Registration opens for Cades Cove Loop Lope

Friends of Great Smoky Mountains National Park invites runners to register for the first and only Cades Cove Loop Lope on Sunday, April 25. Registration is powered by Active.com, and registration will take place online at www.active.com/5k-race/townsend-tn/cades-cove-loop-lope-2010. Registration for the race is open now.

For this event there will be no race day registration. Participation is limited by the 150 parking spaces available in Cades Cove for the race. Ride share is encouraged so that as many runners as possible may participate in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Friends of the Smokies is utilizing the team registration function on Active.com to issue the 150 car passes, which will be sent via U.S. Mail to the first 150 teams to register. One car pass will be issued per team. “A team consists of two or more participants. Teams will ride together but are not required to race together, since team members can register for either the 5K or 10 mile course option,” explains Friends’ Marketing Director Holly Scott.

Vehicle access to Cades Cove before noon on Sunday, April 25, will require one of the special Cades Cove Loop Lope car passes. A checkpoint will be installed at the Townsend Wye for verification. After 12 p.m. on Sunday, April 25, the road will open to normal traffic.

A very limited number of mass transit spots will be offered through a partnership with Cades Cove Heritage Tours. Those registrants will receive a shuttle pass via U.S. Mail rather than a car pass. The company will provide both of its 19-passenger shuttles to transport runners from the Townsend Visitors Center that morning. Registration for the mass transit option will not be available on Active.com. It will begin today, Monday, April 12. For more information on this option please e-mail Holly Scott at fotshb@bellsouth.net.

The registration price for either the 5K course or the full 10 mile loop run is $60 per person. Proceeds from the Cades Cove Loop Lope will benefit a variety of programs in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, like education, trail maintenance, and natural and cultural resource conservation.

Runners will receive a special t-shirt, a reusable shopping bag filled with goodies, and a very special race medallion. Prizes will be awarded to the overall male and female 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers for both races, as well as the top finishers in each age category.

“This is something that runners have requested for years, but the Park has declined to permit it because of the enormous popularity of the Cove,” says Friends president, JimHart. “The Park decided to offer us this opportunity in celebration of the Loop Road’s first major renovation in over 30 years. The Park confirmed just last week that construction would be finished a month ahead of schedule, so we had a very small window to pull it all together. We could not have done it without the support of Kristy Altman and the Knoxville Track Club.”

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