Do your part to help the parks

Tanner Cook • Jul 7, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Have you ever thought about how running can help out at city or even state parks?

Take a run at either Bays Mountain Park in Kingsport or Buffalo Mountain Park in Johnson City and you’re going to find that some of the trails have been littered.

You can contribute to trail cleanup by doing it yourself or by notifying a park ranger that a certain area of the trail is continually littered upon.

Another aspect is helping trail management. Some local parks have miles of trail systems that is almost impossible to keep up with. If someone running was to be courteous enough to alert trail crews or park rangers about areas with low-hanging limbs, areas with exposed roots on the trail, vandalism, drug use, etc., the trails would be a lot safer.

Our parks and trail systems are an important asset to the area’s overall beauty and desirability. There is no reason that the trails should be abused.

One of the most underappreciated aspects of state parks and some city parks is the lengths that the staff goes through to ensure the safety of visitors. For instance, Bays Mountain has a sign in/out log. If used properly, the staff knows who is in the park at what time and when they leave.

Runners, walkers and everyone in between can do their part to help out local city and state parks in order to keep our natural areas beautiful.


If I go on vacation, it usually centers around a race because I think regular vacations are rather boring. There is a term for this and it is commonly referred to as a “runcation.”

One of my most recent “runcations” was to the beautiful state of Vermont where I competed in the Covered Bridges Half Marathon in Woodstock. This quaint little town is exactly what New England should look like.

The course was net downhill and passed three covered bridges along the way. The race passed through three small communities that were more than welcoming to the runners. I’ve done several races in the New England area including the Falmouth Road Race and this was by far the best experience I have ever had. It also enhances my review that I ended up winning the race and setting a new personal best for the half marathon.

If you would like to experience the Covered Bridges atmosphere as well, registration opens up in early December and the race usually sells out the 1,800 available spots in less than 15 minutes. The race is scheduled in 2020 for June 7 and is well worth every penny.


Ballad Health and Niswonger Children’s Hospital Crazy 8s 8K Run (Kingsport, July 13): The crown jewel of local road racing returns this year with the new, flatter course running through Kingsport. There are several practice runs coming up that go the route of the new figure-eight loop and will provide a sneak peak of sorts to those that attend. The race is scheduled to go off at 8:58 p.m. in front of Dobyns-Bennett to kick off the 30th running of the “World’s Fastest 8K.”

Wolf Run 7 mile Trail Run (Kingsport, July 16): The other race that is part of Kingsport Fun Fest is a quick turnaround after Crazy 8s and has a different feel to it, being on the trail at Bays Mountain Park. The race always has great reviews and Mark Skelton always runs a first-class event.

For more information, visit www.runtricities.org or www.werunevents.com for upcoming road races in the Tri-Cities area and beyond.

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