Today Rock/Creek announces a $2,000 donation to Signal Mountain High School's Cross Country team. The donation came from money raised at the 7th Annual Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k Trail Race, which took place the first weekend of October. The money will be used to purchase timing equipment for the team, which will in turn allow the school to host events on the trails adjacent to their property. "The beautiful surroundings on Signal Mountain will truly be showcased by opportunities provided by Rock/Creek, and we look forward to hosting races and having more student participation as excitement about our program continues to grow," explains school principal Eddie Gravitte.
The StumpJump race raised a total of $9,000, with $3,500 going to the Cumberland Trail Conference (CTC), $3,500 to the Wilderness Trail Running Association (The Boonies), and the remainder for this gift. The CTC administers and has constructed the Cumberland Trial, which runs right behind the High School. The Boonies helps facilitate the Rock/Creek Trail Series races through volunteer work as well as trail building and maintenance. The StumpJump takes place on the trail, starting and finishing at the new High School. In addition, the Cross Country team uses the trails for training. These three groups have formed a healthy partnership that ensures the vitality of trails on Signal Mountain and elsewhere.
Rock/Creek also has provided sponsorship throughout this inaugural season. As Les Hegwood, the team's coach, explains, "Rock/Creek and our team have formed a tight partnership in which the kids on my team have been outfitted from head to toe with some of the greatest technical trail running apparel around. They have assisted in hosting the StumpJump 50K, a race included in the Rock/Creek Trail Series, and will have the finest racing clock and timing equipment around all because of the generous monetary gifts from Rock/Creek." Rock/Creek provided wicking technical t-shirts from Mountain Hardwear, along with running hats and visors for the team.
The cross country program has seen a strong start in its inaugural year. Hegwood elaborates: "As I reflect on our inaugral cross country season in which the boys earned a trip to the state meet- having finished as runners up in the region- one phrase comes to mind: 'taking off.' I saw the kids surpass personal best after personal best and really come into their own as runners this season. Without the support of Rock/Creek and the great people associated with the team, our season would not have been half the success it was."
Dawson Wheeler, co-owner of Rock/Creek and a Baylor graduate, presented the $2,000 check to Hegwood, and shared his enthusiasm for the High School: "Although I went to Baylor and this is a brand new school, I'm thrilled to support these guys because they're my neighbors and they're doing so much to raise the profile of Signal Mountain's wild spaces. Tennessee ranks #44 in spending on education, and as obesity and poor health are on the rise, it's becoming increasingly important to include outdoor recreation as a part of public education. Public-private partnerships are a proven way to help increase the quality of education for our youth."
Whorton echoed the enthusiasm of Wheeler and Hegwood, pointing to the difficulty of the trails on Signal Mountain as a factor in the team's success: "By training on these challenging and beautiful trails, these runners are building a strong base that will allow them to compete with the best runners in the state. I think Signal Mountain High School will quickly earn a reputation for being a very tough team to beat, and once we complete their course, only the bravest high schools will show up for meets here."
For more information on Signal Mountain High School:
For more information on the Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k:
Rock/Creek, member of the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, is an independent specialty outdoor retailer with over two decades of experience in the Southeast. Along with its online shops, RockCreek.com and ClimbingGear.com, Rock/Creek 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 enacting positive change in the community and for our 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. Rock/Creek supports worthy nonprofits such as the Southeastern Climbers' Coalition and the Wilderness Trail Running Association.