Get your Fourth of July run on at Laurel Hill

Fourth of July runners will hit the trails of Laurel Hill Plantation in Mount Pleasant on Saturday

Second to Thanksgiving, the Fourth of July is the biggest single day for running races in the United States.

In fact, last year’s largest U.S. race, by more than 7,000 runners, was the 45th annual Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Peachtree Road Race. It had 57,660 finishers, more than twice this year’s Cooper River Bridge Run and Walk.

For years, Charleston has struggled to find its Fourth of July running niche. A cross-country run at Trophy Lakes drew between 100 and 150 for nearly eight years (it ended with The Extra Mile running store closing), but another trail run has emerged with more potential.

The second annual Firecracker 4 Miler drew nearly 160 people, many sporting red, white and blue, last year at Laurel Hill Plantation in Mount Pleasant, which the Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission has since opened for walking and running.

This year’s run will be at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at Laurel Hill. The cost is $30-$35.

Another opportunity to burn off some steam before the fireworks shows Saturday night is via a gravel grind bike ride in the Francis Marion National Forest.

The Gravel Independence Day Ride will be 7:30 a.m. Saturday, starting from the Cainhoy Cookin’ Depot at 1190 Clements Ferry Road in Wando.

According to the event’s Facebook page, “July’s second Sunday ride is happening on the first Saturday of the month because it’s America and we can do that sort of thing.” The route will be “40-50ish miles, (or whatever anyone wants to do), moderate pace.” Bring your own food and water.

For those unfamiliar with this evolution in cycling, “gravel grinding” basically involves riding “road bikes on steroids” on non-paved and gravel roads.

The Swamp Fox Gravel Grinders and Mount Pleasant Velo have been holding regular gravel grind rides to get more locals familiar with it before the three-day, staged Hellhole Gravel Grind in September.

The Charleston Beach Volleyball and Social Club continues to grow at its year-old home, next to Santi’s Restaurante Mexicano in Mount Pleasant.

The summer leagues, which start next week, promise even more.

“This (spring) season has been our best season ever for number of adult participants,” says founder and director Jeff Hefel. “We are now offering a new league on Thursday nights so we can give a better variety of volleyball based on players’ skill level and experience. Thus, we will have three Adult Coed 4’s Leagues: Tuesday (Intermediate), Wednesday (Advanced), and Thursday (Recreational). We want all of our leagues to be competitive and fun for all participants.”

The membership fee is $75 per individual or $300 per team.

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The last of five races in the Race the Landing series will be July 9 at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site.

The Thursday evening running series includes a kids fun run starting at 6:15 p.m. and a 5K at 7 p.m.

The cost is $10-$12 for the kids run and $30-$35 for the 5K and includes a post-race dinner, drinks, music and more.

Led by internationally acclaimed yoga instructor and author Kathryn Budig, the RiverDogs will host “Downward Facing RiverDog,” a yoga class that will be held on Riley Park’s emerald green grass.

Gates open at 9 a.m. July 11. The class will be 10-11 a.m. Tickets are $10 in advance or $15 at the gate.

“The class will be playful and accessibly challenging,” says Budig.

Downward Facing RiverDog will benefit “Poses for Paws,” an organization co-founded by Budig that is dedicated to raising money for animal shelters through yoga.