Francis Marion National Forest.
A race that takes runners along the wooded trails inside the forest, the half marathon and the 5K take runners and walkers -- the half marathon is open to runners only, while the 5K is open to both runners and walkers -- on a tour of a huge forest that has lived through one of the nation's most damaging and historic weather events of the past half-century, the impact of Hurricane Hugo in 1989.
More than a third of the forest's trees were leveled in the hurricane, which swept through the state leaving tens of millions of dollars in damage to property, homes and businesses in its wake. Since then, the forest has been painstakingly recovering through intensely focused forest management to pare down the excess vegetation that has grown up since the storm, reducing the risk of massive forest fires.
Before the race starts, runners and walkers gather at the Sewee Visitor Center -- named for the tribe of Native Americans who once lived in this area, and gave the town its name "Awendaw" -- just outside the forest, and are then transported to the starting line in the forest, where the half marathon will start at 7:00 AM, followed by the 5K Run/Walk.
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