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Annual 5K to benefit CASA

(Contributed logo)

From Staff Reports

The Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce is teaming up with CASA of Northeast Tennessee to host the 7th Annual Achin’ for the Bacon 5K River Run on Saturday, May 5. Runners and walkers of all ages are invited to participate in the race.

“We have several changes in store for racers this year,” said Amanda Delp, executive director of the Chamber. “We have changed the format of the race to a morning event with a 9 a.m. start. After the race, participants can enjoy a bacon and pancake breakfast. We are also partnering with CASA to donate a portion of the proceeds to their organization.”

The start/finish line of the race will be in the parking lot of the Mountain Inn and Suites (former Holiday Inn Express) located at 2002 Temple Hill Road, Erwin. From Temple Hill Road, racers will continue to Jackson Love Highway and then to Industrial Park Drive. Runners will race down Industrial Park Drive to the Linear Trail access point near the Trail Gazebo and race back on the Linear Trail alongside the Nolichucky River.

“Although some changes have been made to the race, we haven’t changed the course,” Delp said. “It will still be the flat and fast course that racers have always enjoyed.”

CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) of Northeast Tennessee is a non-profit, volunteer service organization that recruits, screens, trains, and supports community volunteers to advocate for children who are in the juvenile court system as a result of abuse or neglect. These advocates investigate the child’s unique circumstances and make recommendations to the juvenile court judge as to what is in the best interest of the child, with their primary goal that the child is placed in a safe, permanent home as quickly as possible. Currently serving the Juvenile Courts of Unicoi, Washington and Greene counties and the Juvenile Court of Johnson City, CASA volunteers become the voice in court for abused and neglected children.

“CASA is excited to partner with the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce for this year’s 5K and share with members of the community the important work our organization does on a daily basis,” said Whitney McLaughlin, executive director of CASA of Northeast Tennessee. “We are honored to be chosen as the recipient for this year’s race. Advocating for the abused and neglected youth in our community is an important job, and we would not be here today if it were not for the support of individuals, businesses and community organizations who help us speak out against childhood abuse and neglect.”

Last year, CASA advocated for 320 abused and neglected youth across Northeast Tennessee. For more information on CASA contact Whitney McLaughlin at [email protected] or visit their website,

“We are excited about this year’s event and the changes that we have made,” Delp said. “We are also honored to be partnering with such a great organization to help meet the needs of children in our community. So whether you are a racer or not, we hope you will come out and enjoy the food and fun at the 7th Annual Achin’ for the Bacon 5K River Run.”

Electronic tag timing and professional race management from We Run Events will be provided again this year.

Following the race, male and female awards will be presented in each category: overall (top 3), Top Masters, and Top GrandMasters, as well as the top three in each of the following age groups: 14 and under, 15-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69, 70 and over.

Registration will begin at 7a.m. All participants will receive a race T-shirt and a complimentary bacon and pancake breakfast following the race. The cost to preregister for the Achin’ for the Bacon 5K River Run is $25. The cost on race day is $30. Preregistration is available through May 3. Participants are able to register on-line by visiting For more information call the Unicoi County Chamber of Commerce at 743-3000.