Quick Hits: February’s News from the Blue Ridge and Beyond

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No Running on New Tennessee Trails

Brentwood, Tennessee

Runners in Brentwood are miffed that they are prohibited from lacing up and hitting the trails at a newly developed park. When Marcella Vivrette Smith Park opened last fall, the city decided its new trail network would be reserved for hiking, citing safety concerns and potential user conflicts. Quoted in a story on Runner’s World’s website, Brentwood city manager Kirk Bednar said, “While experienced trail runners might laugh at the issue of safety, the fact is not everyone who would run on the trails, if it were allowed, would be experienced trail runners, and inexperienced trail runners could injure themselves.”

Some local runners, who were excited about the prospect of no longer having to drive 12 miles to the closest off-road running option, think this is ridiculous. And one, Richard Kenmuir, even started a Facebook group in support of running on the trails. “They are nice trails for running,” Kenmuir told RW. “They are twice as wide regular trails, so it would be easy to coexist with hikers or any other trail users, without creating a burden for anyone.”

Laird Hamilton’s Obstacle Race Series

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Surfing legend Laird Hamilton recently announced that he is launching a new obstacle race series in the spring. Called Force of Nature, the series will feature events that challenge racers through obstacles that are made to resemble extreme elements of nature. A release stated obstacles like Arctic Crawl, Water Wall, The Furnace, and Polar Plunge would “embody nature’s most intimidating elements” and “test the mind and body with staggering heights, extreme temperatures and skilled agility.”

The series starts on April 26 in Southern California, but the second race moves to the Mid-Atlantic, taking place in Philadelphia on June 6. Other cities visited during the inaugural year will include Detroit and Chicago. Forceofnature.com.

Bike-Share in Richmond

Richmond, Virginia

It looks like Richmond will be the next big city to roll out a bike-share program. The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that the Commonwealth’s capital is looking to initially disperse a fleet of 300 bikes at 30 docking stations throughout the city with a goal of having the program debut in time for the widely anticipated UCI Road World Championships, which Richmond will host in September.

A Walk in the Woods Film Debuts at Sundance

Appalachian Trail

Hollywood’s take on the A.T. has finally been unveiled. Back in April of 2008, BRO reported that Robert Redford would be playing Bill Bryson in a film adaptation of the author’s famous, best-selling memoir A Walk in the Woods. Nearly seven years later the film finally surfaced when it debuted at the recent Sundance Film festival in Utah. In the film Redford portrays Bryson in his attempt to hike the entirety of the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, much of it with his fellow middle-aged out-of-shape friend, Katz, who is played by Nick Nolte. Additional notable cast members include Emma Thompson and Mary Steenburgen. While rumors initially attached either Redford or Seinfeld writer Larry Charles to direct, the job was ultimately done by comedy director Ken Kwapis.

Beyond the Blue Ridge



The popularity of running is on the rise in China, and as a result, Want China Times is reporting that the country has seen an increasing demand from casual runners looking for jogging buddies. Right now, being a jogging companion fetches a meager wage, approximately 15-20 yuan or $2.40-$3.25 an hour, problematic due to the physical limitations of attempting to run for a living. But running coaches in China are predicting if the demand increases, the wages for helping a runner keep pace could increase.

Cool Keg Tree

Rochester, NEW YORK

Beer doesn’t grow on trees. So people in western New York may have been confused when they drove by the Genessee Brew House in downtown Rochester at the end of last year. During the holiday season, the old school brewery built a 23-foot Christmas tree out of 300 kegs. It took 20 employees to erect the creative keg tree, and after being risen it was also decorated with 600 feet of lights. In case you were wondering, the Associated Press reported that all of the kegs were indeed empty.

Deer Break-In

Galloway, New jersey

Back in December, a New Jersey woman was sticking some sweet potatoes in the oven when she suddenly heard a crash through her front door. According to the Associated Press, the woman saw a deer dart through her house, so she followed the animal towards her bedroom and locked it in the master bathroom. After the woman called 911, police responded and removed deer from the bathroom, eventually releasing it into the wild. While no one was hurt, the woman had plenty of house damage to deal with, including a trashed bathroom and a shattered glass storm door. •

—Jedd Ferris

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