Tennessee Running Tour Races
Start and finish at the restaurant at David Crockett State Park, Lawrenceburg. After starting on the main park road, the course turns right at the swimming pool and onto a winding walking trail back to the park road. Turn left to a steep downhill to a covered bridge over Shoal Creek. This is the lowest point. Two steep uphills take you back to mile 3 past the starting line. Rolling course to the turnaround (mile 4.3) and back to the finish in the parking lot. Considered somewhat hilly. Great opportunity to meet runners with still 2 miles to go and plan for the winning strategy.
This is one of the early Running Tour races added to the Tour in 1983. The course was designed by Ray Barger with the help of Henry Phillips, park manager. For 13 years, it was the first race of the season. It attracts runners from both Huntsville and Nashville. In 2006 Scott Benefield, a local pediatrician, became the race director.
RACE TO LANDING
The most convoluted course of all Tour races
Start and finish at the Inn of Pickwick Landing State Park. The course passes the marina, then onto a gravel road to a turnaround. On the same way back, it loops the cabin area, then continues past the cemetery to a parking area by the water, back via a narrow paved trail that circles the Inn and ends at the start. The course was designed by Mike Bell and Michael D'Orio.
The inaugural race was held in 2012 in pouring rain and 68 F. It is one of the most convoluted courses on the Running Tour, with lots of turns and twists. The 2016 race was postponed to the snow day, Feb 27. The 2017 event had sunshine and 71 degrees. In 2020, Marcus Anderson became Race Director. New director from 2023 is Tom Buie and the course shorten to 5 Miles.
Start (pictured) and finish at Eva Beach on the Tennessee River (Camden). The course follows Pilot Knob Road (Hwy 191) to Nathan Bedford Forrest State Historic Area. New course in 2021. After 2.5 miles of mostly flat road, turn left on Happy Hollow Road a quarter mile to a turnaround. Back on the highway, a quarter mile to a loop at the foothill. Straight back to finish in the picnic area.
The inaugural race was in 2006. Pilot Knob is the highest point in Tennessee, west of the Tennessee River. Designed by Mike Bell, Camden. The steepness of the Knob is rivaled only by that of Mount Wood of the Cotton Row 10K course in Huntsville, AL. Since 2018 Lisa Bell has been the race director. The 2020 race had no awards and no aid stations due to COVID-19. New course in 2021.
THE BAT 5 MILES, ROCKY FORK STATE PARK, FLAG POND, TN
Race Director: Lisa Hazlett, State of Franklin Track Club, Kingsport, TN
Directions from Greeneville: Take Erwin Hwy to turn right on Interstate 26 in Erwin. Go South and exit on Clear Branch Rd to turn left on Old Asheville Hwy to Gillis Drive and Rocky Fork.
GPS 36.0482, -82.5566
Two and a half miles uphill, then downhill along the scenic Rocky Fork Creek.
Start and finish on Rocky Fork Road at Old Asheville Highway in Rocky Fork. It was named after the elevation profile, which resembles a bat. The truth, however, is that the name is short for "The Bat Out Of Hell."
This is the newest course on the Running Tour. The inaugural race was in 2019. It was designed by Lisa Hazlett, originally as a 6 miler, turning south on a logging dirt road to the North Carolina border.
In 2020, the name was changed to The Bat 5 Miles, but the race was canceled. The 2021 race had 32 finishers, a new male course record, sunshine, and 55 degrees. 2022 had a new course record by a woman from Boise, Idaho, that will be hard to break.
New race director for 2019, Amelie Sharp. From 2023 Dan Smithhisler.
Start and finish at Couchville Lake picnic shelter in Long Hunter State Park, Hermitage. From the start at the upper parking lot, the course goes a quarter mile to a turnaround at the entrance gate, then back onto the winding trail around the lake. After one loop, the course circles the picnic area and repeats the loop to finish by the shelter. Considered a flat, fast course with many turns.
