NEO challenge set for Oct. 24 |

NEO challenge set for Oct. 24

Mara Duffy and Karen Wallack-Eisen at the NEO Empire Challenge last year.
Courtesy photo |

NEO will be hosting its second annual NEO Empire Challenge – Run & Walk at Empire Mine State Historic Park at 8 a.m. on Oct. 24.

The NEO Empire Challenge, which is part of the Gold Country Grand Prix, features a challenging 4-mile running course or a scenic 2-mile walking course. The course winds through the trails of Empire Mine.

This event is unlike any other in the area, said organizers. NEO puts a unique spin on the traditional runs and walks by incorporating young volunteers and fun activities.

You might catch a glimpse of Jedis dueling among the trees and if you look closely you might just find Waldo hidden in the Where’s Waldo Woods, while the beat of drums in the distance will keep your energy levels up and prepare you to venture through a time warp from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.

The awards are one-of-a-kind engraved medallions sliced from a local madrone tree.

Registration fees are $25 for runners 18 and older and $15 for walkers and youth runners younger than 18. All participants who sign up by Oct. 16 will be guaranteed a race shirt.

Refreshments and coffee will be provided after the race. All ages and skill levels are encouraged to attend. Families are welcome; young kids can accompany their parents on the course for free and strollers are welcomed on the walkers’ course only. Parking is limited and carpooling is strongly encouraged.

At last year’s event, NEO saw success with 90 participants and they hope to expand the race this year to 150 participants, said organizers All proceeds from the race go directly to supporting the NEO Youth Center, which opened in March of this year.

The Youth Center provides free after-school programming five days per week for middle- and high school-aged youth. In the six months since opening, the NEO Youth Center has been seeing attendance grow steadily each week. The center serves an average of 15-45 youth per day.

For more information or to register visit, For information, call NEO at 530-470-3869.

Registration forms can also be submitted by mail to P.O. Box 941, Grass Valley, CA 95945. Sponsors are still needed, contact NEO to see how you can help.

NEO is a nonprofit organization that has been empowering Nevada County youth to thrive since 2008. NEO strives to help youth to make healthy lifestyle choices by providing New Events and Opportunities in a safe environment that encourages youth success and contributes to a healthier community.

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