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Tributes presented to Riley Howell's family reflect his love for the outdoors and compassion for others, two traits being honored with the Riley Howell Mighty Four Miler race.

WAYNESVILLE — The Riley Howell Mighty Four Miler and Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon are coming to the streets of Waynesville on Saturday, April 3.

The inaugural Mighty Four Miler will honor hometown hero Riley Howell, who was tragically killed in a school shooting at UNC-Charlotte in 2019. Howell tackled the lone gunman to save the lives of fellow students. Riley was a runner, including a crosscountry student athlete at T.C. Roberson High School in Asheville. The proceeds from the Mighty Four Miler will go to the Riley Howell Foundation Fund.

Meanwhile, the Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon is returning after a two-year hiatus. Both races are being put on by WNC premier race organizer Glory Hound Events.

Spectators will not be permitted at the start and finish line due to mass gathering limits. Other COVID precautions include a rolling start with staggered waves of runners instead of being bunched up at the start line. Groups of 20 runners at a time will take off every five minutes.

There won’t be aid and water stations along the routes, and there won’t be a post-race award ceremony either, although award medals will be given out later in the day at Frog Level Brewing.

Both races will begin on Main Street in front of the historic courthouse and weave through the streets of town, ending at the Old Armory in Frog Level. The half-marathon makes a jaunt into the rural outskirts of Waynesville, as well.

The registration is $70 entry for the half marathon and $35 for the four miler. For more information, go to