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Tackle the Tar race sends local students to college

The Tackle the Tar Obstacle Course Race is an annual 5k in Rocky Mount that allows you to “play in the mud; send a kid to college.” The race raises money to help local students attend an area college. Tackle the Tar has awarded $510,000 in scholarships since 2016 to Nash and Edgecombe students who attend Nash Community College, Edgecombe Community College, or North Carolina Wesleyan University.

This year’s race is on Saturday, May 18, starting with the kid’s race (for ages 8–13) at 8:45 a.m. followed by various heats, including competitive heats, fun runs, and separate races for first responders and college students. The college heat “creates excitement and competition among the schools, Lyn Brown, Tackle the Tar Fundraiser Chair for the race, said.

The race will begin at the Rocky Mount Sports Complex and take runners through a series of obstacles including a mud pit. Each year the race features a new obstacle for participants, but the new obstacle won’t be announced until race day. According to Brown, the 16-foot ladder or the mud pit are the most popular obstacles, but there will be more than 25 obstacles to challenge and thrill runners.

Food trucks, a beer truck, and vendor booths will be present on race day for participants and spectators to enjoy.

The Rocky Mount Rotary Club hosts the race each year, and they have been able to help hundreds of local students through the funds raised by the event.

Tackle the Tar is currently seeking additional sponsors to provide even more scholarships for local students. There are many established tiers available for sponsors, beginning at $250. A full list of sponsorship opportunities is available online at

Last year’s race had over 600 runners representing five states and more than 50 North Carolina cities. Over 200 volunteers are needed to ensure the race is safe and fun.

The night before the race, Friday, May 17 at 6 p.m., the city of Rocky Mount hosts a Family Fun Night. This is a free event with live music, bounce houses, food trucks, health and wellness booths, games, and more.

Tickets to participate in the race are $55 if you purchase before April 1. Tickets for the kid’s race are $25. For more information, email

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