Chattanooga Honored As 2013 Runner Friendly Community

Friday, January 17, 2014 - by John Hunt

Friday, January 17 was a Red Letter day for the city of Chattanooga and the Chattanooga Track Club in particular as the Scenic City was honored as the 2013 Runner Friendly Community by the Road Runners Club of America.

The track club submitted a bid several months ago  to the RRCAin regard to this latest honor.

The RRCA considered the bid and all of the recommendations and data associated with it.

  Chattanooga was then named as the RRCA’s 2013 Runner Friendly Community, winning out over more than a thousand running clubs across America governed by this national organization.

There was a special gathering at Outdoor Chattanooga on Friday morning where members of the track club, officials from the City of Chattanooga and other interested persons watched as this latest honor was made official.

Chas Webb, the current president of the Chattanooga Track Club, presided over the press conference where he began by welcoming those in attendance.

Bill Brock, a former CTC president and president-elect for the coming year, then made a detailed presentation about the history of running in the Chattanooga area.

The CTC, which currently has more than 1,000 members, supports a lot of charitable organizations in the Chattanooga area.  It also promotes running and running events across Hamilton County with distances ranging from one mile to the marathon. 

The Waterfront Triathlon and the Chickamauaga Battlefield Marathon have become two of the biggest events with competitors coming from all across America to compete. 

Brock’s presentation was then  followed by County Mayor Jim Coppinger, who made a proclamation on behalf of the city of Chattanooga and Hamilton County, proclaiming Friday, January 17 as the official Runner Friendly Community Day.

The Chattanooga Track Club has been a viable member of this community since the mid 1960’s.  The late great Joe McGinness, who was a nationally-ranked marathoner and one of the founding members of the CTC, got the whole thing started with a group of runners who used to meet at Chickamauga Park every Saturday morning for training runs.

One thing led to another and eventually friendly competition was started between runners in Chattanooga, Atlanta, Knoxville, Huntsville, Nashville and Birmingham.  There are several signature events for the Chattanooga Track Club that started during that time and are still going strong, including the Chickamauga Chase 15K, the Chattanooga Chase 8K and the Missionary Ridge Race, a unique out-and-back 4.7-mile race.

The Chickamauga Battlefield Marathon was added to that list in 1980 and has become of the premier marathons in the Southeast.

Currently, the CTC schedule has 14 running events every year in addition to social events and a year-end banquet where outstanding members and runners are recognized and honored.  Those runners of the year are recognized with the Joe McGinness Runner of the Year awards.

Webb smiles from ear-to-ear when he talks about the past year and the way things have boomed for the CTC.

“This is a great honor for all runners in Chattanooga.  We’re lucky in that we have a lot of passionate and dedicated runners in this area and it’s the people here who make this honor possible,” he explained afterward.

“2013 has been an incredible year for the Chattanooga Track Club and this honor just caps it off for us.  I’m all smiles right now,” he concluded.

The first race on the 2014 CTC schedule is the Scenic City Half-Marathon, which starts and finishes at Finley Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 22.

(Email John Hunt at nomarathonmoose@comcast.net)


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