See pictures from the race on our Yamacraw Run post.
Runners from all across the nation woke to a chilly, spring, Saturday morning in McCreary County as they readied themselves for the second annual Yamacraw Trail Races.
With kick off at the Lick Creek Trailhead at 7:00 a.m. for the 50K race, more than 130 runners braved more than thirty-one miles of trails from Lick Creek, to Yahoo Falls, Alum Ford, Yamacraw, Rock Creek, and on to the finish line across the tipple bridge at Mine 18. Zig-zagging through the wooded trails, racers remarked on the natural beauty of the area and noted the colorful presence of blooming wildflowers, dogwoods, and redbud trees.
Tim Hill of Knoxville finished first in the 50K as he burst across the finish line in just over four hours.
The 20K run featured an abbreviated version of the 50K by taking runners through Lick Creek to Yamacraw and on to Blue Heron.
And more than 100 runners competed in the 10K, covering about 6. 3 miles of the Blue Heron Loop trail.
With aid stations set up at strategic points along the race routes, local members of the community volunteered to serve food, water and encouragement to the racers. Hoping to add a little humor at a critical point in the 50K race, the Yamacraw aid station posted a sign congratulating 50 K runners on reaching the 1,134,144 inch mark of the race and encouraging them to complete the next 906,048 inches to the finish line.
Following a day filled with running, trail racers and their families, local volunteers, and race organizers packed the Stearns Community Hall for an evening of fun. Featuring BBQ and entertainment, the after party provided the perfect avenue for racers to share their Yamacraw experiences. On Sunday, several attended a special brunch at Kristina’s Kitchen in Whitley City.
The contestants surely seemed to enjoy the race, as well as the scenery along the course.
One runner from Maryland commented the race was now her favorite 50k. “Beautiful, scenery, challenging course and fantastic aid stations,” she said. “I’m so glad I could run around in the woods of Kentucky all day.”
Another racer, from Tennessee, encouraged others to put the Yamacraw on their must-do list: “Yamacraw should totally be on your list for next spring,” he said. “The course is just super perfect.”
McCreary County Tourism Director Adam Phillips called the second-Annual race a “huge success” and is already anticipating next year’s event, which could get even bigger.
“Everything I have heard from the racers was they loved the area and the trails,” he said. “And most of them said they wanted to come back to McCreary County to enjoy our natural beauty.”
Phillips also was pleased with the overall economic impact the event had for the county.
“We had more than 400 racers on the trails, and most of those brought friends or family for support, so there was a definite impact.”
“Just about every available room in the county was booked, and local restaurants and stores saw more traffic than they probably would have over the weekend.”
“It is clear that events like this have a very significant impact on our economy,” he said.
In the 50K race, 138 runners completed the course, led by Tim Hill of Knoxville who set a race record with a finish in 4:40:57.
Lisa Blevins was the only McCreary Countian to finish the punishing course, crossing the line with a time of 10:42:28.
129 racers crossed the line in the 20K race, with Andrew Snow of Asheville, North Carolina leading the pack with a time of 1:40:57.
Several locals bested the course as well: Johanne Tuttle Tyson, of Strunk, finished fifth overall and second in the female division with a time of 2:02:23. Other local finishers included: Shawn Frazee, of Whitley City, 2:46:48. Jessica Walker, Whitley City, 3:11:06. John Keith, Stearns, 3:23:29. Duffy Sutton, Stearns, 3:32:28. Lisa Ball, Whitley City, 3:44:03. Trey Ball, Whitley City, 4:06:57, and Whitney Tucker, Whitley City, 4:07:37.
In the 10K run, Matt Sims of Signal Mountain, Tennessee took top honors with a 47:01 finish, followed closely by Pine Knot’s own Lucian Musgrove less than two minutes behind – 48:15. Jordan Tucker, Marshes Siding, 48:52 (4th), Codey Phillips, Stearns, 54:24 (7th), and Harley Waters, Pine Knot, 55:41 (9th) were other top-10 placers in the race.
Aiden Tucker, of Marshes Siding, placed 12th with a time of 59:14 and was one of the youngest racers on the course at 14-years old.
Other locals finishing the 10K included: Emily Chamberlain, Whitley City, 1:02:54, Dillon Vanover, Whitley City, 1:07:23. Zach Gibson, Stearns, 1;10:17. Jason Bryant, Whitley City, 1:15:09. Jennifer Simpson, Pine Knot, 1:21:59. Carla Kapusta, Strunk, 1:27:19. Alex Bryant, Whitley City, 1:27:42. Sharon Nelson, Stearns, 1:35:04. Carmen Galloway, Pine Knot, 1:37:28. Melissa Phillips, Pine Knot, 1:56:31 and Hope Bryant, Whitley City, 1:56:43.