This is one of the new courses that were added when the Running Tour expanded from 12 to 14 races in 1995. Designed by Tomas de Paulis, it originally had a shorter turnaround with a complex looping of the parking lot at the start. One year a wheelchair racer participated. He lost control in one of the sharp turns and ended up in the lake, where he was promptly rescued and could finish. As the name implies, it is held on the last Saturday of October. Famous for its charcoal-grilled gourmet hot dogs. In 2012 the race used chip timing for the first time instead of finishing cards. It was also officially USAT&F certified, which required the turnaround to be moved 17 yards further out. Amelie Sharp has been the race director since 2019.
The new course record was set by 19-year-old Drew Williams, who beat second place by 4 minutes.
Start and finish on Hwy 143 in Roan Mountain State Park (North East of Johnson City). The course follows the highway downhill for 2 miles and then turns onto Heaton Creek Rd for one mile. At mile 3, a sharp left turn takes you up some steep hills to the mid-peak at 2900 feet. A steep descent takes you to Sugar Hollow Valley, with a rolling downhill back to Hwy 143. Two miles back up to an uphill finish at the Lodge. Considered the second-hardest course on the Tour.
The first race was scheduled in 1984, the week after Thanksgiving. However, the race was snowed in and had to be re-scheduled for March 2, 1985. Three years later, it became the last race of the fall season, replacing the discontinued Mountaineer 10K at Fall Creek Falls. Snow or sleet, the race was held every year with about 40–60 participants. In 1993, it became the first race until the start of the Halloween Hunt in 1995. In 2006 the date was switched with the new Pilot Knob and became the third week of October at the peak of the tree color changing. The course is USAT&F certified, but no personal records are expected. *In 2009, the course had to be changed to approximately 5 miles, due to ongoing road construction, up Highway 143 for 2.5 miles. After the race, many participants drive the 6 miles to the North Carolina state line and walk a few miles on the Appalachian Trail, where many interesting characters may be encountered. In 2015 this race was canceled but resumed in 2016 with Meg Guy as Race Director. After 2020 Bob Townsend became race director. Discontinued in 2023.
Start and finish at Overton Lodge on Standing Stone Lake, Hilham. Start across the lodge, following Morgan Creek to the turnaround at 1.5 miles. Continue past the starting line to a second turnaround at 3.7 miles. Same way back to the finish. Considered a fast and scenic course.
Originally, a 7.1-mile race, The Reindeer Stampede 7 Miler, started in 1995 as the last race before the Christmas break. It started at the crosswalk near the Recreation Hall and left the park going south on Hwy 52, then making Fletcher Circle, headed north on Hwy 52, passing the park entrance, and turning left at the next road. A few years later, the campground was paved, and the course was changed to The Reindeer Stampede 10K. It looped through the campground and headed out of the park to Hwy 52, making a right turn heading south to a turn-around, then heading back into the park, looping the campground again and finishing in the Hall. Runners complained of turning into the campground loop the second time when they could see the finish. So, the next year the course was changed again, leaving out the final loop of the campground and taking in Fletcher Circle from the original course, and finishing back at the Recreation Hall. In 2005 the date of the race was changed to mid-November, trading with the date of the Johnsonville Charge. This allowed for the use of Overton Lodge and the whole course to move down to the lake. The Reindeer Stampede name would no longer work because of the date change. The name Bigfoot Scramble 5 Miler was chosen because of the rumors of Bigfoot being spotted at Standing Stone. The course was certified in 2013. All courses were designed by Lynn Burnett, Livingston. The 2020 race was canceled due to COVID-19. New race director from 2023 is Dan Smithhisler.
Start and finish in Chickasaw State Park, Henderson. Start at the park entrance and Hwy 100, going down to Lake Placid and turning right to a turnaround at mile 1. Back to the lake, turning right across the dam and the beginning of 150 feet uphill at mile 2. At 2.8 miles, a sharp right turn follows Lost Trail Rd with minor rolling hills. At 4.2 miles, it follows Sunshine Rd for 0.2 miles to a second turnaround. Same way back with a big downhill to finish at the end of the dam.
