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Roan Mountain Park’s Diamond Dash not for the faint-hearted

Calling all adventurous runners – Roan Mountain State Park wants you for the Diamond Dash Trail Run.
Roan Mountain State Park will celebrate National Trails Day and Tennessee Trails Day on June 7 with its third annual Diamond Dash 5K+ run. The race will begin at 9 a.m. with registration at 8:30 a.m. Participants are asked to meet at the Park’s campground check-in station.
The Diamond Dash is not for everyone, cautioned Park Ranger Meg Guy.
“The Diamond Dash Trail Run is difficult and definitely not suggested for a first 5K or for runners unaccustomed to trails,” she said. It is mostly natural terrain trails, with short paved sections at the start and finish traveling through the campground. The trails are narrow, twisty, steep, rocky and rooty.
“Even though it is just over a 5K distance at 3.5 miles, it will be much more challenging than your typical road 5K. Of course, for those trail runners with an adventurous spirit – most runners are masochistic anyway – this course will be a real treat: scenic, tough and fun.”
Guy said not to fret if you don’t think you can handle the Diamond Dash but still want to participate in Trails Day events. “There will be a second hike scheduled for 2 p.m. that afternoon that will be a short, easy nature walk along the Tom Gray trail that is suitable for non-runners and children,” she said.
Participation in the event has bee pretty good for the past two years, Guy said, adding that between 20 and 25 runners participated in the previous two Diamond Dashes.
“Everyone has raved about the course in the past, how fun it is, how hard it is, how beautiful it is,” she said. “Most of the runners are local, however we do have out-of-towners and park visitors who participate.
“Last year’s winner was a young man from North Carolina. Two years ago, our winner was a 12-year-old boy from Chicago, Ill. He and his father planned their vacation for last year to coincide with the event so they could come back and run it again.”
The registration fee for the Diamond Dash is $15 per person and includes a moisture-wicking technical race shirt. Guy said that runners can pre-register at Park Headquarters or may register at 8:30 a.m. on the day of the race at the campground check in station. Prizes – gift certificates donated by local businesses and the Park Gift Shop – will be awarded as part of the event.
For more information on the Diamond Dash, the nature walk or to register, call Roan Mountain State Park Headquarters at 772-0190 or visit the Park Headquarters.