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Visitors may get an Up-close look at military life

Annual Mountain Ranger Run kicks off open house

POSTED: April 24, 2014 1:00 a.m.

Once a year, Camp Frank D. Merrill Ranger training facility opens its gates to welcome civilians for a day of racing and first-hand experience in tough Ranger military training.

The 17th annual Mountain Ranger Run offers the most challenging and scenic cross-country trail course the North Georgia Mountains can provide.

On Saturday, April 26, participants select one of two running options: a 15-kilometer or 5-kilometer race starting at Camp Frank D. Merrill and winding through the Chattahoochee National Forest in a hilly loop along non-paved forest service roads and trails. Mountain bikers may sign up for the 34K Mountain Ranger Bike Race, which is challenging enough for advanced riders yet forgiving enough for beginners.

The bike race begins at 7 a.m. followed by the 15K at 7:45 a.m. and the 5K at 8 a.m.

Registration costs are $45 for the bike and 15K run and $30 for the 5K. Participants can register online at RunSignup.com or in person at Totally Running & Walking in Dahlonega and Cumming. Early packet pick up will be from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, April 25, at Totally Running & Walking, 28 N. Grove St., in Dahlonega.

Awards will be presented to overall male and female runners as well as first-, second- and third-place finishers. Overall masters male and female winners and first place in age groups ages 10 and younger than 65 years old will be recognized.

Following the race, 5th Ranger Training Battalion will have an open house from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guests will be treated to a Rangers-in-action demonstration, as well as a hands-on display of U.S. military equipment and weapons. Many events will take place on the airfield with fly-bys by Black Hawk helicopters, a military free fall parachute jump and a “spies and fries” demo where Rangers will do an extraction by helicopter.

For more information, contact Kim Hall at kimhall2007@gmail.com.


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