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Chattanooga's Daniel Hamilton, in white, prepares for the start of the Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k trail race in October 2014. Hamilton, who won that race, finished first in last Saturday's Lookout Mountain 50 Miler, which completed the Wild Trails Race Series for 2015.

Wild Trails Race Series

April 16, Chickamauga Chase Trail Race; April 23, Scenic City Trail Marathon & Half Marathon; May 20, Thunder Rock 100 Miler; June 17-19, Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race; Aug. 13, Still Hollow Half Marathon & 10k; Sept. 3, Boonies Off Road Triathlon; Sept. 17, Salomon CityTrail 30k & 10k; Oct. 9, Urban/Nature 10k; Nov. 12, Upchuck 50k; Dec. 17, Lookout Mountain 50 Miler & 10k.

April 10, July 10, Oct. 16, Jan. 8 (2017) — Nature Calls 15k & 5k (in conjunction with 100 Mile Club).

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN 50 MILER

Top 30 finishers (and top five females) in Saturday's trail race from Covenant College:

1. Daniel Hamilton, Chattanooga, 6:39:52; 2. Cole Crosby, Endicott, N.Y., 6:45:12; 3. John Kelly, Rockville, Md., 6:59:27; 4. Clint George, Arden, N.C., 7:18:27; 5. Christophe Block, Roland, Ark., 7:33:18; 6. Jason Grimes, Johns Island, S.C., 7:36:43; 7. Nathan Holland, Ooltewah, 7:40:22; 8. Franklin Baker, Lookout Mountain, 7:41:00; 9. Anne Wheatley (1st female), Asheville, N.C., 7:46:13; 10. John Bruno, Greenville, S.C., 7:50:45; 11. Steven Waldon, New York, 7:58:59; 12. James Hedges, Smyrna, Ga., 8:02:05; 13. Kyle Jacobson, Nashville, 8:03:52; 14. Garrett Smith, Tucson, Ariz., 8:07:45; 15. Chris Dwyer, Cincinnati, 8:08:51; 16. Dewayne Satterfield, Huntsville, Ala., 8:17:40; 17. Timothy Pitt, Arab, Ala., 8:22:25; 18. Michael Richie, Atlanta, 8:24:27; 19. Matt Hawkins, Franklin, Tenn., 8:25:45; 20. Kenny Standley, Flat Rock, N.C., 8:27:08; 21. Josh Cline, Valrico, Fla., 8:27:11; 22. Erno Lindner, Signal Mountain, 8:36:09; 23. Greg King, Raleigh, N.C., 8:37:00; 24. Darren Howard, Chattanooga, 8:37:27; 25. Kyle Kugler, Greenville, S.C., 8:43:49; 26. John Gamble, Greer, S.C., 8:43:52; 27. Kenneth Ebener, W. Columbia, S.C., 8:50:21; 28. Chancell Condie, Piedmont, Ohio, 8:58:18; 29. Michael Scherzer, Ringgold, 8:58:32; 30. Reese Wells, Winston-Salem, N.C., 9:01:10. 31. Francesca Conte (2nd female), Charlottesville, Va., 9:02:11 47. Kimberly Haven (3rd female), Apopka, Fla., 9:38:38 52. Kathy Smith (4th female), Maryville, Tenn., 9:45:07 54. Amy MacIntire (5th female), Clarksville, Tenn., 9:47:59.

Top 25 in the 10k option:

1. Paul Patterson 38:33, 2. Keith Henry 40:55, 3. Christopher Raye 41:50, 4. Peyton Miller 42:46, 5. Brian Carrington 42:55, 6. James Williams 44:25, 7. Jobie Williams 44:44, 8. Joshua Rogers 45:05, 9. Michael Sommers 45:16, 10. Daniel Hamilton 45:26, 11. Hayes Daly 47:37, 12. Brandon Vice 48:03, 13. Justin Mace 48:38, 14. Garrison Wheeler 48:52, 15. Bradley Cobb 48:59, 16. Craig Smith 49:48, 17. Michael Drew 49:49, 18. Shanna Hutchinson 50:26, 19. Matthew Wallace 52:15, 20. Clay Tolson 52:24, 21. Shannon Wheeler Debouef 52:53, 22. Kenneth Walker 52:57, 23. Bekah Houston 52:59, 24. Andy Weaver 53:14, 25. Dan Henry 53:57.

