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Cades Cove Loop Lope 10-mile run had amazing scenery (photos by Bobbie Perkins, Mark Kay Godbey)

TOWNSEND, Tenn. — The Cades Cove Loop Lope is the only footrace that takes place inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park — and also raises funds to help maintain the park.

You have a choice of a 10-mile run or 5K (3.1 miles) but I thought if I am going to do this, why not go all out for the 10 miler.

Maybe I did second guess that logic a time or two this morning — like when I had ice on my tobaggon after I finished. But the scenery is gorgeous and where else can you see a bear on the way to the starting line and another one during the race along with deer and turkeys.

We had about 25 in our group from Danville participating and I don’t think anyone was disappointed — and most of us likely will go back again. The races had a full field of 750 and it was so nice to have the national park closed so you could run/walk and just enjoy the views.

My time — about two hours. That was a 12-minute per mile pace. Obviously I could have gone faster but I wanted to enjoy the scenery (that’s my story and I am sticking to it).

But to give you a feel for the race enjoy these photos from Bobbi Perkins and Mary Kay Godbey from today.

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