Waynesville to make way for the Mighty Four Miler in Riley Howell's memory

Mar. 31—Hundreds of runners will take to the streets of Waynesville Saturday, April 6, for the Mighty Four Miler and Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon.

The Mighty Four Miler is a tribute race for hometown hero Riley Howell, a Waynesville native who was tragically killed in a school shooting at UNC-Charlotte in 2019 when tackling the gunman to save the lives of fellow students.

Proceeds of the Mighty Four Miler, now in its fourth year, will go to The Riley Howell Foundation Fund to benefit victims of gun violence. Howell was a cross country runner in high school and loved the outdoors, making a race the perfect tribute to honor his life.

"The Mighty Four Miler can't happen without runners: seeing our friends and neighbors join us to walk and run for Riley, and to help raise funds to support victims of gun violence is an act of love that means the world to our family and other families devastated by gun violence," said Natalie Henry-Howell, Riley's mother and Riley Howell Foundation Fund board member.

Henry-Howell express gratitude for Glory Hound Events, which puts on the race, and all the volunteers and sponsors that contribute to its success.

The races kick-off at 8 a.m. in front of the historic courthouse on Main Street. Motorists should be on the look-out for runners along the race routes.

—The Mighty Four Miler will go up Main Street, weave through Hazelwood, return along Brown Avenue and finish in Frog Level in front of the Old Armory.

—The Gateway to the Smokies Half Marathon will follow the same route, but with a loop up into the Waynesville Country Club area and another loop out Eagles Nest and Plott Creek.

Frog Level Brewing is partnering with RHFF to throw an after-race gathering with biscuits and beer for Mighty Four Miler runners.

The Mighty Four Miler registration is $45 and the half marathon is $90. To register, go to To donate to the Riley Howell Foundation Fund, visit