One of the best things our Smoky Mountain community has in unity is our pride of the military and our support of soldiers and veterans who sacrificed either some or all to keep us free in the United States of America. We demonstrate this pride frequently throughout the year with Memorial Day, Veteran’s Day, the 4th of July festivities, Celebrate Freedom in August and the Mountain Men Memorial March coming up here soon between April 21st and April 22nd.
The event allows citizens and military officers opportunities to participate in either a run or march. The run portion consists of a 26.2 mile marathon, a 13.1 mile half-marathon and a 10km run. The march portion consists of a full 26.2 mile distance or a 13.1 mile half-distance which you can complete individually or as part of a five-person team. Competitors are categorized as either civilians (non-military participants) or military (participants with military ID). They are further divided into Light and Heavy categories which differ on uniform and rucksack weight requirements. The event begins at Greystone Lodge in Gatlinburg, TN, and prizes are awarded to participants who achieve accomplishments during the events.
There is an opening ceremony at 8:30AM on Saturday morning. The events then begin at 9:00AM. The route participants run and march on consist of paved roads, gravel road, stretches of flat road, rolling hills and steep climbs. Support for participants include water points distributed throughout the course, snacks, medical aid and additional support staff. Following the M4, there will be a Gold Star Family Ceremony later in the evening at Greystone Lodge where prizes and recognition will commence.
For anyone who would be interested in signing up for the April Mountain Man Memorial March, please Click Here
Participant responsibilities and safety tips for prospective participants that are prescribed by event organizers on their website include:
- Consult your physician.
- Ensure an emergency contact person is part of your registration.
- Listen to the weather forecast. Know the risks and plan accordingly when running/marching during humid conditions regardless of the temperature. Heat-related illnesses are life threatening conditions. Adjust your pace and hydration plan accordingly.
- Develop and implement your individual plan for hydration. Be prepared to adjust your plan given the weather conditions and how you are feeling during the event.
- If you experience or feel you are about to experience a medical problem, ask for help immediately. It is foolish and dangerous to proceed despite warning symptoms.
- Help your fellow participants.
- Do not drink alcohol within 24 hours of the event.
- Make sure to get enough sleep!
- Do not take any decongestants or antihistamines with 72 hours of the event.
- Listen to your body and see a medic if you aren’t feeling well.
- Listen to your feet and take care of hot spots before they turn into blisters.
- Be respectful of wildlife along the route. You may see critters ranging from those native to the area, such as rabbits and snakes, to black bears.
- If you see a marcher who needs aid, help them. Report injured or ill marchers to race officials.
If you think you’ve got what it takes to participate in this tough-but-worth-it event, then we’d like to encourage you to sign up! This event started in 2007 to honor First Lieutenant Frank B. Walkup who was killed in action in Iraq that same year and since then it has been a marvelous way to honor his memory and showcase the strength of military men and women.
We can’t wait for April 22nd and we hope you get the chance to see it or participate as well.