The first race was held in 1996. The course was designed the year before by Jerry Witworth and John Sweeney. They used to run the course twice on Sunday mornings. Jerry's wife, Susie, named the race Chickasaw Chase. At that time, most of the roads were unpaved. In 1997 a snowfall made the course slippery and very muddy. Since then, participation has steadily increased, as it is one of the few 10-milers in Tennessee. In 2010 the temperature was 21 F at the start. Sometimes runners get lost because it is the Tour race with the fewest race workers per mile (less than one). In 2015 the distance was reduced from 10 miles to 6.6 miles, a Quarter Marathon, and Allyson Bell became the race director. The date was moved from January to November and then to October because it was always too cold. Despite these efforts, the morning of the 2016 event had a chilly 38 degrees.
In 2017 everyone wanted to start early because a bad storm was coming by noon. It actually did not come until 3 PM. The Lodge had been booked years in advance by other groups, so the race headquarters was moved to the parking lot shelter. Connor Gray, Jackson, has been the new race director since 2018, and we are back in the Lodge, except in 2022, when it was 34 degrees. Course Records.
Start and finish at the swimming pool lodge at Cumberland Mountain State Park, Crossville. After starting in the parking lot, the course goes out to a right turn on Hwy 419 and a steep uphill to a right turn on Hwy 127. At 2 miles, turn right on Old Mail Rd and follow a series of steep up-and-down hills to Coon Hollow Lane at mile 5. At the end of the road, turn right to connect with the park road. Rolling downhill to Hollow Branch bridge across Byrd Lake Dam on Hwy 419 and turn right to the finish at the Lodge. Considered the third-hardest course until The Bat.
This race began in 1979 with a start at the dam. The course was designed by Andy Lyon, the Park Ranger, with the help of Fred Gent and Steve Douglas. The race was added to the Tour in 1983. When the swimming pool lodge was built, the start was moved to its current location in the parking lot. In 2005 the start and finish were held at the Park Restaurant at Mile 6 of the old course, but otherwise identical. Most runners would prefer this location of the start because it puts the first hill at 1.5 miles instead of 0.5 miles. However, since 2007 the start and finish are back at the lodge. From 2015 Terry Walter was the Race Director, then Dan Smithhisler in 2018.
TIMS FORD DEER TRAIL
Start and finish at the Recreation Lodge at Tim's Ford State Park, Winchester. After the start at the lodge, the course loops behind the lodge and onto a trail that crosses the road and follows the picnic area down to the water. Follow the trail to a right turn on Tims Ford Drive to the Ranger’s Station. Turn sharp to the left and right at the end of the parking lot onto the Marble Plains walking trail. Follow the trail past the church to a turnaround at the overlook (mile 3). The same way back to finish at the Lodge.
This race started in 1987 as a 10K. It was previously known as the Mountaineer 10K and was held at Fall Creek Falls as the last race in the fall. The course was designed by Bob Alt. It went over the bridge and to a turnaround loop. In 2005 the course was changed to a turnaround on the outlook trail behind the Welcome Center. The shorter distance required that the course circle the Lodge at both start and finish while still making 6 miles.
OVER THE RIVER
Start at the Park Lodge. Follow Lodge Rd onto Hwy 79 N and go across the bridge to a turnaround at the Water Station. Turn left back on Lodge Rd and then right on Bridgeview Rd. Go on to the overpass and turn right at the marina parking area. Turn right at Ship's Store, then right to Fitzhugh Bridge Relic loop. Back the same way. After crossing over Hwy 79 N, turn right at Scenic Cove. Follow this road to the cabin loop on the top of the hill. The same way back past the Convention Center to finish at Lodge Rd. During the construction of the new Inn, the start and finish lines were moved to the swimming pool area parking lot, which invalidates the certification.
