Located in the heart of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Rock/Creek Outfitters has been named one of the “Top 25 Outdoor Retailers” year over year. They’ve also been a long time brand ambassador and retailer of Nau Clothing. This week in the Thought Kitchen, we caught up with the adventure retailer to find out more about their Rock/Creek Trail Series: an eight-race event benefiting Wild Trails, an organization dedicated to the use, expansion and promotions of trails in Tennessee.
Ten years ago, Matt Simms—a Rock/Creek employee at the time—decided it was time for the general public to discover the wilderness in Chattanooga. So he, and a few others, started a trail race called the Rock/Creek River Gorge, one of the eight races still in the series today.
Needless to say, the races were a hit. So in 2007 Matt, along with a few others who shared his vision, founded the Wilderness Trail Running Association Their mission? To promote the sport of trail running and the preservation of trails not just for runners but for everyone with a passion for the outdoors.
In the months following, the board went through a process of refining its mission and evaluating what would be required to build a sustainable organization committed to promoting outdoor recreation and preserving trails in the region. One of the founder of Wild Trails says, “Trail running will always be our first love, but we realized that the work we were doing on trails was benefiting not just the trail running community but all users of trails. We also realized that to gain the momentum we needed to affect positive change and create a culture of commitment to preservation we needed the support of more than just the trail running community. “
While some of the races are strictly for experienced marathoners, the appeal of the Trail Series is to have everyone enjoy running on trails. As Jeff Bartlett, organizer for the series, says, “Some will start out running 10k races and end up running 50k races, and some won’t, and we think that’s just fine!”
Jeff’s attitude is the epitome of Wild Trails mission, to get the people out and active on these trails while preserving them for generations to come.