Rock Creek Outfitters (www.rockcreek.com) announced this week that the Rock Creek River Gorge Trail Race raised $1500 for the nonprofit Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC). According to CTC Executive Director Paul Freeman, Rock Creek's donation will go to the CTC's Spring Build, supporting up to 100 volunteers a day as they extend the Cumberland Trail through the Smokies near Caryville, TN. The Cumberland Trail is a beautiful multi-use single-track foot path that will eventually stretch over 300 miles on the Cumberland Plateau.
About 230 people showed up to run, making this the best turnout in the race's six year history. As race director Jamie Sanders explains, â€œWe're pleased to have a successful race that draws so many people from across the region." The race took place on a beautiful Spring morning, with the first racers showing up for registration before dawn, and the last racer coming across the finish line by midday.
Rock Creek's race team finished well, with race team member Geno Phillips finishing third on the 10.2 mile course. Rock Creek employee Clay Werner finished fourth. On the 6.5 mile course, race team members Tom Sell and Jim Farmer took first and second place. The race took place within the Prentice Cooper Wilderness Management Area, the Southern terminus of what will be over 300 miles of backpacking and hiking trails starting in the Cumberland Gap National Park in Kentucky. A comment from Jim Farmer summed up the significance of the race perfectly: "What better way to showcase the work of the Cumberland Trail Conference than to bring 225 people out for a race and on the trail itself?"
Rock Creek believes that supporting the work of the CTC will help to preserve this valuable area for future generations by opening it up for use by trail runners, hikers, and backpackers. Rock Creek's philosophy of environmental stewardship hinges on access to the backcountry, and as Rock Creek President and owner Dawson Wheeler explains, "the work of the CTC dovetails perfectly with our mission to get people outside enjoying our natural resources. We believe that people who have access to the outdoors will naturally become conservationists and will work to preserve the areas where they recreate. It's great to see so many people up here enjoying the natural beauty of Signal Mountain." Both of Rock Creek's owners-- Wheeler and his partner Marvin Webb-- are long-time Signal Mountain residents, and are excited about the opportunity to give back to their local community by supporting events such as this trail race.
Rock Creek would like to thank the race sponsors: Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, Wigwam, Inov8, Chaco, Oakley and Hammer Nutrition, as well as our partners and volunteers, especially those from the Cumberland Trail Conference and Prentice Cooper, the Chattanooga Track Club, and the Wilderness Trail Running Association.
For more information on the Rock Creek River Gorge Trail Race, visit http://www.RockCreek.com/RiverGorge/
For more information on the CTC's Spring Build, visit http://www.cumberlandtrail.org/bigdig.html
About Rock Creek Outfitters:
Rock Creek Outfitters is a specialty outdoor retailer with over two decades of experience in the Southeast. Along with its online shops, RockCreek.com and ClimbingGear.com, Rock Creek Outfitters provides quality outdoor clothing and gear for a host of activities including kayaking, rock climbing, camping, hiking, trail running, and adventure racing. Rock Creek is committed to making a positive impact on the environment. For this reason, it uses outdoor retail as a platform to encourage outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship and to improve public access to the backcountry.