Torch Race


“While the Athenians were still in the city at the start of the Persian War, the generals first sent to Sparta the herald Philippides, an Athenian and a long-distance runner who made that his calling. As Philippides himself said when he brought the message to the Athenians, when he was in the Parthenian mountain a mountain in Arcadia above Tegea he encountered Pan. Pan called out Philippides’ name and bade him ask the Athenians why they paid him no attention, though he was of goodwill to the Athenians, had often been of service to them, and would be in the future. The Athenians believed that these things were true, and when they became prosperous they established a sacred precinct of Pan beneath the Akropolis. Ever since that message they honor him with annual sacrifices and a torch-race.”

One of Panoleptos’ main public celebrations is an annual torch race in honor of Pan.  Because we hold the race sometime during the month of May, the good folks at North Carolina Piedmont Church of Wicca have allowed us to hold the race at the Beltane Brouhaha, their annual Spring event.  For the race, participants run up a hill or a slope in the woods towards the torch.  The first runner to reach the torch and hold it aloft, wins.  At this time, all participants must be 18 years old or older to run.  However, we also sponsor a teen version and a children’s version of the race.


2010 Winner: Shawn W.

Torch Race Winner


2011 Winner: Matthew.

*Matthew’s daughter also won the kid’s Foot Race in honor of Pan


2012 Winner:  Elijah H.

2013 Winner:  Elijah H.

2014 Winner: Andrew

2015 Winner: Elijah H.

2016 Winner: Michael Davis

2017 Winner: You!