The second annual Yamacraw Run, hosted in the Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork National River and Recreational Area in McCreary County, Kentucky, are set for Saturday, April 9. With all three scheduled races sold out and an additional thirty runners standing by on a waiting list, this year’s Yamacraw event has doubled capacity from the 2015 inaugural event.
According to race organizer Brian Gajus of Ultranaut Running based in Knoxville, TN, there are approximately 460 racers from across the nation and Canada registered to run the Yamacraw the weekend of April 8. Currently, registered runners include those from Florida, Wisconsin, Arkansas, Maryland, and elsewhere. In addition to a 50K (32.2 miles) point to point race which begins at the Lick Creek Falls Trailhead, meanders through Yahoo Falls, and ultimately ends at the Blue Heron Mining Tipple, the event also offers a 10K and a 20K race.
As runners begin arriving in McCreary County on Friday, April 8, they can expect to see a few changes in this year’s races. With this year’s event doubling capacity, the headquarters will be based out of the Stearns Depot to accommodate additional runners. This year’s event also features a new 20K run. The 50K race will begin at 7:00 a.m., earlier than last year, in an effort to draw runners and visitors to the county for a week-end experience. Gajus also said there is improved technology to better track the runners this year. A post-race event will be held at the Stearns Heritage Hall on Saturday night with a Waffle Breakfast at Kristina’s Kitchen in Whitley City on Sunday.
Currently, organizers and county volunteers are busy checking and clearing trails for the event. Gajus said volunteers are still needed. This year, organizers are asking volunteers (businesses, non-profits, etc.) to sponsor five aid stations along the 50K route. Runners will vote for their favorite aid station after finishing the race, and the aid station receiving the most votes will receive a check made out to their favorite non-profit. Those wishing to volunteer at an aid station can contact Gajus at the Yamacraw Facebook page or contact Adam Phillips, McCreary County Tourism Director.
Gajus’ goal is for the Yamacraw Run to become a premiere racing event drawing elite runners to southeastern Kentucky.
“I’ve been coming here for years to hike and camp,” Gajus commented about his efforts to host a premiere race in the area. “I have a real passion for this area.”
During last year’s event, many runners expressed their enthusiasm about the race and the natural beauty of McCreary County.