As the Lookout Mountain 50 Miler and 10k ended a full 2015 season for the Wild Trails Race Series last Saturday, the popularity and possibilities of the series keep going up.

Runners from 31 states, the District of Columbia and Spain chose the long option of the race that began and ended at Covenant College and covered much different kinds of ground in between. Only 10 area competitors finished in the top 60, but one of those was the winner: Daniel Hamilton, a 27-year-old Chattanoogan who won the Rock/Creek StumpJump 50k in 2014.

"He's really grown as a runner in the last two years. He's a real deal, for sure," Wild Trails founder and director Randy Whorton said of Hamilton, who completed the ultra-challenging course last week in 6 hours, 39 minutes, 52 seconds.

The next five finishers were from New York, Maryland, North Carolina, Arkansas and South Carolina, and then came 2014 winner Nathan Holland of Ooltewah and Franklin Baker of Lookout Mountain, Tenn. Holland finished in 7:40:22 after winning in 7:14:47 last year.

Aside from the Spain resident, 50-milers came from as far away as New Hampshire, Minnesota, Texas, Arizona, Colorado, Utah and Washington state. A Californian and two people from Oregon were among those doing the 10-kilometer option won by former Bradley Central High School and Dalton State College runner Paul Patterson.

"We're loving the interest," Whorton said Tuesday. "We are on the radar of the rest of the country because of our awesome trail systems. We're Trail City, USA. We have at least 56 trailheads within 25 minutes of downtown, and that's being very conservative.

"Ashland, Oregon, is probably number two, and they have maybe 25 trailheads within 25 minutes of downtown. I think we do a good job of putting on events, but it's Chattanooga and our trails that sell our series."

Area trails are not only plentiful but very diverse, Whorton said, and the Wild Trails race series showcases that.

"I grew up in Boulder, Colorado, and it's awesome," he noted. "But they have maybe 15 trailheads, and they're all basically the same."

The 2016 season begins April 16 with the trail option in the Chickamauga Chase at the national battlefield, followed a week later by the Scenic City Trail Marathon and Half Marathon on Raccoon Mountain. The Thunder Rock 100 Miler in the Cherokee National Forest is in May, and the Chattanooga Mountains Stage Race totaling 60 miles on Raccoon, Lookout and Signal mountains in mid-June is adding a chance this year for more than the official three days.

"Other cities can't even come up with three, but we are telling people that if they want to do five more stages, we're going to set them up with the logistics to stay and do them," said Whorton, who with his wife, Kris, has completed seven-day stage races in the Swiss Alps and the Czech Republic.

"We did not expect what we experienced in Switzerland," he said. "We thought we would be absolutely trashed at the end of three days, but we ended up feeling better each day. It was a phenomenal experience for us."

An official addition to the Wild Trails series on Sept. 3 has Whorton particularly excited. It's the Boonies Off Road Triathlon in the Ocoee River area, with a 5-mile swim or 13-mile paddle leading into a 30-mile mountain bike ride and a 13-mile trail run. Or someone can choose the 1-mile swim or 5-mile paddle with a 10-mile ride and 5k run.

"The Boonies is going to be an awesome race, personally one of my favorite races of the year," Whorton said.

While not part of the competitive series, Wild Trails also is adding quarterly "Nature Calls" 15k and 5k runs (or hikes) at Lula Lake with its new 100 Mile Club fitness initiative. Those can include camping out on the bluff, and the first one is set for April 10.

Contact Ron Bush at rbush@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6291.

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