2015 is just around the corner, so it’s time to make some plans for how to celebrate the New Year. Luckily, Chattanooga offers some great New Year's Eve and New Year's Day outdoor options.
For the big night itself, check out the Karen Lawrence New Year’s Eve 2 Mile and 4 Mile race. Put on by the Chattanooga Track Club and hosted by the Sports Barn, it’s been a city staple since 1979. A fun and healthy way to close out 2014, the event also raises money for patients and families of The Ronald McDonald House of Chattanooga.
The 4-Mile starts at 7 pm, with the 2-mile FunRun/Walk starting immediately after. You don’t have to commit now—registration is open until just before the event starts. Run with friends and family, and then head out for dinner or for a celebratory libation.
Looking for a race that's a little less traditional? Consider the 2015 Hangover Run-Virtual 5k/10k/Half Marathon. The format is fairly flexible: Simply complete one of the distances between January 1 and 11.
Since it’s a virtual run (or walk or crawl), you can participate wherever you are, whenever you like—plan a route on a local trail, run in your neighborhood, or just knock it out on a treadmill if you want. The Hangover Run doesn’t encourage partying to the point of a hangover, but it does encourage you to just get out and move.
After you complete and submit your run, you’ll receive a 4-inch 2015 Hangover medal after the week of January 12. Like the Karen Lawrence run, the Hangover run benefits a charity: Be The Match, an organization that connects patients with their donor match for a life-saving marrow or umbilical cord transplant.
If you eschew New Year’s Eve celebrations in favor of getting to bed at a decent hour, New Year's Day is a fantastic time to get an early start in the woods. Plan a hike or run to a scenic spot for breakfast or an epic adventure to a nearby place. Visit one of the beautiful overlooks close to Chattanooga, such as Signal Point on Signal Mountain, Snoopers Rock at Prentice Cooper, or Sunset Rock and/or Point Park on Lookout Mountain. Drive to your destination and make a short hike, or park farther away and hike in.
If you want to drive a little farther for a longer adventure, head to Sewanee, Savage Gulf, or the Hiwassee River and John Muir Trail. Wherever you go, make sure you spend some time reflecting on how lucky you are to be living in such a beautiful part of the country, where you can celebrate the active life every day of the new year.