“A mile on the road, 4 miles on the trails, then a mile on the road, with inspirational quote signs.
— Christie Wild
Birding · Fall Colors · Lake · River/Creek · Spring · Swimming · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife
As part of a larger event, the Writers Who Run Retreat, this race is a charity event to raise money for a local literacy organization. The race includes a costume contest and registration includes an awesome finisher medal. The first half of the race is nearly all uphill. The good thing is that the last half is all downhill, though not steep. Inspirational famous quotes line the course every quarter to half mile, keeping racers going throughout the route. There aren't quotes on the 2.5 mile loop at the top, but striking scenery makes up for it.
Need to Know
Watch out for roots. Dress up as a book character to win cash prizes.
Two water stop locations.
The course begins on the road near the Fontana Marina, and goes about a mile before hitting a trailhead. In this first section, there are several views of Fontana Dam and Fontana Lake. Racers will then cross over the Appalachian Trail (AT), remaining on the road. Pass by an old gristmill site, and a few small streams, and make your way over the 60-foot bridge. There is lots of shade to be had along the way and wildlife is abundant. Racers will have to complete a 2.5-mile loop of narrow trails at the top of the final incline before heading back down the mountain, and eventually back on to the road for your final mile to the finish line.
Flora & Fauna
Black bears can be found in late October (hopefully not in early August). It's possible to see snakes, but I have never seen one.
History & Background
Part of the course is an old U.S. Forest Service access road. The Tail of the Dragon in Deals Gap is nearby, a road that bikers (motorcycles as well as bicyclists) love to travel because of the 318 curves in 11 miles. The Fontana Dam is part of the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The first four Fontana towns were purposely drowned. They finally got it right with the fifth town, which is home to 300 cabins at the Fontana Village and Resort.