The inaugural race was held in 2007 and sponsored by the Paris Chamber of Commerce. It had 47 finishers during pouring rain. Participation has increased every year. The race did not become part of the Running Tour until 2008 when it had 83 finishers. The following year had 138 finishers. The course was USAT&F certified in 2010. In 2010, it was 24 mph sleet from the south and 35 F. Many state age records are set every year after 8 Miles became a recognized distance in 2009. In 2017 a new male course record was set. Then in 2019, the Woodmans bettered their own course records. From 2020 Jay Hosford is the race director. The 2021 race was held 8 hours after a tornado killed 100 people 30 miles north of the park. Back to the new Inn in 2022.
Start and finish at the vending machine building of Davy Crockett's Birthplace State Park, Limestone, TN. The course goes East on Davy Crockett Road to continue on Keebler Rd. At 1.2 miles, turn right on Smith Bridge Rd to a turnaround at 1.8 miles. Continue on Keebler Rd to a second turnaround at mile 3. Go straight back to the finished.
Initiated by Friends of Davy Crockett Birthplace in 2007. The course was redesigned by Bob Townsend, Limestone. At the start of the inaugural race on December 15, 2007, Mountain Men in buckskin fired two muzzle loaders across the starting line. In the inaugural race, the lead runners were blocked by a passing train. Therefore, a new course was designed with no railroad crossings. The course was shortened to 5 miles and contained two out-and-back sections, where you get to adjust your strategy for the winning kick. The 2019 race had a record 147 finishers.
HILL AND DALE
Start and finish at the Park Lodge on Grassy Lake Rd at Meeman-Shelby Forest, Millington (Memphis). Starting south to a turnaround on the Poplar Tree Lake levee (mile 1). Going back past the starting line (mile 2) to the left, turn onto the bike trail. At 2.8 miles, the course goes very steeply down 100 feet via switchbacks to the flood plain. After 0.5 miles, it goes up to connect with Piersol Rd (mile 4) to a second turnaround at the first picnic shelter by Piersol Lake (mile 5). Same way back to the finish. Considered an interesting and relatively fast course in spite of its two extremely steep spots.
One of the original 4 races of the tour, starting in 1979. Course design by Pete Shearon. Before Chickasaw Chase, it was the first and largest race of the spring season. It was canceled in 1999 because of an ice storm that felled numerous trees across the path. Approximately 20 runners showed up anyway and ran the course. Participation was in steady decline until 2005 when, again, it was promoted by Memphis Runners Track Club and, in particular, by its race director, Rachel Ragan. Since 2012, the race has been directed by Andrew Forsdick. In April 2019, Flanigan became the race director. 2020 saw a record 565 finishers under perfect running conditions. Cool 40 degrees and sunshine. However, the first out and back mile was blocked by a fallen tree, and the same distance was added to the second turnaround at Piersol Lake. The new course was certified and used from then on.
No longer on the Running Tour from 2023.
TRAIL OF TEARS
Start and finish at the lodge of the Red Clay State Historic Area, Cleveland. After a rolling downhill to the Georgia state line, a 260 feet uphill begins. Once at the top, the course is mostly downhill to the finish. Turn right on Lead Mine Rd at mile 2. Turn right onto Hwy 317 at mile 3. Turn right at mile 5 on Weatherly Switch, then right back on Red Clay Rd. Some minor rolling hills to the finish. An interesting course with one major hill and lots of frogs and cows along the way.
