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Everyone won at Yamacraw Trail Race

The Yamacraw trail race was a huge success for everyone involved. Nearly 400 runners registered to run the trails around McCreary County. 

Almost 400 intrepid outdoor enthusiasts populated the trails Saturday as part of the inaugural Yamacraw Trail Race, a competitive trek through the scenic trails of McCreary County.

Hosted by the McCreary County Tourism Commission and Ultranaut Running of Knoxville, the race featured a 50K race for seasoned runners, and a shorter 10K event geared toward the more casual runner.

Runners from across the country entered the big event, which drew scores of racers and their families to the area this past weekend.

Despite the damp conditions, very few injuries or incidents were reported, with nothing more than blisters, sprained ankles and a few cuts and bruises occurring along the course.

In the 50K race, 79 individuals completed the scenic 31 mile course with times ranging from 5 to 10 hours as the runners traveled from Lick Creek, to Yahoo Falls, Alum Ford, Yamacraw, Rock Creek on to a picture-perfect finish line across the tipple bridge at Mine 18.

Thomas Morgan, of Lexington, finished the 50K with the fastest overall time of just 5:02:10, followed 21 minutes later by second-place finisher Matt Hoyes of Bardstown.

The top female finisher was Megan Rieger of Cincinnati with a time of 5:39:19.

The shorter, 10K race showcased the scenic splendor of the Blue Heron Loop Trail covering 6.3 miles.

Doug Daniel, of Arden, North Carolina led the pack with a 48:13 finish to win the event. Knoxville’s Kevin Sprouse placed second, just 24 seconds behind the leader. Debora Jackson, of Richmond, was the top female finisher, crossing the line in just under an hour – 59:57.

Whitley City’s Shawn Frazee was the top local finisher, coming in 35th overall and 20th in his division with a time of 1:21:48. Patty Kidd, of Strunk, finished with a time of 1:22:11 to place 37th overall and 17th among women racers.

McCreary County Judge Executive Doug Stephens said the event was a success and believes it will have long-term benefits for McCreary County.

“I think it was fantastic,” he said. “To see the excitement of the competitors on race day was priceless.”

Stephens said he had spoken to several of the racers and all expressed their enthusiasm for the race to become an annual event. He stated the race organizers share the interest, and a return engagement is a strong possibility.

Judge Stephens noted the positive effect the race had on the local economy as well.

“I think every lodging establishment in the county was nearly filled,” he said. “A lot of people were introduced to our area, and I think they were impressed.”

Stephens also complimented the scores of volunteers who helped organize and support the race.

“The number of volunteers that helped was very impressive,” he said. “I am so proud of our people.”

McCreary County Tourism Director Adam Phillips echoed Stephens’ praise of the event.

“It was a great success,” he said. “All the racers talked about how wonderful it was. They are already asking about how to register for next year. I hope it will become an annual event.”

“Everyone came together to make this a wonderful event. We learned a lot, and as we go forward we can only make it better.”

For more pictures and race results, please see page B1.

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