The inspiration for the race’s namesake is not only the “hell-bending” road runners will tackle to reach the High Knob summit, but also the Eastern Hellbender. This large, aquatic salamander can be found in Virginia in the mainstem and tributaries of the New River drainage and in the Clinch, Powell, and Holston River tributaries of the Upper Tennessee River. They can live to 30 years in the wild and more than 50 years in captivity. Faculty and students at the University of Virginia’s College at Wise are researching this giant amphibian in hopes of learning more about where it lives within the region. And they need help from local residents in reporting hellbender sightings. Interested? Why wouldn’t you be! Check out http://tinyurl.com/swvahellbenders for more information.