Winter Flight – 40 Year Anniversary! Read about the history of the oldest 8K in the state and then enjoy a nostalgic walk through the years with a shirt timeline. We need your help to complete it! If you have a 1988, 1994, 1995, 1999, or 2001 Winter Flight shirt, please send a picture of you wearing the shirt to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com, and we would love to add it!
Winter Flight History:
The first Winter Flight was held in 1981, not held in ’82 or ’83 and was then reborn in 1984 as a combination of 5- and 10-mile races. These races originally started and finished at the mural in downtown. The race was moved to Catawba College in 1986, also the year that the venerable 8K distance was introduced. The 8K events were very popular then but have been replaced by the shorter 5Ks as the main race distance over the years since.
The races were postponed by a measles epidemic in 1989, and heavy snow in 1996 and 2005. I remember SRR members having to call race registrants with a plan for the postponement and new race days due to the snow. In 2001, SRR went online with races and registrations. In 2002, the only course change since 1986 occurred due to new construction for Shuford Stadium at Catawba. The race was actually moved to Millbridge and the Sloan Park area due to COVID for only the 2021 version. Course records remain with Olympians Hans Koeleman of the Netherlands with his sizzling 23 minutes and 34 seconds in 1988 and Joan Nesbitt of Chapel Hill in 1992 at 26.48. A Kenyan runner took the male record several years ago but was disqualified for illegal substance abuse in various races more than two years later, so it has reverted to Koeleman, a former Nike executive.
In 2003, the Salisbury Rowan Runners began making significant charitable contributions from the race. All proceeds from the event currently go to Rowan Helping Ministries.
Winter Flight offers tremendous opportunities for participation to runners and walkers of all abilities and age. The fun run is open to anyone, the 5K is a moderate distance open to anyone while the 8K is geared to those who can complete the course in 90 minutes. Special thanks to the City of Salisbury for services provided that allow us to have the race!