On Friday, August 21, 1863 John T. Wilder of the Union’s Army of the Cumberland commanded Eli Lilly to move his 6 cannons and 150 men to Stringer’s Ridge and to begin shelling Chattanooga and General Braxton Bragg’s Confederate Army. The artillery shells ripped through the town below while many were inside places of worship observing a special day of fasting and prayer by request from Jefferson Davis. Two ships were sunk, a pontoon bridge destroyed, some women and children killed and wounded during what one Confederate soldier called “act of atrocity of our savage foe.”
Local time: 5:09 AM
On Saturday, October 15, 2016, go back to where the Second battle of Chattanooga began. Run along the ridge that housed the cannons of the assault that eventually moved the Confederates out of Chattanooga to Chickamauga in the South. Battle together each hour for four miles along the trails that overlook the Scenic City. Join us for Cannonball Run, a last trail runner standing competition.
Location: The Start/Finish for each 4 mile loop is the Spears Ave Trailhead (1311 Spears Ave Chattanooga, TN 37405) just 2 miles from Downtown Chattanooga
Concept: The Cannonball Run is a last man/woman standing competition. The race will begin at 8am. Each runner has 1hr to complete the 4 mile loop. If a runner fails to return within the hour, they are eliminated. Sounds pretty easy huh? Well at 9am the race will continue for the 4 mile loop again. If a runner fails to answer the bell and start at 9am that runner is eliminated. The race will continue every hour on the hour until 1 person is left to answer the call. So if you are a very fast runner you may finish the 4 miles in 30 minutes…but then you have to wait 30 mins before you can start again. If you are a slower runner and finish the 4 miles in 50 minutes you have 10 mins to rest/refuel before the race starts again.
The Trail: The loop leaves the parking lot and enters directly onto smooth single track for a .25 mile climb on the Spears Access trail. Turn left at the top of the hill onto the Strut trail loop. This short loop (.50 mi) named after the “Empress of Blues” Bessie Smith Strut turns at a trail kiosk next to the Cherokee trail and then drops you off to make sharp left turn onto the Double J Trail. Scream down Double J for .3 miles before a small climb followed by more fast trail. At about 1.6 miles into the race you will turn left up a few wooden steps onto Cherokee. To your left you will see the kiosk where you just were on the Strut trail. Continue on the broken asphalt/gravel Cherokee trail as it turns right up towards the Overlook with will be on your left at close to the 2 mile mark. The overlook platform gives a panoramic view of the Chattanooga and offers a gorgeous scene anytime of the year. After the overlook continue downhill to veer right onto single track called GigCity. To your left you will see a sign for Negley’s Knoll, the highest point on the ridge named after the Union Gen. that ordered the first shots to be fired on Chattanooga, but you will want to stay straight on Gig city down the switch backs across Cherokee Trail onto the Hill City Trail. You will descend and climb a few times on Hill City before seeing the finish off to your right down the hill. At the end of Hill City turn right back onto the Spears Access trail to the finish line in the parking lot below. Fuel up at the start/finish aid station and get ready to do it all over again.
Parking: Parking is limited at the trail head so please carpool if possible. We have secured parking for you at the Head Start school located at 1510 Hamilton Ave about a .30 mile walk from the start. You may park in the lot or around the loop in the grass. 2/10ths of a mile down Spears Ave at the intersection with Lawn street there is church that may have some parking available also.