The Mountain Goat Railroad once hauled coal up the mountain and connected communities in southern Tennessee. Nowadays, a grassroots effort is converting the old railroad bed into the Mountain Goat Trail, a beautiful multi-use trail that will eventually connect those same communities. Mountain Goat Trail parkrun launches on May 19th between Sewanee and Monteagle, TN. Event Director Kristin Sturgill explains how she hopes that this free, weekly event will help to bring the communities together.
Mountain Goat Trail is the venue for Tennessee’s first parkrun, starting May 19th
I am not a runner. I just want to throw that out there from the start. But that’s the great thing about parkrun, I don’t have to be. I am a curvy girl who is a jogger at best and a walk/jogger much of the time. I enjoy exercise, but I definitely perform better and with more regularity if I have a buddy to push me and hold me accountable. Which is why parkrun is perfect for me.
The philosophy surrounding parkrun is to just get outside, enjoy a park and your community. Yes, it’s about exercise, too, but in such a sneaky, fun, inclusive way that it takes the intimidation factor away. parkrun is a free, weekly 5k event that is completely volunteer and community driven. parkrun events are held in over 1000 locations in 20 countries each week, and Tennessee’s first parkrun launches on May 19th on the Mountain Goat Trail.
I love that parkrun is so inclusive. You’re welcome if you are an experienced runner or a complete beginner. You’re welcome if you want to walk and talk to a neighbor you just met and have a nice morning out. You’re welcome if you just want to volunteer and cheer everyone on. There is no demographic that can’t benefit from a Saturday morning in the park. And if that also gives us a chance to build that community and support system, so much the better.
The Mountain Goat Trail is a perfect venue for parkrun, which is held every week, year round
One of my favorite volunteer roles at parkrun is the tail walker, the person who ensures that no one finishes last.
After the event, I hope that participants will take advantage of the always great Mountain Goat Market just a few miles away, to gather with new friends and continue building those relationships. The post-parkrun meetup for coffee or brunch is a standard feature of parkruns around the world. Always optional, but definitely recommended.
Mountain Goat Market in Monteagle, TN, venue for the weekly post-parkrun coffee meetup
The venue for our parkrun is a paved trail that follows an old railroad bed. The railroad ran from 1856-1985, carrying coal and passengers from Pelham to Cowan. The railroad was called the Mountain Goat because of the steep grade up the mountain, one of the steepest in the world. The Mountain Goat Trail Alliance is now seeking to reclaim this right of way for the community as a multi use recreational area. It is the perfect vehicle for bringing the community together in a beautiful environment to support, energize and interact with each other. Where the railroad once brought people to the plateau, I am hoping that parkrun will do the same, creating more opportunities for community members to come together, and bringing visitors to the Mountain Goat Trail and our area.
The Mountain Goat Railroad used to haul coal up one of the steepest grades in the world
Now, you’re thinking this sounds pretty great, right? You want to know how you can participate, whether it’s hitting the trail or volunteering. All you need to do is to register online for a free personal barcode. Print it out and bring it with you to Pearl’s Fine Dining parking lot, which is where we will access the trail at 9am every Saturday morning. Come every week, come once a month, just come. You will always be welcome!
Sewanee, TN is home to the historic University of the South
We owe a huge thank you to Patrick Dean of the Mountain Goat Trail Alliance for his continued help and support, Robert Tyler of Pearl’s Fine Dining for allowing us access to their parking lot, and the Sewanee Community Fund for giving us the funds to kick start this new event for our community. So all aboard for the Mountain Goat Trail parkrun.
Mountain Goat Trail parkrun is a free, weekly, timed 5K run/walk in Sewanee, TN. It launches May 19th at 9am, and takes place at the same time every week after that.
Registration is FREE, at parkrun.us.
You can find Mountain Goat Trail parkrun online at:
Kristin Sturgill, Event Director
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