The race was started in 1989 by Jim Ruth and Arnold Truelove. The first Running Tour race was held in 1991. Course design by Jim Ruth, who was the race director until 1996, when Arnold Truelove took over. He stayed on for 10 years when Jasen Parks became director. The course was originally a 5 miler and was run in the opposite direction. In 1993 some runners suggested it was better to have half a mile uphill followed by 4 miles downhill than the other way around. Three times the race was postponed a week because of snow. It was announced as a 7-miler, but the last mile was always a minute short. In 2009 the race was held without a race director. The first 10 runners failed to make the second turn and ran 7.3 miles. Judy White was the race director from 2010-2011. In 2012 race director was Matt Davies of Cleveland, TN. In 2013 James Zahn became the race director. He lengthened the course to 7.0 Miles by starting at the picnic shelter. Since 2017 Dan Smithhisler has been the race director. Roger Gall from 2024.
FALL CREEK THAW
Start and finish at the Inn of Fall Creek Falls State Park, Pikeville. One loop around the gorge perimeter, with two quarter-mile out and back loops at miles 2 and 8. After starting at Land Side Cabin Rd, turn right on Main Park Rd. After 1 mile, turn left on Gorge Scenic Drive. Go straight to Piney Creek Falls overlook turnaround. Turn left back on Gorge Scenic Drive. At Falls Creek Falls overlook, turn right at the parking lot, continuing on Gorge Scenic Drive. Just before the loop split (mile 6), turn left onto a bike trail. At mile 7, turn sharply right across a wooden bridge and follow a bike trail to Main Park Road. Turn left across the dam. Turn around the grassy median at the dam parking lot. Return across the dam (mile 8) and turn left on the bike trail, following the shoreline to the finish. Considered the most scenic of all Running Tour courses.
New Course for 2021, while a new Inn is still under construction. Start and finish at Campground Visitor Center across the lake. GPS coordinates 35.65503 and -85.35525.
One of the original four races of the Running Tour. It was also one of the most popular events in the 1980s, with 400 runners for several years. The course was designed by Bill Chief and Jon Eiche and organized by Chattanooga Track Club. From 1986 the race was directed by Monte Lowe of Eagle Kountry Running Club, Cookeville, and after 1996 by Tony Cox, Mt Juliet. In 2006 the race management was taken over by MachTenn RC, Tullahoma. Recent race directors were Bob Alt, Mike Niederhauser, and Roger Gall. In 2015 the bike path was iced over, and an all-road course was used measuring 9.6 miles. In 2018 - 2022 alternate courses were used while the new Inn was being built. Back at the new Inn on the original course in 2024.
Start and finish at the one-table shelter at New Johnsonville Historic Area, Waverly. After starting on the main access road, the course goes to a turnaround before the railroad crossing by Hwy 70. Same way back. Flat, fast, and deemed to be the easiest of all courses on the Running Tour, despite the unpaved, gravel road.
It was finally paved in 2023.
The race was originally started and designed by Paul Haase in 1992 and called Nathan Bedford Forrest Charge. The name was changed in 1995 in order to not be confused with Nathan Bedford State Park across the river. The race was organized by Waverly Rotary Club. The race is famous for its lack of a real shelter and fabulous post-race beef stew. Used to be known for having the oldest race workers on tour, with an average age of approx. 70+. After Paul's 2005 fatal bicycle crash while warming up for the National Senior Olympic Triathlon Championship in Pittsburgh, the race was managed by Clarksville Running Club. In 2008 the race was managed by Mike Bell and Jackson Road Runners. The race was taken over in 2009 by Tennessee Valley Road Runners, Waverley, and moved to February 2010. The flood of May 2010 washed out the road, but it was restored in time for the 2011 event. In 2012, Amy Wimmer's (Cox) course record (31 26) from 1996 was broken. In 2013 Kirsten bettered her own record by another 13 seconds. In 2014 Angela Redden became the new race director. Her husband, Bill, is the director for 2019. The route was changed slightly in 2017 when a new park entrance was built on Nell Beard Rd. The new course was certified in 2021, with the start, finish, and turnaround moved back closer to the parking areas.
