August 8

2023 Great Smoky Mountains Race Guide

Get the Race Guide

Welcome to Tennessee and get ready for lots of green! At this time of year, The Great Smoky Mountains are warm and humid after a long summer of sunshine and afternoon thunderstorms. You can fall in love with Appalachian charm under the shady trees that blanket the undulating mountains of the Great Smokies. And make sure you budget time to witness the hazy mist that makes the region famous. Sunrise is often a great time to see this.

As you plan your race weekend activities, we want to send you off with the Great Smoky Mountains Half Marathon Race Guide. It covers everything you need to know for race weekend: from bib pick-up, to race-day parking, to hikes you can complete afterward. You can read the Race Guide and also listen to an audio version of it on our podcast. Together, the print and audio version provide a comprehensive overview of what you need to know for race weekend.

When you read the Race Guide, please pay special attention to the following pages:

  • Page 2: full event schedule
  • Pages 2-3: Bib Pick-up
  • Pages 4-5: Half Marathon race details
  • Page 6: Parking information

Toward the end of the guide, we share how you can participate in the Explorer Club to get suggestions on what to see and do while you're in the area. When you complete the Explorer Club challenge you earn a special badge (in addition to your race medal) for completing it! Learn more here.

The Place of the Blue Smoke...

When European settlers first came to the area in the 1700s they found themselves in the land of the Cherokee Indians. The tribe, one of the most culturally advanced on the continent, had permanent towns, cultivated croplands, sophisticated political systems, and extensive networks of trails.

Most of the Cherokee were forcibly removed in the 1830s to Oklahoma in a tragic episode known as the “Trail of Tears”. Later, 1,200 land-owners were also forcibly removed to establish the park. 

The Cherokee called the place Shaconage, which translates to “place of the blue smoke.” This refers to the hazy blue mist that hovers over the area’s peaks and valleys.

Charity Bibs

On race day, you may notice some people with different markings on their bib. If you look at the special indication area of the bib, you may see our Wander Project logo (a small teal circle in the top right corner), they are running as part of our Charity Bib Program.

Charity Bib athletes fundraise for their race registration. They have the option of fundraising for one of our official partners, or they can fundraise for a cause of their choice. It's a great way to add a little extra "oomph" to your running journey and it helps a wide variety of deserving causes.

To learn more about how to run with a Charity Bib or to support some of our existing athletes, visit this page!

About You!

  • For 35% of you, this is your first half marathon. And for 10% of you, this is your first 5k. Good luck and have fun!
  • 40% of you said that this will be your first visit to the Great Smoky Mountains.
  • We have runners from 49 states and 4 countries.


Great Smoky Mountains, Half Marathons, Podcast, Race Guide, Tennessee

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