Downhill@Dawn Half Marathon

Ridgecrest Downhill@Dawn Half Marathon

May 23, 2020
 - May 23, 2020

Our annual Downhill Running Series is back! Downhill@Dawn Half Marathon is one of the most popular half marathons in the region and sells out every year. Starting at 6:01am, runners escape the heat of late May and take in the beautiful mountain views the course offers as the sun is still coming up. The combination of paved and forested gravel roads from Ridgecrest to Old Fort creates the most intentional setting for lasting memories. For an extra challenge, join us later that day for Downhill@Dusk 5K.

Entry Fee:

November 1-December 31, 2019 – $60
January 1-March 31, 2020 – $70
April 1 – May 22 – $80

Race Cap: 600


On-site accommodations at Ridgecrest- $79-$99 per room, per night.  To make reservations for Ridgecrest accommodations please call (800) 588.7222

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Packet Pickup/Late Registration

Friday, May 22, 4:00-7:00 PM at the ARC on the Ridgecrest Campus
Saturday, May 23, 4:30-5:45 AM at the 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!

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This unique half marathon will wind its 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 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-19010BDS See Certificate here.


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 18.

If you cancelled your entry for the 2019 race, you must use the code you received in your cancellation confirmation email from IMAthlete to receive your 2020 discount.


Unofficial results will be posted near the finish area. Official results will be posted at this site by Sunday, May 24.

2019 Downhill at Dawn Overall Results 2019 Downhill at Dawn Age Group Results
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

Downhill@Dawn Half Marathon

Request for Proposal

Important Update

The health and safety of guests and team members is of utmost importance. Even though no COVID-19 cases have been tied to Ridgecrest Conference Center at this point, we have made the decision to not host events and guests (including individual stays) through April 30, 2020. We will continue to monitor additional developments and reassess as appropriate.

Previously made reservations for stays before April 30th will be canceled and fully refunded. Please note that credit card refunds typically take several business days to process.

Planners of events scheduled at Ridgecrest before April 30th: A member of our sales team will contact you to discuss rescheduling possibilities.

In these unprecedented circumstances, please join our team in praying for our communities, our nation, and our world.

From Our Director