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It’s the Yamacraw

Hundreds Will Visit County during Annual Trail Races on Saturday

By Eugenia Jones

Coinciding with the blossoming of McCreary County redbuds, the annual Yamacraw Trail Races are expected to once again draw hundreds of eager racers and their families from across the nation to historic Stearns, Kentucky for marathon runs throughout the rugged and scenic terrains of the Daniel Boone National Forest and Big South Fork River and Recreation Area.
Sponsored by Ultranaut Running, a small, grass-roots organization located in Knoxville, Tennessee dedicated to the sport of trail running, the Yamacraw Trail Races are organized by race director Brian Gajus. With all three of this year’s races already sold-out, approximately 600 runners have registered and paid fees for the opportunity to compete in either the 50K, 20K, or 10K race. All three races will take place on Saturday April 7, 2018. This year, racers in the 50K have an extra incentive to finish in the lead as cash prizes are being offered for the first time to the men and women’s top three finishers. First, second, and third place finishers (male & female) will receive $1,000, $500, and $250 respectively.
The Yamacraw 50K race will kick off at 7:30 a.m. at the Lick Creek Trailhead and end at the Blue Heron Mining Community in Blue Heron. The actual distance of the race is closer to a 53K as it comes in at almost 33 miles. The route takes runners through many water crossings with 3,809 feet of elevation gain. The racers will finish the 50K by crossing the 100 foot high pedestrian bridge at Blue Heron. With an eleven hour cutoff time for the race, there are multiple aid stations throughout the route.
At 8:30 a.m., the Yamacraw 20K racers begin their journey at the Lick Creek Trailhead. The racers will cross over Rock Creek and finish at Blue Heron. The course, with 12.6 miles, shares approximately six miles with the 50K route. There are two aid stations and a five hour cutoff time for the 20K.
Racers in the 10K sprint out at 9:45 a.m. and follow the Blue Heron Loop Trail. The 6.4 mile race route has one aid station. Top male and female finishers will receive special awards with all those who finish receiving finishers’ awards.
Racers are expected to arrive in Stearns on Friday April 6 beginning at 3:00 p.m. to sign in, receive runner packets, and attend an optional pre-race runners’ meeting at the Stearns Heritage Hall. A street festival with food and vendors on Henderson Street is planned with an after race celebration for racers being held at the Heritage Hall on Saturday beginning at 5:00 p.m. Kristina’s Kitchen in Whitley City will host the traditional Yamacraw Waffle Brunch on Sunday from 9:00 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.

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