The Alabama Scenic River Trail will host the first Terrapin Tri-County Adventure Race on Sept. 18. The race will consist of three events: a 10K run through the Pinhoti National Recreation Hiking trail; a 1.5-mile kayak paddle through the Terrapin Creek Canoe Trail; and a 33.8-mile bike race through the Chief Ladiga Trail. The race will finish at the Eubanks Welcome Center in Piedmont.
“There's only one place in Alabama that's the confluence of three of our most famous trails," said Jim Felder, executive director of the Alabama Scenic River Trail. "There's no other place in Alabama that comes close.”
Officials with the organization hope the race will continue as an annual event.
Fred Couch, president of organization and director of the race, said first-year races normally have around 30 to 40 participants. However, he said his organization is shooting for 100 competitors.
Couch said the race is registered with USA Triathlon, the national governing body for multi-sport events. He said organizers of the Adventure Race are also working to have it recognized as one of the national association’s 3,000 sanctioned races.
“I think it will be a quality race,” he said. “It should be a lot of fun, and it should be quite a challenge.”
Couch said he hopes the local race will generate somewhere between $10,000 and $12,000 for the Alabama Scenic River Trail.
Felder said the Alabama Scenic River Trail is a nonprofit 501c3 organization, and all of the money will go toward continuing the organization’s mission. That will include providing rural areas with signs and materials to build boat drops, updating a guidebook to the state’s rivers, and promoting and funding next year’s adventure race.
Felder said if the race continues as an annual event, it will be a huge push for an area that is rich with eco-tourism opportunities.
“I think you will have the very best kind of sustainable tourism,” he said.
The race will have several local vendors renting kayaks for the competitors. Jerald Simmons, manager of Larry’s Kayak Rental, said he is happy to see a group promoting the area’s outdoor recreation.
“It's a great opportunity for the community to have people come in and find out what this area has to offer,” he said.
Couch said the organization has received an outpouring of support from various groups and individuals from the community. He said the race has already gained support by the Cleburne County Chamber of Commerce, the Cherokee County Commission and the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office, as well as Alabama Rep. Richard Lindsey, D-Centre, and Alabama Power Company.
“They have just been stellar people,” he said.
For more information about the race, visit AlabamaScenicRiverTrail.com.
Contact staff writer Daniel Gaddy at 256-235-3546.