published Wednesday, December 18th, 2013

National organization names Chattanooga 'outstanding' for runners

  • photo
    Runners finish the second trip across the Walnut Street Bridge during a charity event on their way to the finish line on Broad Street.
    Photo by Tim Barber.
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Chattanooga's outdoor fitness community won yet another gold medal this week.

The Road Runners Club of America, the oldest and largest distance running organization in the United States, announced its list of 2013 "Runner Friendly Community" designations Sunday.

Chattanooga is one of four cities recognized this year, and will share the national honors with Sarasota, Fla.; Kalamazoo, Mich., and South Lake, Florida.

Chattanooga was chosen by the Arlington, Va., program's because of the Scenic City's community infrastructure, community support and local government support for running.

"Running and fitness have long been an integral part of the renaissance of Chattanooga," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., in a news release. "While [I was] serving as mayor, Chattanooga initiated a citizen-based planning process for outdoor recreation. This planning led to the creation of Outdoor Chattanooga, an initiative that encourages runners and other outdoor enthusiasts to take advantage of all our city has to offer in terms of scenery and amenities."

However, Chattanooga shines above the others: the committee is also recognizing Chattanooga as the "Outstanding" Runner Friendly Community, and will honor the city with a commemorative award at its upcoming 56th Annual RRCA National Convention, held May 1-4, 2014 in Spokane, Wash.

"Chattanooga residents take pride in their community and show their support of running through participation in for-profit and charity events, as well as the creation and maintenance of the community's magnificent trail systems and parks," the club announced. "Chattanooga has all of the ingredients for an outstanding runner- friendly community, and one of its best assets is its citizens."

A review of the city's runner-friendly amenities also bolstered Chattanooga's sparkling report card, citing plentiful clean water fountains, well-maintained trails and running clubs as key community assets.

Contact staff writer Jeff LaFave at jlafave@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6592.

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