Start and finish at the Assembly Hall across from the playground. The USAT&F-certified course starts at Assembly Hall across from the playground on Cedars Forest Rd, going north. Turn left on Burnt House Rd. Continue past the swimming pool onto Cedars Forest Rd. Turn around about 300 yards past Mile 3 and return to turn left on Sue Warren Trail. Turn left on E Richmond Shop Rd, then right on Dude Trail, which becomes Laura Thompson Trail. Continue straight past the church on Hurricane Creek Rd. Veer right at Jennings Pond Rd to a turnaround past Hurricane Creek Bridge. Return the same way to turn left on E Richmond Shop Rd. Turn right on Stable Rd to turn left back on Cedars Forest Rd. Turn left at the swimming pool on Cedars Forest Rd to finish down the hill, the same as the start.
Inaugural race was in 2008, with 375 finishers. In 2009 there were 335 finishers. In 2010 the direction was reversed in order to have the runners more spread out before entering Hwy 231. There were 468 in 2010. The race used chip timing for the first time in 2011, with 738 registered. The first 2 miles were covered with ice. The 2012 race had a strong, cold wind from the North, making for a brutal last 3 miles. In 2013 running on Highway 231 was eliminated by having a turnaround on Hurricane Rd at Jennings Pond Rd. Return to the finish via Dude Trail and E Richmond Shop Rd. In 2014 Melissa Begin's 5-year-old course record was broken by Gisela Olalde.
In 2016 a new state age record for the distance was set by 14-year-old Diego Zuazua from Nolensville, TN. The new race director from 2020 to 2022 was Vickie Spickard and Dan Smithhisler from 2023.
TWO LAKES RUN
The course starts and finishes at the swimming area parking lot, out and back to Campground 1. Turn left on Hotel Avenue, then left on Jackson Hill Road. Continue straight on Camp 1 Road. Turn around 50 yards before the last curve before the campground entrance. Same way back.
This Running Tour event started as a half-marathon in 1979, sponsored by Nashville Striders. It was discontinued in 2007. The race was resurrected the same year as a 7.5-mile trail run with John Spencer as race director. It was discontinued in 2017. It was resurrected as a 10K on the current course in 2019 with Angela Redden, race director.
The War Party
Two loops on a 5K course in Warriors Path State Park, Kingsport. Start at the lodge, going out to a right turn on Warrior Drive. Turn left at the top of the hill and go across the parking lot of the old drive-in cinema. Turn left back on Warrior Drive down the hill and go past the island connector to a turnaround at the end of the road. Go back and turn right over the connector, then right and circle the island back to the start. Repeat the same loop for a second time. Finish behind the lodge. Considered a fast and easy course.
This race was a 5K before it became part of the Running Tour in 1988.
The course was designed by Frank Cooke, Kingsport, who made it into a 10K by running the same course twice. In 2006 the finish line was moved from the front of the Lodge to the back, and a walkers award category was added. The course was certified in 1994 as TN94008RH and rectified in 2015 as TN15008MS.
Booth, the 2014 and 2015 races were snowed in and had to be rescheduled. Therefore, in 2015 the date was moved to October instead of the date of Roan Mountain 10K, which was discontinued. In 2016 The War Party was moved back to February. In 2018 Liza Hazlett became race director after Matthew Studholme, who had moved to Chattanooga.
RACE ON THE TRACE
Start on Pin Oak Lodge Rd at the intersection of Pin Oak Lake Rd, going to a turnaround right before Mays Chapel Rd (1 mile). Go back past the start to a one-mile loop at 2.5 miles. Back at the starting line at 4.5 miles, turn right, a steep downhill to the finish at the Lodge and Restaurant. Considered a moderately varying course with a fast last mile.
First race was held in 1985. The course was designed by David Thomas, Jackson Road Runners. In 2004 the park was officially closed but opened anyway for races by volunteer rangers and staff. In 2013 the 1992 female course record of Shannon Reade (30 32) was finally broken by Kirsten Sass. Since 2017 Danny Crossett has been the race director. In 2020, Kiera set a new course record, bettering Kirsten's record by 43 seconds.