Rock/Creek Outfitters’ annual 50-kilometer StumpJump trail race draws a record number of runners and raises $3000 towards the completion of the Cumberland Trail, a corridor of hiking and backpacking trails spanning over 300 miles through Tennessee and into Kentucky.
Chattanooga, TN (PRWEB) October 16, 2006 – In its 5th year, the Stump Jump 50k and 11 mile trail race hosted by Rock/Creek Outfitters (www.rockcreek.com) was a huge success, drawing over 350 runners from across the country to take part in the event on Saturday, October 7th. The Stump Jump was founded as a fundraiser for the Cumberland Trail Conference’s ongoing effort to complete a network of hiking and backpacking trails that, once complete, will traverse over 300 miles beginning in Cumberland Gap National Park (KY) and stretching south across the Cumberland Plateau to Prentice Cooper Wildlife Management Area, just outside of Chattanooga, TN. Today Rock/Creek Outfitters presented the Cumberland Trail Conference with a $3000 check to aid in this effort.
As a public-private partnership, the Cumberland Trail is being built and maintained by a cooperative effort of the CTC and the state of Tennessee. In addition to providing multiple recreational opportunities, this protected greenway will act as a buffer to protect water quality and provide natural habitat for animals.
Dawson Wheeler, co-owner of Rock/Creek Outfitters, remarked “Rock/Creek is proud to be able to make a significant contribution to this cause.” He also praised the support of the local community, “The race would not have been possible without the joint efforts of Nolan Elementary School, Hamilton County Parks Department, the Town of Signal Mountain, John Glass and Scout Troop # 60, as well as a sea of volunteers lead by the Chattanooga Track Club.” In addition to local efforts, the sponsor list was a who’s who of the outdoor industry (see list below). “We absolutely would not have raised this much money for the CTC without the help of our volunteers and sponsors,” Wheeler said.
Both Wheeler and Race Director, Jamie Sanders, praised the people of Chattanooga and Signal Mountain for their hospitality toward all the out of town racers. “It really is rewarding to get feedback from racers about how polite and helpful the entire community is,” Sanders remarked; “Whether trying to find a hotel, eat in our restaurants or ask directions, our racers sing praises about the people of Hamilton County.” Both owners of Rock/Creek Outfitters, Dawson Wheeler and Marvin Webb, are long time residents of Signal Mountain and Walden and were very pleased with the racers’ feedback about their home. Wheeler and Sanders also agreed that the rangers of Prentice Cooper State Forest went above and beyond what was necessary to host the event. “We have an amazing resource called the Prentice Cooper State Forest. We should never take it for granted,” Wheeler explained; “And the people that oversee the forest are equally as important.”
Feedback from the event was overwhelmingly positive. Jim Farmer, local Adventure Racing guru and Captain of Rock/Creek Outfitters’ Adventure Racing Team, summed it up well: “This is an epic race in an epic place, and I’m just glad to be a part of it.”
Sanders also pointed out that for weeks prior to race day, volunteers, led by the Rock/Creek Race team and with the help of avid local trail runners, cleared trails, cut dead fall trees, and fought off the yellow jackets to keep the trail clear. Again, this effort was supported by the rangers of Prentice Cooper and volunteers from the Cumberland Trail Conference.
Over 250 people were present for the carbo supper at Rock/Creek’s downtown location the night before the race. Salomon and Rock/Creek sponsored the food while Patagonia sponsored a slideshow from ultra-runner, John Stamstad.
Next year’s race is scheduled for 0ctober 6th, 2007. The race director, Jamie Sanders, emphasized that this year’s race was full and registering early would be important for next year’s competitors. “We cap the Stump Jump for two reasons,” Sanders explained; “to insure a quality experience for the racers and more importantly to reduce the environmental impact on our trail system.” Rock/Creek also hosts the River Gorge Race, an 11 and 6.2-mile trail run, in the Spring. This race, scheduled for Saturday, March 31st, 2007, is also expected to fill up quickly.
Paul Freeman, Executive Director of the Cumberland Trail Conference, said the funds raised this year will go toward completing the Rock Possum to Soddy Daisy portion of the trail. Freeman also mentioned the CTC’s Spring Break programs, where “over 15 colleges from around the country send an average of 12-18 students to work on the trail.” The money raised at the Stump Jump will help feed and house these student volunteers.
Rock/Creek Outfitters would like to thank all Stump Jump sponsors: Mountain Hardwear, Patagonia, The North Face, Chaco, Marmot, CamelBak, Keen, Smartwool, Salomon, Montrail, Optic Nerve, Deuter, Fast Break, Pruett’s Grocery, Nolan Elementary, Hamilton County Parks & Recreation, Boy Scout Troop #60, the Cumberland Trail Conference, Chattanooga Track Club, Crumpler Bags, Larabar, Powerade, Hammer Nutrition, Suunto, La Sportiva, and Oakley.
For more information on the Stump Jump 50K and the Cumberland Trail, visit: www.rockcreek.com/StumpJump
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.