your race bib so don’t crinkle them up.


The simplest parking is near Woodland (building on campus), the ARC and parking near the start of the race in Royal Gorge. Please follow the directions of our parking volunteers.  Shuttles will provide transportation back to Ridgecrest after the race every 15-30 minutes as needed.


The Ridgecrest Conference Center has a NO REFUND policy. However, we do offer partial discounts for those canceling during our cancellation periods.

If the event is NOT sold out, a discount code for 50% of your race registration fee will be offered until 7 days prior to the race date. No discounts codes will be given within 7 days before the event, if the event is not sold out.

If the event IS sold out, a discount code for 100% of your race registration fee will be offered until 5 days prior to the race date. No discounts codes will be given within 5 days before the event, if the event is sold out.

Discount codes can be used to register for the 2020 races and will be valid for 12 months after the event date.

You may transfer your entry to another person by submitting the TRANSFER FORM. The deadline to transfer an entry is Monday, May 19.

If you cancelled your entry for the 2018 race, you must use the code you received in your cancellation confirmation email from IMAthlete to receive your 2019 discount.


Unofficial results will be posted near the finish area.  Official results will be posted at this site by Sunday, May 26.

2018 Downhill at Dawn Overall Results
2018 Downhill at Dawn Age Group Results

2017 Downhill at Dawn Overall Results
2017 Downhill at Dawn Age Group Results

2016 Downhill at Dawn Overall Results
2016 Downhill at Dawn Age Group Results


All of the volunteers are from the Ridgecrest Conference Center. Please thank them as you make your way through the course.


Please email general race questions to


Posted in: Adults Recreational