What is now the Elise Chapin Wildlife Sanctuary was once the Walker family farm, where highly respected naturalist and Chattanooga Audubon Society founder Robert Sparks Walker was born in 1878. Walker formed the Chattanooga Audubon Society in 1944, with a vision of educating citizens on the importance of protecting the environment and respecting nature the way the area's Native Americans had for thousands of years.
Today, the society is the steward of three sanctuaries: Elise Chapin Sanctuary at Audubon Acres, Maclellan Sanctuary on Audubon Island, and David Gray Sanctuary on Audubon Mountain. Each offers a unique look into the history, wildlife, and natural splendor of the area as well as educational programs that help children and adults discover the area.
It's not every 5K run in which participants look like they've been tie-dyed by the end of it. But most runs are not this much fun either. As runners put one foot in front of the other during Color My Run, volunteers cover them with colorful dust, adding extra joy and a bit of silliness to an event where your finishing time isn't everything. That sense of joy also extends to the charitable recipient of each event as well, which is often a children's hospital.
After competing together on the 1996 US Olympic gymnastics team, John Macready and John Roethlisberger channeled their enthusiasm into another athletic venture—except in this one, the balance beams were replaced with mud fields. Mudsanity—a 5-mile mud run—resulted. The race’s permanent home by the banks of Lake Frances ensures boggy terrain and allows the founders to build creative obstacles right into the scenery. These obstacles range from mountains of hay bales to steep hills and outright vertical climbs. After the race, athletes relax at an Oktoberfest party that lasts all weekend, complete with live music, piping-hot bratwursts, and beer grown in the onsite beer garden.
Most 5Ks and mud runs cater to adults. Adrenaline Run is not most 5Ks and mud runs. The just-for-teens event pits participants against natural and human-made obstacles, challenging them with rocky terrain, waterways, and homework. Some heats are timed, but youths uninterested in stats or clocks in general can join in untimed runs. After the challenging scramble concludes, racers head to the after-party for food, live music, and costume contests awarding the Most Creative and Most School Spirited ensembles. Both participants and spectators can take a gentler jaunt through a bounce-house course, or sit back and listen to performances while sharing mud-splattered stories.
The Barbarian Challenge pits racers against the elements, in the classical sense. In the airy outdoors, runners plunge into icy creek beds, crawl through mud pits, and conquer various man made obstacles in their quest to secure the fastest running time, or the simple bragging rights that come with finishing at all. The course covers 4.5 miles and many man-made obstacles, and the top finisher in men's and women's categories earns a replica of Conan the Barbarian's sword.