Top Cashiers 5K finisher enjoys outdoor adventure
By Dan Brown / Staff
CASHIERS -- Will Belue could be considered the fastest person in southern Jackson County. He was the first Cashiers resident to cross the finish line in Cashiers’ Thanksgiving morning Gobble on the Green 5K road race. He finished fifth in the 3.1-mile run with a time of 19 minutes and 30 seconds.
The 27-year-old Lexington, South Carolina native lives and breathes outdoor athletic adventure.
Belue loves to run.
He loves being active.
He loves to be outdoors so much, it’s part of his job title at Cashiers’ Mountaintop Golf and Lake Club. “Outdoors” starts off his job title, outdoor pursuits excursions specialist.
Just what does an outdoor pursuits excursions specialist do?
“My department is excursions,” he said. “We go hiking, whitewater rafting, riding, rock climbing, anything you can do outside, ranging from school-aged children to adults. We do things outdoors.”
Belue has been getting paid to do outdoor excursions for the past four years, working closely with youth, both during summer and the after-school kind.
“We’re a year-round club and community, but we are also seasonal and a lot of our residents have returned to their winter homes now,” he said.
During the off season, Belue could just as easily find himself on the business end of a shovel as he would a raft or kayak paddle. He handles each just fine. His office is the mountains of western North Carolina, and it’s in these mountains where he always wanted to be.
“Either in the mountains of upstate South Carolina, or here,” he said. “This was where we wanted to settle down and start a family, and I was fortunate enough to find a place here at Mountaintop after we got back from Australia.”
Wait a minute, did he say Australia?
Belue ran cross country collegiately at North Greenville University in Tigerville, South Carolina.
Upon graduating from NGU, Belue wanted to do something fun again – like run, but more than any 3.1-mile, collegiate cross country course offered. After graduating from NGU in 2014, he and his wife, Kortnee Belue, ran to the other side of the planet and spent a year in Australia.
“We had the time, and we had the freedom and there was nothing tying us down, so we spent a year in Australia.”
When asked where they lived, Belue replies they were centered around the Brisbane area. When pressed about where they lay their heads at night, he replied with a sheepish, almost apologetic grin, “In our van.”
“What better place to live than on the road, or the trail under the stars?”
And it was a nice van, he added.
“We wanted to travel and be free to travel,” he said.
Belue traveled the Outback as much as Crocodile Dundee, but focused on Australia’s eastern Sunshine Coast located north of Brisbane.
“It is my favorite place in all of Australia to go,” he said. “We would travel up and down the east coast of Australia, but always seemed to gravitate back there.”
In such a large and vast place, it really was a small world as the Belues often found themselves running into former classmates and friends while staying at Noosa Heads in Sunshine Coast.
“We were running into people we knew, and making new friends that we’ve kept in touch with after coming home,” he said. “This was the one place we wanted to come after Australia and a great place to raise our two girls.” He is the father of two little girls, 2-year-old Aurora and 6-month-old Adelaide.
(Crossroads Chronicle Editor Don Richeson contributed to this story.)
Name: Will Belue.
Strangest thing seen in Australia: A herd of kangaroo. “Over there, we see kangaroo like you see deer here,” Belue said.
Strangest food eaten in Australia: Kangaroo. “It tastes a little gamey.”
Tiger or Gamecock: Clemson all the way. “I was born a stone’s throw from Columbia, but I’ve always been a Tiger fan.”
Morning or nighttime person: Both.
Mountains or beach: Mountains. “You can’t climb the beach.”
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