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Chattanooga River Run Delivers ‘Chill’ Experience

Proving that less is often more, this weekend’s Chattanooga River Run attracted 40 boats for a good-time low-key happening while raising $3,000 for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Chattanooga. The Hamilton County, Tenn.-based happening—the first organized go-fast boating event of August—attracted 42 boats and approximately100 participants.

The first organized high-performance powerboat event of the month, the Chattanooga River Run was decidedly casual—and scenic. Photos by Kevin Johns copyright Instant Memories Photography/speedonthewater.com.

Organizers Justin Lucas, Gerald Brown, Chad Collier and Mark Godsey originally capped this weekend’s Tennessee Powerboat Club-backed event at 75 boats. But the 40-plus boat turnout proved ideal.

“Getting the 75 boats we were shooting for in there might have been a little tough,” said Lucas, who also organized the Thunder Run on Lake Cumberland in Kentucky with Dan Weiss earlier this year. “With fewer boats, I think it was a nicer, lower-key event. It was chill.”

Lucas paused. “I didn’t hear too many complaints, anyway” he said, then chuckled.

Event-planned activities began with a fun run to a sandbar on the Chattanooga River on Friday, followed by a party back at the Erwin Marina that evening. The official 30-plus-mile run to Rankin Cove for lunch kicked off Saturday. Borrowing a fun tradition from the former Old Hickory Fun Run outside Nashville, the organizers had pizzas delivered to each boat in the cove.

The fleet returned to Chattanooga for an outdoor dinner at Scottie’s On The River that evening.

Though the organizers faced the challenges—including attracting sponsors—that have come with the COVID-19 pandemic, they plan to produce the event again next year.

Check out the slideshow above for more images from the 2020 Chattanooga River Run.

“Chattanooga hosted us pretty well and everything went smooth,” Lucas said. “It was the first time all of us had worked together as organizers and everyone took care of their own part of the event. It worked really well.

“We don’t have a final total yet, but we do know—thanks to donations from a few participants—that we’ll be able to write a check for at least $3,000 to the charity,” he added.

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